Tag Archives: United states

Industrialised countries

Industrialised countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Industrialised countries

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Industrialised countries

Industrialised countries

RELATIONS WITH INDUSTRIALISED COUNTRIES

United States

  • Agreement with the United States on extradition
  • Agreement between the European Union and the United States on the transfer of financial messaging data
  • Programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training with the United States
  • Container security: EU/US agreements
  • Agreement on the processing and transfer of passenger name record data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (2007 PNR Agreement)
  • ‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States
  • Agreement with the United States on mutual legal assistance

Canada

  • Framework of cooperation in higher education, training and youth with Canada
  • Agreement with Canada

Instruments

  • Financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries and territories (2007-2013)

Sectoral cooperation

  • Towards a strategy for the Arctic
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

RELATIONS WITH EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA COUNTRIES (EEA)

  • Agreement on the European Economic Area
  • Agreement on the surrender procedure between the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway

'Open Skies' agreement between Europe and the United States

‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > International dimension and enlargement

‘Open Skies’ agreement between Europe and the United States

Document or Iniciative

Decision 2007/339/EC of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union meeting within the Council, of 25 April 2007, on the signature and provisional application of the Air Transport Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the United States of America, on the other hand.

Summary

With the new agreement, airlines in the Union can:

  • operate flights to the United States from any European airport, regardless of their nationality (the United States recognise them as European);
  • operate without restrictions on the number of flights, aircraft or routes;
  • set prices in line with the market;
  • conclude cooperation agreements.

Companies in certain Non-EU Member Countries (countries in Europe that don’t belong to the EU, plus 18 African countries) may also receive Community investment without this affecting their traffic rights to the United States. Similarly, the United States will not call into question the flights of Community airlines if non-EU European countries have invested in their capital.

The agreement also strengthens cooperation between the two parties on safety, security, competition policy, State Aid, consumer protection and the environment.

On the subject of airline ownership, Europeans will be able to hold more than a 50 % share in American carriers, but not to gain overall control: under American law, a foreigner may not hold 25 % voting shares in an American company and may not control it. The EU side therefore reserved a right to restrict American investment in European companies to the same level.

Towards new negotiations

The negotiations also led to the establishing of a mechanism for opening up transatlantic air travel even further by doing away with the restrictions still in place, particularly as regards ownership of American airlines. The agreement thus calls for negotiations to be resumed in the two months following its entry into force. Moreover, the EU reserves the right to suspend certain parties from the agreement if the dialogue prevents further progress in the next three years. The aim of the Council of Ministers is therefore to achieve the complete liberalisation of air transport.

Background

Air transport to the United States was until now governed by bilateral agreements between Member States and the American authorities. Sixteen Member States already had ‘open skies’ agreements in place. Yet this fragmented approach proved to be an obstacle as it prevented completion of a genuine single market.

On 5 November 2002, the Court of Justice made a number of judgments in cases referred to it by the Commission (C-466-469/98, C-467/98, C468/98, C-469/98, C-472/98, C-475/98 and C-476/98) which put an end to these agreements and contributed to this being recognised as a matter to be handled at Community level.

As a result, the Commission received a mandate to negotiate an air agreement with the United States that applied for the Community as a whole. After four years of discussions, the negotiators came to an agreement on 2 March 2007. At the request of the United Kingdom, entry into force was put back to 30 March 2008.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/339/EC 30.3.2008 L 134 of 25.5.2007

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Industrialised countries

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 May 2005: A stronger EU-US partnership and a more open market for the 21st century [COM(2005) 196 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The European Commission wants to give new quality to the economic partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United States. In this initial stage of reviewing a global partnership, which is designed to include a barrier-free market, the proposals in question focus mainly on trade and investment, the highest volume of which worldwide is generated as a result of the relationship between the EU and the United States. In 2003, trade in goods and services came to almost EUR 600 billion and related principally to foreign direct investment (FDI).

The Commission’s proposals form the basis for boosting growth and employment while respecting sustainable development and removing the barriers to trade and investment. They also seek to provide a new framework which can be used to meet common challenges such as international competition.

Improving the functioning of the transatlantic partnership

The Commission is proposing a number of initiatives in order to improve the functioning of the transatlantic partnership in three areas: regulation, knowledge and innovation, and border control.

