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The following glossary contains some 220 terms relating to European integration

and the institutions and activities of the EU. It is updated regularly and includes
all the changes brought about by the Treaty of Nice as well as the changes
provided for in the European Constitution currently being ratified.
The definitions explain how the individual terms have evolved and provide
references to the Treaties, if necessary. Historical background, how the
institutions work, what the procedures are, what areas are covered by a
Community policy - the answers to these questions and many others can be
found by following these links.
This version is also available online at the following address:
http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/glossary/index_en.htm
Last updated: May 2005

A.....................................................................................................................................7
Abstention, constructive (positive abstention) ......................................................7
Accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria)...............................................................7
Accession negotiations .............................................................................................7
Accession of new Member States to the European Union....................................9
Accession partnership..............................................................................................9
Agenda 2000 ...........................................................................................................10
Animal welfare .......................................................................................................11
Applicant countries................................................................................................11
Architecture of Europe..........................................................................................12
Area of freedom, security and justice ..................................................................13
Article 36 Committee (Title VI of the EU Treaty) ..............................................13
Assent procedure....................................................................................................14
Audiovisual .............................................................................................................14
B...................................................................................................................................15
Bilateral Intergovernmental Conference (EU-Applicant countries).................15
Budget .....................................................................................................................16
C...................................................................................................................................17
Charter of Fundamental Rights ...........................................................................17
Citizenship of the Union ........................................................................................18
Clarity of the Treaties (simplification of the Treaties) .......................................18
Classification of expenditure.................................................................................19
Closer cooperation .................................................................................................19
Codecision procedure ............................................................................................20
Collective defence...................................................................................................21
Comitology..............................................................................................................22
Committee of the Regions .....................................................................................23
Committees and working parties..........................................................................24
Common agricultural policy (CAP) .....................................................................24
Common commercial policy..................................................................................25
Common foreign and security policy (CFSP)......................................................26
Common organisation of agricultural markets (COM) .....................................27

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Common position (CFSP)......................................................................................27
Common strategy (CFSP) .....................................................................................28
Common transport policy .....................................................................................28
Communitisation....................................................................................................28
Community acquis .................................................................................................29
Community and intergovernmental methods .....................................................30
Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty)................................................30
Community law ......................................................................................................31
Community legal instruments...............................................................................31
Community powers................................................................................................32
Competition ............................................................................................................33
Competitiveness......................................................................................................34
Composition of the European Commission .........................................................34
Concentration.........................................................................................................35
Concentric circles...................................................................................................36
Conciliation Committee.........................................................................................36
Confirmation of the European Commission........................................................37
Consolidation of legislation - formal/official .......................................................37
Consolidation of legislation - informal/declaratory ............................................38
Consultation procedure .........................................................................................38
Consumer protection .............................................................................................39
Convention (Title VI of the EU Treaty)...............................................................39
Convergence criteria..............................................................................................40
Cooperation procedure..........................................................................................40
Coreper ...................................................................................................................41
COREU (CORespondance EUropéenne) ............................................................42
Council of the European Union ............................................................................42
Court of First Instance of the European Communities (CFI) ...........................43
Court of Justice of the European Communities..................................................43
Culture ....................................................................................................................44
Customs union........................................................................................................45
D...................................................................................................................................46
Debate on the future of the European Union ......................................................46
Decision and framework decision (Title VI of the EU Treaty)..........................46
Declaration (CFSP)................................................................................................47
Deepening................................................................................................................47
Delimitation of competences .................................................................................47
Democratic deficit ..................................................................................................48
Development aid.....................................................................................................49
Double majority .....................................................................................................50
E...................................................................................................................................51
Economic and Monetary Union............................................................................51
Economic, social and territorial cohesion............................................................52
Economic policy .....................................................................................................53
Education, vocational training and youth ...........................................................54
eEurope ...................................................................................................................55
Employment............................................................................................................56
Employment Committee........................................................................................57
Energy .....................................................................................................................57
Enlargement ...........................................................................................................58

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Enterprise policy ....................................................................................................59
Environment...........................................................................................................59
Equal opportunities ...............................................................................................60
Equal treatment for men and women ..................................................................61
Eurocorps................................................................................................................61
EUROFOR/EUROMARFOR...............................................................................62
Europe 'à la carte'..................................................................................................62
Europe agreement..................................................................................................63
European arrest warrant ......................................................................................63
European Central Bank (ECB) ............................................................................64
European Commission...........................................................................................64
European Conference ............................................................................................65
European Convention............................................................................................65
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) .............................................66
European Council ..................................................................................................67
European Court of Auditors .................................................................................68
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) ..........................................68
European Employment Strategy (EES) ...............................................................69
European Investment Bank (EIB)........................................................................70
European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) .....................................70
European Parliament.............................................................................................71
European political cooperation (EPC) .................................................................72
European political parties .....................................................................................72
European Research Area (ERA) ..........................................................................73
European security and defence identity...............................................................73
European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) ..................................................74
European Union agencies ......................................................................................75
Europol (European Police Office) ........................................................................76
External responsibilities of the European Community ......................................77
F ...................................................................................................................................78
Fight against drugs ................................................................................................78
Fight against fraud.................................................................................................78
Fight against international organised crime........................................................79
Fight against racism and xenophobia ..................................................................80
Fight against terrorism..........................................................................................81
Financial perspective .............................................................................................81
Food safety..............................................................................................................82
Free movement of persons (visas, asylum, immigration and other policies)....83
G ..................................................................................................................................84
General-interest services .......................................................................................84
Genetically modified organisms (GMO)..............................................................85
Globalisation of the economy................................................................................85
Governance.............................................................................................................86
Green Paper............................................................................................................86
H ..................................................................................................................................87
Hard core ................................................................................................................87
Hierarchy of Community acts (hierarchy of norms) ..........................................87
High Representative for the CFSP (Mr/Ms CFSP) ............................................88
Human rights..........................................................................................................88
Humanitarian aid...................................................................................................89