The initiatives relating to regulation are based principally on policy cooperation, which is to be extended to a greater number of sectors in order to promote the transatlantic market. Policy cooperation within a well-defined regulatory framework is designed to guarantee fair competition in a situation in which the volume of trade is high, and forms part of the efforts to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

However, a certain degree of flexibility is needed in view of the difficulty of using the same model for all the sectors concerned. Cooperation can also vary in intensity, ranging from the exchange of information to the adoption of binding standards and including the establishment of ties on a formal or informal basis.

Other regulatory initiatives to strengthen cooperation between the two parties should also be envisaged in order to eliminate barriers to trade and thus promote competitiveness. They include the following:

  • facilitation of investment, in particular by eliminating ownership restrictions in the United States;
  • competition policy for those concerned based on the coordination of enforcement activities and the exchange of non-confidential information in an appropriate framework;
  • the opening-up of procurement markets between the United States and the EU despite the barriers which EU companies still face when trying to access the American market; this calls for the deepening of relations between the two partners at bilateral level and the definition of a clear framework at multilateral level, such as within the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on aviation services between the EU and the United States, which are currently confined within a regulatory framework reflecting the political and technological landscape of the 1940s; an agreement of this kind would provide a sound economic and legal basis for transatlantic air services;
  • maritime transport, which carries 90% of all international trade: cooperation in this field should be strengthened and could include issues such as the law of the sea, data exchange, maritime security and environmental protection;
  • financial markets: access to capital is fundamental to investment and innovation, which is why functional equivalence should be encouraged in various financial areas, such as accounting standards and insurance, and should be promoted and strengthened in order to achieve true integration of the European and US financial markets;
  • the free movement of persons is essential: it has not been fully achieved for nationals of certain Member States or for companies and their affiliates; the possibility of granting affiliates the special status of “trusted persons” should be examined in order to facilitate international movement of travellers while bearing in mind security procedures;
  • the mutual recognition of professional qualifications should be encouraged, particularly in economic sectors.

Initiatives relating to knowledge and innovation will contribute fully to the growth and integration of the European and US economies. They relate to the following:

  • new technologies. as regards information and communication technologies (ICT) between the EU and the United States, coordination of the regulators, going beyond EU-US dialogue on the information society, should be strengthened in order to prevent the emergence of new obstacles in a rapidly evolving area; with regard to space, a structured dialogue should take place covering key areas such as Galileo and GPS, and the elimination of barriers to the creation of a properly functioning transatlantic market for the space industry;
  • the protection of intellectual property rights as a fundamental economic objective shared by both the EU and the US: the strengthening of cooperation in this area involves efforts at domestic and international level to combat counterfeiting and piracy; it also involves observance of the standards established by the WTO;
  • research and development: as these are key elements of the renewed Lisbon programme and generate growth, they will be the subject of greater cooperation between the two partners under the 7th framework programme for research and development (7th FPRD) in areas such as industrial materials, fuel cells and biotechnology;
  • energy: the EU and the US should work together more closely by means of policy dialogues in order to face new challenges and find alternatives to traditional energy sources, such as by developing clean technologies and renewable energies;
  • higher education and vocational training: as the current agreement on higher education and vocational training expires at the end of 2005, it should be renewed and reinforced in order to promote exchanges of university teachers, researchers and students and develop measures on issues concerning the quality and compatibility of education and training systems.

New security measures for border controls were imposed in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. The Commission feels that the right balance must be struck between heightened security requirements and the continuation of open and secure trade and passenger transport.

While reconciling trade and security requirements, the transatlantic market will be based mainly on the principles of reciprocity and mutual recognition. These principles will apply to the following areas:

  • implementing the agreement on enhanced customs cooperation in the area of transport security, for example with regard to the concept of single points of access and e-customs;
  • exchanging best practice in order to achieve equivalence between the European concept of “authorised economic operator” (AEO) and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT);
  • avoiding duplications of controls which arise from the application of parallel sets of – sometimes contradictory – existing standards;
  • reducing the risk of trade barriers associated with the implementation of the new US law to combat bioterrorism;
  • developing global security standards, notably by promoting the security standards agreed between the EU and the US through the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • combating corporate fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and the financing of terrorism.

Political involvement essential

The New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA), which was established in 1995, should be renewed. Its most important goals have been achieved regarding the intensity of exchanges between the EU and the United States on a vast range of subjects. Regular dialogue has been established between interlocutors who previously had very little contact. There has also been increased cooperation on foreign policy issues.

However, economic cooperation has had a limited impact, particularly with regard to the legislative and regulatory involvement of the stakeholders. In the same way, the EU-US dialogue has suffered from a relative lack of political commitment, with the EU sometimes being poorly understood.

This is why none of the economic initiatives presented in this communication can be successful without real political intent translated into practical action. This could include the following, for example:

  • a high-level regulatory cooperation forum, which would meet before EU-US Summits and submit an annual roadmap with appropriate objectives and priorities;
  • a dialogue between European and US legislators on the priorities for regulatory cooperation;
  • cooperation to address joint concerns regarding international policy or even to advance bilateral proposals in international fora;
  • the conclusion of binding sectoral agreements.

For them to have a full impact on dialogue, transatlantic relations should be more strategic and effective in order to realise a shared vision of a more democratic, peaceful and prosperous international order. A new transatlantic declaration could be drawn up underlining the values and developing the priorities of joint action based on the recognition of the economic interdependence of the United States and the EU.

Context

This communication is in line with the “EU-US Declaration on Strengthening our Economic Partnership” (PDF ), which was adopted at the EU-US Summit at Dromoland Castle (Ireland) in 2004, during which the parties concerned put forward ideas on how to strengthen transatlantic economic integration. Reviewing and strengthening the partnership in this way can lend new impetus to relations between the EU and the United States.

The Commission is proposing that an economic declaration be adopted and that political oversight be put in place to ensure that these commitments are effective, particularly through the adoption of binding agreements.

Moreover, prior to the drawing up of a joint economic declaration, a public consultation was launched by the Commission in 2004 in order to identify the areas with which the present communication deals.

Related Acts

EU-US Declaration, of 20 June 2005, at the Washington Summit: “Initiative to Enhance Transatlantic Economic Integration and Growth” (PDF )

The EU and the United States declared that they wished to remove the impediments to trade and investment and enhance growth and innovation with a view to making further progress towards integration of the transatlantic market and providing more opportunities for businesses.
In the Declaration, the two partners listed ten points covering areas in which action should be taken and which are dealt with in greater detail in the Initiative annexed to the Declaration:

  • promoting regulatory cooperation and standards by identifying cooperation and coordination mechanisms in order to improve regulatory quality and reduce divergences; exchanges of experience and the sharing of knowledge are encouraged through a high-level dialogue in accordance with the roadmap for EU-US regulatory cooperation (PDF )and through a high-level forum bringing together regulators representing both partners;
  • stimulation of open and competitive capital markets in order to ensure that transatlantic financial markets operate seamlessly; the main areas for action include efforts to combat financial fraud and money laundering, the reform of financial markets and the improvement of dialogue on macroeconomic and structural issues of common interest;
  • spurring innovation and technological development, which are a source of growth and prosperity, by promoting cooperation, for example, in basic research, space research, nanotechnologies, transport, cyber-security and IT; the initiatives would affect sectors relating to higher education and vocational training, commerce, information and even medicine;
  • enhancing trade, development and security by strengthening customs cooperation in order to ensure the security of persons and goods in transit; in this regard, the WCO already offers a framework of standards on the security of world trade; cooperation between the two partners should also be strengthened by adopting security standards, particularly as regards air cargo traffic, improved cooperation in research and development of security-related technologies, better compatibility of the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator concept and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), measures to facilitate business and tourist travel (“trusted persons” initiative) and a policy of reciprocal visa exempt travel for short-term stays;
  • promoting energy efficiency, energy security, renewable energies and economic development and encouraging new clean energy technologies for sustainable and coordinated policies; the two partners also stated that they would support developing countries in this area;
  • protecting intellectual property rights by actively combating piracy and counterfeiting, applying international standards and ensuring the efficient application of standards on patents;
  • facilitating investment by providing efficient, comprehensive and easily accessible information on investment regimes and policies and by removing existing obstacles;
  • improving coordination on competition policy and the enforcement of competition rules, in particular by exploring ways of exchanging confidential information, which does not currently take place;
  • strengthening coordination and cooperation on procurement;
  • encouraging cooperation in the field of services, in particular with regard to aviation services and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

Responsibility for implementing these initiatives and establishing the work programmes lies with the senior levels of EU and US government, with progress to be reviewed at the EU-US Summits. At the same time, cooperation between legislators and stakeholder consultation will also be encouraged in order to help strengthen the partnership.

Energy efficiency of office equipment: The Energy Star Programme

Energy efficiency of office equipment: The Energy Star Programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Energy efficiency of office equipment: The Energy Star Programme

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency of office equipment: The Energy Star Programme (EU – US)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/1005/EC of 18 December 2006 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the European Community on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12.2006].

Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the European Community on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12.2006].

Summary

The European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US) signed a new Energy Star * agreement on 28 December 2006, the aim of which is for manufacturers to voluntarily apply agreed specifications to measure the energy performance of office equipment.
The agreement was signed for a period of five years.

The “Energy Star”® label can be used for office equipment meeting these specifications, so that consumers can easily identify low-energy appliances. They are: computers, computer monitors, photocopiers, printers, digital duplicators, faxes, franking machines, multifunction devices and scanners.

The previous Energy Star agreement remains applicable only to computers until 31 December 2007 at the latest.
The new technical specifications for computers contain provisions on the active mode, unlike the previous agreement, which only took account of the standby mode.

Voluntary participation of manufacturers

Manufacturers, retailers and dealers of office equipment may join the Energy Star programme and use the “Energy Star® * ” label. Equipment labelled as such must meet the agreed specifications (Annex C) and may be tested by the manufacturer or by independent test laboratories.

Programme management and monitoring

The US and the EU each have a managing body for the programme: the US has the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the EU has the European Community Energy Star Board (ECESB), set up in 2003 (see below under “Related Acts”).

The agreement sets out guidelines for the correct use of the Energy Star name and label.

The Commission – via the managing body – is responsible within the EU for testing office equipment carrying this label or checking that it meets the requirements.

If the product fails to meet the requirements, the ECESB:

  • notifies the manufacturer in writing that it fails to comply with the requirements;
  • drafts a plan to ensure compliance with the conditions in the programme;
  • if the conditions are not then met, cancels the manufacturer’s participation in the programme.

Amending and ending the agreement

Either the EU or the US may amend the programme of the managing bodies by common agreement. This includes amending technical specifications or including a new type of product if it becomes more energy efficient.

The agreement may also be ended by giving three months’ notice in writing to the other party. If the agreement is ended, the EU may no longer use the label “Energy Star®”.

Community decision-making

The Community decision-making process is used to establish the internal procedures needed to ensure the agreement operates smoothly.

This decision authorises the Commission to regularly adapt and reassess the technical specifications. The Commission is supported by a Community advisory committee made up of national representatives and all stakeholders.

Background

The first Energy Star agreement was signed with the US in 2001 for a 5-year period. This agreement renews the former agreement, with some changes made:

  • the technical specifications applicable to computer monitors, computers and imaging equipment were revised;
  • three obligations for the EU were removed: promotion of the Energy Star logo by the Commission and Member States, production by the ECESB of a report on market penetration of products meeting the criteria and information on the activities of the ECESB for the Commission to draw up and send to the European Parliament and the Council.
Key terms used in the act
  • Energy Star®: the registered service mark owned by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Energy Star labelling programme: a programme managed by a managing body using the specifications, marks and common guidelines on energy efficiency applicable to all designated product types.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2006/1005/EC 18.12.2006
18.12.2011
OJ L 381 of 28.12.2006

Related Acts

Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the Energy Star programme in the Community for the period 2001-2005 [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12. 2007].

The communication states that the technical specifications contained in the previous agreement targeted the low power mode of office equipment on standby, when energy consumption of appliances in active mode is rising. Appliances are now more powerful and are kept in active mode for longer, due to the increasing use of Internet applications. The new agreement takes on board the importance of the active mode.

Commission Decision 2003/168/EC of 11 March 2003 establishing the European Community Energy Star Board [Official Journal L 67 of 12.03.2003].
This decision establishes the European Community Energy Star Board (ECESB) and includes a list of the national representatives in the Annex.
This board manages the Energy Star programme by regularly consulting Member States and manufacturers, national energy agencies and consumer organisations. The ECESB has also been involved in revising technical specifications.

Commission Decision 2003/367/EC of 15 May 2003 establishing the rules of procedure of the European Community Energy Star Board [Official Journal L 125 of 21.05.2003].

For more information on the Energy Star programme, please see the website set up by the Commission, which sets out the benefits of it for consumers, companies and the public sector.

Container security: EU/US agreements

Container security: EU/US agreements

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Container security: EU/US agreements

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Industrialised countries

Container security: EU/US agreements

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/634/EC of 30 March 2004 concerning the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on intensifying and broadening the scope of the Agreement on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters to include cooperation on container security and related matters.

Summary

The 1997 Agreement on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters (CMAA) was designed to establish smooth trade relations between the European Community and the United States. To achieve the objective of the Agreement, the two parties undertook to develop customs cooperation of the widest possible scope. Article 3 of the Agreement provides for the possibility of expanding its scope by mutual consent.