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............................................103 Objectives 1...97 Legal personality of the Union..............................................101 National parliaments ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................107 Parliamentary committees ...105 Outermost regions................90 Institutional balance ...96 Kyoto Protocol.................................... 2 and 3 ....................................................97 Laeken Declaration.......107 Petersberg tasks ...............109 Planning and Early Warning Unit .....................................111 Pre-accession aid ...........................................................................................................................................................................115 Programme of Community aid to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (Phare)...................................................................................................................................................95 K ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................91 Intellectual property ........................................................................100 'Multi-speed' Europe ...................................................................90 Information Society ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................I ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................102 Non-discrimination principle.................................105 Opting out ...............................................................................98 Monetary policy ..................................................92 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC)......................................................................................................................................................................................................90 Incorporation of the Community acquis......................103 O ..............................................................................................................................................................114 Presidency of the Union (rotation of the Presidency) ..........................................115 President of the European Commission........................................94 Joint position (Title VI of the EU Treaty) ....................................................................................................................................................................108 Petitions.....................................................................96 L.............101 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) ...........................................................................................104 Ombudsman ...........95 Justice and home affairs (JHA) .........................................................................................................................................................................113 Precautionary Principle.........99 Monitoring the application of Community law...................................................................................................................106 Own resources .....92 Ioannina compromise ...........................................98 Measures to combat money laundering .......................................93 J.......................................................................................................101 N............................................111 Pre-accession strategy.98 M.....................................................................................................................................108 Pillars of the European Union ...................................................................................................................................103 OLAF (European Anti-fraud Office) .94 Joint action (Justice and home affairs) ..............109 Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters...........................110 Political and Security Committee (PSC)..................................................................................106 P ..................................................................................94 Joint action (CFSP)..........................................102 'New-look' NATO.........................................................................................97 Luxembourg compromise ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................116 4 ......................................................................................

.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................133 Subsidiary powers................................125 Simplification of legislation.................................119 Reinforced qualified majority..........................................................................................................................................................................................................138 Title VI of the EU Treaty ........................................................................................................................................................................................144 V..........................................................................................................................................................................................................128 Social policy ........................................................118 Qualified majority......................................................134 Sustainable development .................................117 Public service charter .................................................127 Social dialogue....................134 T.............................................................................................................................121 Right of initiative............135 TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office).....................................................................118 R................136 Telecommunications ..............................................................................135 Taxation ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................142 Troïka........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................145 'Variable-geometry' Europe .....................................................123 Screening........................133 Suspension clause ....................................145 5 .......................................143 Unanimity .........................................................................................................................................................138 Title V of the EU Treaty (CFSP) ........................................118 Q ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................120 Revision of the Treaties .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................130 State aid....................................................132 Subsidiarity...............................122 S .......................141 Treaty of Nice ....................127 Social partners.........144 Universal service .............................130 Stability and Growth Pact......................................................................................................................................................................................142 U........140 Transparency of Council proceedings ...............................................137 Television without frontiers ............131 Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund....117 Public service........................119 Recasting of legislation .....................................123 Schengen (Agreement and Convention)..........................................................................................................................126 Social Charter (Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers).............141 Treaty of Amsterdam ..............................................................................122 Rural development...................................................................................143 Uniform electoral procedure of the European Parliament ............................................................................................................................................................119 Research and development....................................................................................................................................................................129 Social Policy Agreement .......................121 Rules governing Members of the European Parliament .......................................................................138 Trans-European Networks (TEN)............................126 Single institutional framework ..........125 Services of general economic interest.................... Public health .............................139 Transparency (access to documents)...................................................................

.........................145 Weighting of votes in the Council................................................147 6 .......................................................................................................................................................................W............................145 Western European Union (WEU)....................................146 White Paper.........................................................................