On 22 April 2004, the two parties signed an Agreement which extended the scope of the 1997 Agreement. In order to cover supply-chain security of transatlantic trade, the EU and the United States would expand customs cooperation to ensure that general customs control takes due account of security concerns.

The Agreement provides for the prompt expansion of the Container Security Initiative to all ports in the Community that meet relevant requirements. It aims to improve cargo security on a reciprocal basis for both the EU and the US, whilst ensuring equal treatment of US and EU ports and operators. It also sets out a work programme for the implementation of the following measures:

  • the development of standards for risk management techniques;
  • information required to identify high-risk shipments imported by the parties;
  • industry partnership programmes.

The external coordination of customs control standards with the United States is also necessary to guarantee supply-chain security and ensure the continued flow of legitimate trade in containers. The customs authorities of the importing country work together with customs authorities involved in earlier parts of the supply chain to use timely information and inspection technology to target and screen high-risk containers before they are shipped from their ports or places of loading or transhipment in the respective countries. It is essential to ensure that all ports can participate in the Container Security Initiative on the basis of uniform principles. The adoption of comparable standards should also be promoted in US ports.

The Agreement aims to improve security on a reciprocal basis so as to ensure cooperation in the development of action in the specific areas of control for which the Community is competent. Such cooperation must also facilitate the legitimate trade of both parties.

The Member States must be able to extend the Container Security Initiative (CSI) to all Community ports in collaboration with the United States. To do so, Member States must identify the ports participating in the initiative and provide for the stationing of US customs officials in these ports or maintain the existing declarations of principle on this point in accordance with the Treaty and the extended CMAA.

In order to continue to broaden and intensify customs cooperation between the Community and the United States, cooperation between the Member States and the Community institutions is necessary. A consultation procedure has therefore been put in place whereby Member States that negotiate arrangements with the United States in the fields governed by the extended CMAA must consult the Commission and the other Member States beforehand. The purpose of these consultations is to facilitate information exchange and ensure that the agreed arrangements comply with the Treaty, common policies and the extended CMAA. If the Commission considers that an arrangement which a Member State wishes to include in cooperation with the United States does not comply, it informs the Member State concerned. Similarly, the Member State is informed when a subject has to be dealt with under the extended CMAA.

The EU-US Joint Customs Cooperation Committee is mandated with finding an appropriate form and content for documents and measures with a view to continuing to implement intensified and broadened customs cooperation under the Agreement.

The Agreement sets up a working group composed of representatives of the US customs authorities assisted by interested EU Member States. This group has the task of examining and making recommendations in, among others, the following areas:

  • defining minimum standards, in particular in view of participating in CSI, and recommending methods by which those standards may be met;
  • identifying and broadening the application of best practices concerning security controls of international trade, especially those developed under CSI;
  • defining and establishing standards for the information required to identify and control high-risk shipments imported into, transhipped through, or transiting the United States and the European Community;
  • improving and establishing standards for targeting and screening such high-risk shipments, to include information exchange, the use of automated targeting systems, and the development of minimum standards for inspection technologies and screening methodologies;
  • improving and establishing standards for industry partnership programmes designed to improve supply-chain security and facilitate legitimate trade;
  • identifying any regulatory or legislative changes that would be necessary to implement the recommendations of the Working Group;
  • considering the type of documents and measures to further implement intensified and broadened customs cooperation on the issues set out in the annex to the Agreement.

This Working Group reports regularly to the Joint Committee, the Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection and the Director-General of DG Taxation and Customs Union of the Commission.

  • On 15 November 2004, the European Community and the United States adopted, via the Joint Committee, recommendations on strengthening the security of the maritime transport of containers under the Agreement.

The adoption of these recommendations contributes to the full implementation of the EC-US Agreement on ICS. The EU-US Joint Customs Cooperation Committee suggests that the working group continue to pursue the aim of mutual recognition and reciprocity of measures and standards. It must also present the initial results of the proposed activities and other recommendations in spring 2005. The results will pave the way for comparable measures applicable to all modes of transport.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/634/EC 28.4.2004 OJ L 304 of 30.9.2004

 

Programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training with the United States

Programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training with the United States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training with the United States

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Industrialised countries

Programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training with the United States

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/910/EC of 4 December 2006 concerning the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America renewing a programme of cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training.