A Abstention. See: • Accession partnership • Applicant countries • Enlargement • Incorporation of the Community acquis Last updated: 04. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Treaty of Amsterdam Last updated: 04. in particular the measures required to extend the single market. without blocking a unanimous decision. harmonious integration. • economic: a functioning market economy. However. the rule of law. The Member State must then refrain from any action that might conflict with Union action based on that decision. which also stressed the importance of adapting the applicant countries' administrative structures to create the conditions for a gradual. constructive (positive abstention) Constructive abstention is the idea of allowing a Member State to abstain on a vote in Council under the common foreign and security policy.05. the Union reserves the right to decide when it will be ready to accept new members. economic and monetary aims of the European Union.05. The negotiations also look at the issue of the pre-accession aid the European Union may provide in order to help with the incorporation of the acquis. the Member State in question is not obliged to apply the decision but must accept that it commits the Union. These accession criteria were confirmed in December 1995 by the Madrid European Council. human rights and respect for minorities. • incorporation of the Community acquis: adherence to the various political. The negotiations can be concluded even if the acquis 7 .2005 [Back] Accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria) In June 1993. which will have to be implemented immediately.2005 [Back] Accession negotiations The accession negotiations examine the applicants' capacity to fulfil the requirements of a Member State and to apply the body of Community laws (the acquis) at the time of their accession. the Copenhagen European Council recognised the right of the countries of central and eastern Europe to join the European Union when they have fulfilled three criteria: • political: stable institutions guaranteeing democracy. If constructive abstention is accompanied by a formal declaration. This option was introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam in the new Article 23 of the EU Treaty.

Latvia. At the Copenhagen European Council (12 and 13 December 2002). These countries all signed accession treaties in Athens on 16 April 2003 and joined the Union on 1 May 2004. In October 2004 the Commission defined a pre-accession strategy for Croatia in which accession negotiations are due to commence in 2005. when it was felt that their reforms had made rapid enough progress. The common negotiating positions have been defined by the Commission for each of the chapters relating to matters of Community competence and approved unanimously by the Council. Accordingly. Hungary. Lithuania. On 30 March 1998. Work drafting these two countries’ accession treaties began in July 2004 so that they can be signed as early in 2005 as possible. the Czech Republic. bringing the ministers together every six months and the ambassadors every month. Latvia. Poland. In its Recommendation of 6 October 2004 the Commission considers that Turkey sufficiently met the necessary Copenhagen political criteria and recommends therefore that accession negotiations be opened. provided there is full cooperation from Croatia with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. and Slovenia). negotiations began with six "first wave" countries (Cyprus. The negotiations proper take the form of bilateral Intergovernmental Conferences (European Union/applicant country). Malta. This must be approved by the Union and ratified by the Member States and the applicant countries. Estonia. the Union concluded the negotiations with 10 applicant countries: the Czech Republic. The results of the negotiations are incorporated in a draft accession treaty. Hungary. Romania and Slovakia) began negotiations in February 2000. the goal is to conclude negotiations in time for them to join on 1 January 2007. Lithuania. As far as Bulgaria and Romania are concerned. Estonia. Malta. Croatia gained candidate country status at the Brussels European Council on 17 and 18 June 2004. The "second wave" candidate countries (Bulgaria. as transitional arrangements can be applied after accession. The official accession negotiations then proceeded in two phases. Cyprus. Slovakia and Slovenia. See: • Accession partnership • Applicant countries • Bilateral Intergovernmental Conference (EU-Applicant countries) • Community acquis • Enlargement • European Conference • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Pre-accession aid • Pre-accession strategy • Phare • Screening • TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) 8 . Poland. The applications of 10 Central and Eastern European countries were given a favourable reception at the Luxembourg European Council (December 1997). the December 2004 European Council has planned to open accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005.has not been fully transposed.

the national development plans and other sectoral programmes necessary for participation in the Structural Funds after accession and for the implementation of ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession) and SAPARD (Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development). the Slovak Republic and Slovenia into the European Union on 1 May 2004. the pact on organised crime. The Council must agree unanimously to open negotiations. They are intended to assist the applicant country authorities in their efforts to comply with the accession criteria and they set out in detail the priorities for each country in preparing for accession. in particular implementing the Community acquis. Latvia.05.2005 [Back] Accession partnership The accession partnerships concluded by the Council with each of the applicant countries bring together in one document the aid provided by the European Community to each applicant country.2005 [Back] Accession of new Member States to the European Union Accession of new Member States to the European Union is provided for in Article 49 (former Article O) of the EU Treaty. the conditions for granting the financing and the priorities for each sector in transposing Community law (the acquis). any transition periods and adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is founded must be the subject of an agreement between the applicant country and the Member State. See: • Applicant countries • Community acquis • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Pre-accession aid 9 . including the joint assessment of medium-term economic policy priorities. The accession partnerships form the basis for programming pre-accession assistance from Community funds such as the Phare programme. The accession partnerships served as a support for other pre-accession instruments. after consulting the Commission and receiving the assent of the European Parliament. Estonia. Last updated: 04. Poland. Hungary. the accession partnerships came to an end. To enter into force. Lithuania. the Czech Republic. Malta. These programmes and the accession partnerships are adjusted over time by the Commission and the country concerned. The conditions of admission.05. Following the signing of the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003 and the official integration of Cyprus. the agreement requires ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. They were also the starting point for the development of action plans to improve administrative and judicial capacities in the applicant countries. See: • Bilateral Intergovernmental Conference (EU-Applicant countries) • Enlargement Last updated: 04.

particularly the reform of the common agricultural policy. A new reform of the European project is currently being drawn up. 2 and 3 • Pre-accession strategy 10 . • pre-accession instruments. It also contains recommendations on how to face the challenge of enlargement in the best possible conditions and proposes putting in place a new financial framework for the period 2000-06. See: • Accession partnership • Deepening • Economic. and of the policy of economic and social cohesion.2005 [Back] Agenda 2000 Agenda 2000 is a strategy paper. Agenda 2000 tackles all the political. which sets out a project for Europe for the year 2000. A new financial perspective for the period 2007-2013 is also being examined. • the third consists of a study of the impact of enlargement on European Union policies. adopted by the European Commission on 15 July 1997. • the second proposes a reinforced pre-accession strategy incorporating two new elements: the partnership for accession and extended participation of the candidate countries in Community programmes and the mechanisms for applying the Community acquis. They cover four closely linked areas for the period from 2000 to 2006: • reform of the common agricultural policy. It will determine the nature and extent of the next generation of Community policies. • Phare Last updated: 04. and the financial framework for the period 2000-2006. Attached to it are the Commission's opinions on the countries that have applied for Union membership. economic and social issues facing the Union at the beginning of the 21st century. It announces a reform of Community policies. Agenda 2000 is in three parts: • the first addresses the question of the European Union's internal operation.05. enabling the measures to be adopted in the same year. social and territorial cohesion • Enlargement • Financial perspective • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Objectives 1. It will allow the measures implemented by the enlarged European Union to be consolidated and preparations to be made for future accessions. • reform of the structural policy. • financial framework. particularly in the light of the enlargement towards Central and Eastern Europe. The Berlin European Council reached an overall political agreement on the legislative package in 1999. These priorities were fleshed out in some twenty legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission in 1998.

Hungary. Accession negotiations with Croatia 11 . other Community policies (agriculture. Slovakia and Slovenia). transport and slaughter. Estonia.05. This "Protocol on protection and welfare of animals" lays down new rules for EU action in this area. European legislation in the field of animal welfare aims to save animals from any unnecessary suffering in three main areas: farming. Lithuania. As far as Bulgaria and Romania are concerned. four official applicant countries remain: • Turkey: application received on 14 April 1987 and applicant country status formally granted by the EU at the Helsinki European Council of 10 and 11 December 1999. Malta. As part of a comprehensive strategy on food safety. Its role has grown since the enlargement of the EU to 25 Member States. internal market and research) are also required to take account of this necessity.05. Last updated: 04. the Czech Republic. transport. In cooperation with the competent authorities of the Member States. It recognises that animals are sentient beings and obliges the European institutions to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals when formulating and implementing common policies. Following the accession of ten new Member States on 1 May 2004 (Cyprus. See: • Common agricultural policy (CAP) • Food safety Last updated: 04. Poland.2005 [Back] Applicant countries Europe's economic and political stability is a magnet for many European countries. • Romania: application received on 22 June 1995 and applicant country status formally granted by the EU at the Luxembourg European Council of 12 and 13 December 1997. Latvia. the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carries out on-the-spot checks to ensure compliance with Community legislation. which have the right to apply to become members of the European Union (Article 49 of the EU Treaty). • Bulgaria: application received on 14 December 1995 and applicant country status formally granted by the EU at the Luxembourg European Council of 12 and 13 December 1997. negotiations are underway and the goal is to enable them to join on 1 January 2007.2005 [Back] Animal welfare The question of animal welfare was first addressed in an additional protocol attached to the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997). • Croatia: application received on 21 February 2003 and applicant country status formally granted by the EU at the Brussels European Council of 17 and 18 June 2004.

It plans to merge the three existing pillars. but intergovernmental procedures apply. Accordingly. treaties and traditional relations making up the European area within which members work together on problems of shared interest.2005 [Back] Architecture of Europe This refers to the various organisations.are scheduled to open sometime in 2005. See: 12 . The European Constitution. Matters falling within the second and third pillars are handled by the Community institutions (the European Council. which formed three pillars: the European Community (first pillar). The Council expressed its wish that these negotiations be based on the strategy set out by the Commission in its recommendation of October 2004. the Commission. which is in the process of being ratified. Norway and Switzerland have also all applied for membership of the European Union at various times. the Commission concludes that Turkey satisfied the Copenhagen political criteria and recommends that accession negotiations begin. the common foreign and security policy (second pillar) and cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs (third pillar). In its recommendation of 6 October 2004. Liechtenstein. institutions. Norway twice rejected accession following referenda in 1972 and 1994. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted its accession application on 22 March 2004 but has not yet obtained official applicant country status. the Council. the December 2004 European Council has scheduled to open accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005. For the record.05. while maintaining the procedures specific to the CFSP and the defence policy. However. while the applications by Liechtenstein and Switzerland were shelved after Switzerland decided by a referendum in 1992 not to join the European Economic Area. the European Parliament etc. envisages a total recast of the architecture.). See: • Accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria) • Accession negotiations • Accession partnership • Community acquis • Enlargement • European Conference • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Pre-accession aid • Pre-accession strategy • Phare • Screening • TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) Last updated: 04. however this is dependent upon the Croatian authorities’ full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. An essential part of this architecture was established by the Treaty on European Union.