Summary

This agreement is set against the dual background of the European Union’s action to support higher education, and EU/US relations. The EU’s action is intended to make European higher education a world reference for relevance and excellence, while bilateral relations call for greater cooperation in education.

The programme will support some 274 projects over an eight year period. Approximately 6000 EU and US citizens will participate in mobility activities over the duration of the programme.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME

The programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training pursues a number of objectives.

As general objectives, it aims to promote mutual understanding between the two partners, including through language, culture and institutions, and to improve the quality of human resource development in order to meet the challenges of the global knowledge-based economy.

It also has the following specific objectives:

  • enhancing cooperation between the European Community and the United States;
  • contributing to the development of higher education and vocational training institutions;
  • contributing to individual participants’ personal development for their own sake and as a way to achieve its general objectives;
  • fostering transatlantic exchanges between the citizens of the two partners.

Its operational objectives are to:

  • support higher education and vocational training institutions with a view to promoting joint study programmes and mobility;
  • improve the quality of transatlantic student mobility through transparency, mutual recognition of qualifications, periods of study and training, and portability of academic credits;
  • support collaboration between public and private organisations active in the field of higher education and vocational training with a view to encouraging discussion and exchange of experience;
  • support transatlantic mobility of professionals with a view to improving mutual understanding of issues between the two partners.

LINES OF ACTION

The agreement sets out five lines of action to achieve the programme’s objectives.

Action 1: Consortia projects

Action on consortia projects is aimed at higher education and vocational training institutions and organisations, and their staff, students and trainees.

Joint consortia projects should normally involve transatlantic mobility of students in joint study programmes. Flows in each direction should be equal and they should plan for the language and cultural preparation which will be needed.

This type of project provides support for double or joint degrees set up and run by multilateral consortia of EU and US higher education institutions, including scholarships for students, academic and administrative staff.

Action 2: Excellence mobility projects

The support provided by the programme is intended mainly for consortia projects run by higher education and vocational training institutions with a proven record of excellence, including those funded under the previous agreements.

Action 3: Policy-oriented measures

This action is targeted at organisations dealing with higher education and vocational training. Activities under this category include study sessions, conferences, seminars, working groups and benchmarking exercises.

Action 4: “Schuman-Fulbright” individual mobility grants

This action is intended for professionals (including professionals in training) who wish to study or train in areas of specific relevance to EU/US relations. The professionals it is aimed at include, in particular, decision makers, representatives of the social partners and journalists.

Action 5: Alumni Association

Action by the programme in this area is aimed at alumni associations whose members participated in exchanges supported by the programme.

PROGRAMME ADMINISTRATION

A Joint Committee has been established. It consists of an equal number of representatives from each party. Decisions are reached by consensus. Its role is to:

  • review the cooperation activities envisaged under this agreement;
  • provide an annual report to the parties on the level, status and effectiveness of cooperation undertaken under this agreement.

Activities under this programme will be financed on an equal basis. The proposed programme would cost a maximum of 46 million over the period 2006-2013, provided that matching funds are made available by the US.

BACKGROUND

On 18 May 2005 the Commission adopted a communication on a stronger EU-US partnership, which, in line with the Lisbon strategy, identified cooperation in education and training as an important tool for stimulating knowledge and innovation, and called for the renewal and reinforcement of the current agreement on higher education and vocational training.

This agreement renews the cooperation programme for 2000-2005 originally established under the 1995 Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2006/910/EC

The first day of the month following notification

OJ L 346 of 09.12.2006

Related Acts

Agreement between the European Community and the United States renewing a cooperation programme in higher education and vocational education and training [Official Journal L 346 of 9.12.2006].

Communication from th Commission of 27 June 2005 on the evaluation of the cooperation programmes between the European Community and the United States of America in the field of higher education and vocational education and training and between the European Community and Canada in the field of higher education and training [COM (2005) 0274 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This is the Commission’s interim report on implementation of the EU-US cooperation programme. On the basis of positive external evaluations, the Commission states that the programme has widely succeeded in establishing long-term transatlantic partnerships in higher education and vocational training. Almost all the projects established exchanges of students based on joint programmes of study or programmes drawn up together. The report notes that the programmes achieved the objectives of improving the quality of education and training systems.
The Commission presents the suggestions made by the experts with a view to improving certain aspects of the programmes, but emphasises the absence of major shortcomings. It also mentions that some of the potential has remained unexploited for want of sufficient budgetary resources.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 May 2005: A stronger EU-US Partnership and a more open market for the 21st century [COM (2005) 196 final – Not published in the Official Journal].