immigration and other policies) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Pillars of the European Union • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters • Schengen (Agreement and Convention) • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. See: • Closer cooperation • Communitisation • Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Europol (European Police Office) • Free movement of persons (visas. security and justice. Chapter IV. Title III. security and justice are in Part III.05.05. In practice the committee had already been in existence since the Rhodes European Council in December 1988. immigration and judicial cooperation in civil matters. asylum. The Amsterdam Treaty "communitised" asylum. Ireland and Denmark. security and justice It was decided to establish an area of freedom. now devoted solely to police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. See: • Justice and home affairs (JHA) 13 . Matters relating to justice and home affairs used to be dealt with solely under the intergovernmental rules. • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Pillars of the European Union • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. the aim being to ensure genuine freedom of movement for individuals on the territory of the European Union and more effective action against organised crime and fraud. But all JHA matters are regrouped under the general heading of the area of freedom. The Constitution currently being ratified introduces a major innovation: it abolishes the pillars and communitises police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. It preserved the third pillar. security and justice.2005 [Back] Article 36 Committee (Title VI of the EU Treaty) A Coordinating Committee consisting of senior officials was set up under Article 36 (former Article K. in particular under Title VI of the EU Treaty (the "third pillar").2005 [Back] Area of freedom. The provisions on the area of freedom.4) of the EU Treaty to prepare the ground for Council deliberations on police cooperation and judicial cooperation in civil matters. The Constitution fully preserves the special opt-outs for the United Kingdom.

If Parliament does not give its assent. Last updated: 04. • an unwieldy decision-making process which generally requires unanimity.2005 [Back] Assent procedure The assent procedure was introduced by the Single European Act (1986). which requires international alliances and/or mergers. The Community's activity in the audiovisual field has developed in two broad directions: 14 . It is also required with regard to citizenship issues. The Treaty of Nice has made Parliament's assent mandatory where reinforced cooperation between certain Member States is envisaged in an area which is subject to the codecision procedure. The European audiovisual market is also facing a number of problems. the rules on intellectual property and the principles of public service. Since entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. the specific tasks of the European Central Bank (ECB). See: • Codecision procedure • Consultation procedure • Council of the European Union • European Commission • European Parliament Last updated: 04. amendments to the Statutes of the European System of Central Banks and the ECB. brings the assent procedure under the heading of “special legislative procedures”. It requires the Council to obtain the European Parliament's assent before certain important decisions are taken. In order to simplify legislative procedures. the Structural and Cohesion Funds. but the procedure will continue to be used for European laws and framework laws under the term “approval procedure”. such as competition rules (especially regarding State aid).sometimes contradictory - interests and priorities. • the need to make considerable investment to anticipate technological developments. including: • the language barriers preventing free movement of programmes. The term “assent” will no longer be used as such. and the appointment of the President of the Commission. The assent procedure applies mainly to the accession of new Member States. currently being ratified. association agreements and other fundamental agreements with third countries. Parliament may accept or reject a proposal but cannot amend it.05. the European Constitution.05. Parliament's assent has also been required for sanctions imposed on a Member State for a serious and persistent breach of fundamental rights.2005 [Back] Audiovisual The Community's audiovisual policy must respect various . the act in question cannot be adopted. and the uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliament.

It also finances schemes to improve the training of professionals in the sector. protection of minors and the right of reply were introduced. The Treaty of Amsterdam.05. Poland. The role of the Member States as regards public channels is made clear: they may continue to finance public service broadcasting. Then. more than half their transmission time for European works.2005 [Back] B Bilateral Intergovernmental Conference (EU-Applicant countries) Negotiations on the accession of new Member States to the European Union take the form of bilateral intergovernmental conferences between the European Union and each of the applicant countries. adopted in 1989 and amended in 1997. thus requiring TV channels to reserve. which follows on from MEDIA II (1996- 2000). has a budget of EUR 4 million. a single standard for high-definition television production and financial support for a programme of cooperation between the businesses concerned were introduced. In 1989. the Television without Frontiers Directive. whenever possible. Common rules on advertising. Furthermore. as long as the broadcasting organisation fulfils a public service remit and its funding does not unfairly affect either trade or competition in the sector. 15 . Slovenia and Cyprus were formally opened on 30 March 1998. Romania and Slovakia were opened on 15 February 2000. the Community MEDIA programme (measures to promote the development of the audiovisual industry) has been supporting the European audiovisual industry by encouraging the development and distribution of European works. The MEDIA Plus Programme (2000-2005). since 1991. The Commission draws up common negotiating positions on each chapter for which the Community is competent. • on the industrial front. Estonia. a directive was adopted in 1986 to ensure the standardisation of the systems used in the Member States to broadcast programmes by satellite and cable. An action plan to promote the 16/9 format was adopted in 1993. Hungary. production and distribution of European television programmes. The intergovernmental conferences on the accession of the Czech Republic. sponsorship. added a protocol on the public broadcasting system to the EC Treaty. Latvia. adopted in June 1997. They bring together ministers at six-monthly intervals and ambassadors every month. objectives were defined for the development of high-definition television. Malta. The Directive also introduced distribution quotas. • on the legal front. provided a harmonised framework to promote the free movement. See: • Competition • Public service • Television without frontiers Last updated: 04. Lithuania. in 1991. The conferences on the accession of Bulgaria.

the Member States were asked to establish a multiannual financial perspective to cap annual Union expenditure. The European Constitution. However. with the targeted accession date being 1 January 2007. As part of the reforms proposed by the Commission in July 1997 in “Agenda 2000”. which shares budgetary authority with the European Parliament. the European Council of 17 and 18 June 2004 decided to convene a bilateral intergovernmental conference in 2005 to open accession negotiations. it is the European Parliament that adopts or rejects the budget as a whole. depending on whether the expenditure is compulsory (the Council decides) or not (the Parliament decides). only the EU- Romania and EU-Bulgaria bilateral intergovernmental conferences are still under way. After granting Croatia the status of applicant country.05. The budget is governed by several principles. including: • unity: (all the revenue and expenditure is brought together in a single document). which must be respected by all the institutions. it should be remembered that. incorporates the financial perspective under the name of the “multiannual financial framework”. it will also mean that it will lose the right to have the final say regarding non-compulsory expenditure. quite apart from the classification of expenditure and the ensuing power-sharing. • annuality: (budget operations relate to a given budget year). Since 1993 the budget has been the subject of an interinstitutional agreement between Parliament. It is intended to ensure that expenditure develops in an orderly fashion and within the limits of the Union's own resources. However. See: • Accession of new Member States to the European Union • Applicant countries Last updated: 04. the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improving the budgetary procedure. The Constitution also does away with the current distinction under the budgetary procedure between compulsory expenditure and non-compulsory expenditure. This will allow the European Parliament to exert some influence over the budget as a whole. in the final analysis.Since the accession of the ten new Member States on 1 May 2004.2005 [Back] Budget All the Union's revenue and expenditure is entered in the Community budget on the basis of annual forecasts. The nature of the expenditure determines which of the two institutions has the final say. which is currently being ratified. The Commission is responsible for submitting a preliminary draft budget to the Council. • equilibrium: (expenditure must not exceed revenue). See: • Classification of expenditure • European Court of Auditors • Financial perspective 16 . In 1998 the Commission presented a plan to renew the 1993 interinstitutional agreement and to consolidate all the joint declarations and interinstitutional agreements on the budget concluded since 1982.

data protection. which until now has been a solemn Declaration by the institutions. the Charter goes further to cover workers’ social rights. While the ECHR is limited to protecting civil and political rights. The Charter will also become more visible to all Europeans and make them better informed of their rights.made up of sixty-two members including representatives of the European institutions and the governments of the Member States.05. constitutional traditions common to the Member States and various European Parliament declarations. the Cologne European Council (3 and 4 June 1999) decided to begin work on drafting a Charter of Fundamental Rights. equality. The Charter. liberty. It is based on the Community Treaties. See: • Citizenship of the Union • Equal opportunities • Equal treatment for men and women • European Convention • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) • Human rights • Laeken Declaration • Social Charter (Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers) • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. Last updated: 04. The work of drawing up the draft Charter was entrusted to a special body .2005 [Back] C Charter of Fundamental Rights Following the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1998. The Constitution that is currently in the process of ratification marks an important step forward for the protection of fundamental rights in the Union.2005 [Back] 17 . bioethics and the right to good administration. solidarity. the Charter defines fundamental rights relating to dignity. citizenship and justice. international conventions such as the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and the 1989 European Social Charter. In its seven chapters divided into 54 articles.a Convention . It integrates the Charter of Fundamental Rights and gives the Union the right to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).05. The aim was that the fundamental rights applicable at Union level should be consolidated in a single document to raise awareness of them. The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights was solemnly proclaimed by the Nice European Council on 7 December 2000. is incorporated into the Constitution and provides the Union and the Member States with a list of fundamental rights which will be legally binding on its signatories.

which has three pillars (the European Communities. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • Debate on the future of the European Union • Democratic deficit • European Convention • Laeken Declaration • Simplification of legislation 18 .2005 [Back] Clarity of the Treaties (simplification of the Treaties) The European Union has come into being gradually and its structure is the result of a succession of amendments to the various treaties. This has led to a situation where the lack of clarity and readability of the founding texts of the Union has created a gulf between the Union and the public. anyone who is a national of a Member State is considered to be a citizen of the Union. In December 2001 the Laeken Declaration launched a process of simplification of the treaties. Union citizenship confers four special rights: • freedom to move and take up residence anywhere in the Union. Once it is in force. of course. The Nice and Amsterdam Treaties contain amendments to the earlier treaties and a new article numbering system. In addition to the rights and duties laid down in the Treaty establishing the European Community. common foreign and security policy and cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs). instruments amending or amplifying them. This gives the ordinary citizen a deeper and more tangible sense of belonging to the Union. The introduction of the notion of Union citizenship does not.05. the Constitution will repeal all the existing primary legislation – preceding treaties. The European Union will thus operate on the basis of a single instrument. the European Union. replace national citizenship: it is in addition to it. This Treaty created a new structure. and treaties and acts of accession. • diplomatic and consular protection from the authorities of any Member State where the country of which a person is a national is not represented in a non-Union country. The Treaty of Rome was followed by the Single European Act and the Treaty on European Union (the "Maastricht Treaty"). in addition to the European Communities. The process culminated in the adoption of the Constitution currently being ratified. See: • Ombudsman • Petitions Last updated: 04. • the right to vote and stand in local government and European Parliament elections in the country of residence. which substantially simplifies the Treaties. In other words. • the right of petition and appeal to the European Ombudsman.Citizenship of the Union Citizenship of the Union is dependent on holding the nationality of one of the Member States. Several protocols and declarations are also annexed to these treaties.

The aim is to enable a limited number of Member States that are willing and able to advance further to deepen European integration within the single institutional framework of the Union.the Council and the European Parliament . The question of whether expenditure is to be considered compulsory or non-compulsory generates friction between the two arms of the budgetary authority . The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for ending the distinction between compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure. See: • Budget • Common agricultural policy (CAP) • Consultation procedure • Council of the European Union • European Parliament Last updated: 04. conventions.05. the use of these instruments was put on a more formal footing with the introduction of the concept of "closer cooperation" in the Treaty on European Union (EU Treaty) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty). but it will lose the final say that enables it to impose its will on the Council regarding non- compulsory expenditure.05. Closer cooperation must meet a number of conditions. international treaties or private contracts ("compulsory" expenditure) and expenditure for which the budgetary authority is free to decide the amount as it sees fit ("non-compulsory" expenditure).2005 [Back] Classification of expenditure This refers to the distinction made between Union expenditure of which the underlying principle and the amount are legally determined by the treaties. various instruments have been introduced. secondary legislation. After the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force. 19 . This has allowed Member States who so wish.as Parliament has the final say in determining the amount of expenditure only where it is non-compulsory. • Transparency (access to documents) Last updated: 04. such as the Social Policy Agreement and the Schengen Agreements.2005 [Back] Closer cooperation To encourage closer cooperation between countries of the European Union who wish to go further than the degree of integration provided for by the Treaties. Unifying expenditure in this way will have two effects: Parliament will be able to influence the entire budget. to make progress at a different pace or on different objectives outside the institutional framework of the European Union. In particular it must: • cover an area which does not fall within the exclusive competence of the Community. • be aimed at furthering the objectives of the Union.

It has the effect of increasing contacts between the Parliament and the 20 . which must act unanimously. • involve a minimum number of Member States. namely. In particular. The minimum participation threshold has been fixed at one-third of Member States. The Constitution provides for a specific mechanism as regards defence: permanent structured cooperation. two or three readings. The Treaty of Nice introduced the possibility of closer cooperation in the field of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Concentric circles • Europe 'à la carte' • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • 'Multi-speed' Europe • Single institutional framework • Treaty of Nice • 'Variable-geometry' Europe Last updated: 04. security and justice.2005 [Back] Codecision procedure The codecision procedure (Article 251 of the EC Treaty) was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht. • allow the gradual integration of other Member States. which is being ratified. However. The possibility of closer cooperation in the field of the CFSP has been retained but the restrictions in the EU Treaty have been abolished. except for matters having military or defence implications. a Member State could always refuse to allow closer cooperation in a particular area for reasons of national political importance. The object of closer cooperation under the EU Treaty.• respect the principles of the Treaties and the Community acquis. the Council could refer the matter to the European Council. irrespective of the total number of Member States. It is launched at the request of the Member States concerned. • an additional condition for the implementation of closer cooperation has been added. It gives the European Parliament the power to adopt instruments jointly with the Council of the European Union. The procedure comprises one. • Member States can no longer prevent the establishment of closer cooperation. The Treaty of Nice introduced significant changes aimed at simplifying the mechanism: • the minimum number of Member States required for closer cooperation has been cut by half (Treaty of Amsterdam) to eight. according to the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam. The European Constitution. that the internal market or economic and social cohesion must not be jeopardised. • be used only as a last resort. the initial authorisation procedures and those concerning participation by other Member States at a later stage have been simplified. will facilitate recourse to this mechanism. According to the Treaty of Amsterdam.05. is to develop the area of freedom.

any legislative instrument adopted by qualified majority is likely to fall within the scope of the codecision procedure. the internal market. In most cases. the signatory states are required to provide assistance for the restoration of security. public health and the fight against fraud affecting the European Community's financial interests. judicial cooperation in civil matters. education (incentive measures). Since 1949. culture (incentive measures) and research (framework programme). NATO has been the principal guarantor of security in western Europe. In practice. asylum and immigration. services. The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) launched in February 2000 called for an extension of the scope of codecision. environment (general action programme). codecision and unanimity still coexist. Increasing the democratic nature of Community action requires Parliament to participate in exercising legislative power. therefore. which is in the process of being ratified. It should be noted. They are: incentives to combat discrimination. The Treaty of Nice partially puts an end to this situation.Council. that the WEU is the only strictly European 21 . making it quicker and more effective and strengthening the role of Parliament. however. codecision in Parliament goes hand in hand with qualified majority voting in the Council. which stipulate that in the event of aggression.2005 [Back] Collective defence Collective defence refers to participation in the defence of Europe under the Treaties of Brussels (Article V) and Washington (Article 5). it has strengthened Parliament's legislative powers in the following fields: the free movement of workers. See: • Conciliation Committee • Council of the European Union • European Parliament • Qualified majority • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. the new terms for the legislative instruments provided for in the Constitution. health (incentive measures). economic and social cohesion actions (outside the Structural Funds). Under the European Constitution. and with the European Commission. trans-European networks (guidelines). In addition it has been extended to new areas such as social exclusion. this procedure will be extended so that it becomes the “ordinary legislative procedure”. Thus. right of establishment. It will apply to the adoption of “European laws” and “European framework laws”. consumer policy. specific industrial support measures. however. The Treaty of Amsterdam has simplified the codecision procedure. whereas the Western European Union (WEU) has simply been ticking over for nearly 30 years. For some provisions of the Treaty. the co-legislators.05. Seven provisions for which the IGC planned to apply qualified majority voting are thus also subject to codecision. in parallel with and as a supplement to the extension of qualified majority voting in the Council. the statute for European political parties and measures relating to visas.

• management committees: where the measures adopted by the Commission are not consistent with the committee's opinion. adopted on 13 July 1987. in Parliament's opinion. where appropriate.organisation to have established an automatic collective defence obligation. The development of a European security and defence identity in no way affects the principle that NATO continues to form the basis of Europe's collective defence. They enable the Commission to establish a dialogue with national administrations before adopting implementing measures. This latest Decision ensures that Parliament can keep an eye on the implementation of legislative instruments adopted under the codecision procedure. This procedure is used in particular for measures relating to the management of 22 . in particular. each legislative instrument specifies the scope of the implementing powers granted to the Commission and how the Commission is to use them. Parliament's new position under the codecision procedure . The Decision clarifies the criteria to be applied to the choice of committee and simplifies the operational procedures. consist of representatives from Member States and are chaired by the Commission. Frequently.2005 [Back] Comitology Under the Treaty establishing the European Community. the Commission must communicate them to the Council which can take a different decision.but also to reply to criticisms that the Community system is too complex. by the Council. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Eurocorps • EUROFOR/EUROMARFOR • European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New-look' NATO • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. Parliament can express its disapproval of measures proposed by the Commission or. The Commission ensures that they reflect as far as possible the situation in each country in question. This procedure is generally used when the matters under discussion are not very sensitive politically. The committees which are forums for discussion. the 1987 Decision has been replaced by a new Council Decision of 28 June 1999.and. the treaty will also make provision for the Commission to be assisted by a committee in accordance with a procedure known as "comitology". In order to take into account the changes in the Treaty . it is for the Commission to implement legislation at Community level. The committees can be divided into the following categories: • advisory committees: they give their opinions to the Commission which must take account of them. In practice. which. go beyond the implementing powers provided for in the legislation.05. The procedures which govern relations between the Commission and the committees are based on models set out in a Council Decision ("comitology" Decision).

and the main Community programmes. As regards eligibility for membership.05. It may also issue opinions on its own initiative. With the computerisation of decision-making procedures. the proposed measure is referred back to the Council. animals and plants and measures amending non-essential provisions of the basic legislative instruments. fisheries. the Committee has to be consulted on an even wider range of fields . in future. See: • Subsidiarity Last updated: 04. the aim is to publish the full texts of non-confidential documents transmitted to Parliament on the Internet. culture. youth. Parliament and the Commission in areas affecting local and regional interests. See: • Codecision procedure • Committees and working parties • Council of the European Union • European Commission Last updated: 04. In its absence. The Treaty of Nice (adopted in December 2000) did not change either the number or the distribution of seats by Member State in the CoR. It is consulted by the Council.the environment. the Treaty stipulates that. Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (May 1999). Several innovations in the new "comitology" Decision enhance the transparency of the committee system to the benefit of Parliament and the general public: committee documents will be more readily accessible to the citizen. such as education. It consists of 317 representatives of local and regional authorities appointed by the Council for four years. the Social Fund.2005 23 . • regulatory committees: the Commission can only adopt implementing measures if it obtains the approval by the Member States meeting within the committee.2005 [Back] Committee of the Regions Created by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The Commission finally adopts the implementing measure if the Council does not reach agreement. the common agricultural policy. With a view to enlargement. Committee documents are also registered in a public register. cross-border cooperation and transport. vocational training. The European Constitution which is in the process of being ratified envisages increasing the term of CoR members from four to five years.05. health and social and economic cohesion. the number of its members may not exceed 350. the Treaty provides explicitly that members must hold a regional or local authority electoral mandate or be politically accountable to an elected assembly. This procedure is used for measures relating to protection of the health or safety of persons. the Committee of the Regions (CoR) is an advisory body which enables regional and local authorities to voice their views during the decision-making process of the European Union.

which are made up of representatives of the milieux involved. In this case. in particular by establishing common organisations for agricultural markets and by applying the principles of single prices. There are about 60 advisory committees covering all sectors. and are generally governed by rules established by the 28 June 1999 Council decision known as the 'Comitology Decision'. are involved at all stages of the legislative process. In the European Parliament. When a legislative text has been adopted. private sector or national government experts. it lays down the general principles to be respected. though about half of them deal with agricultural issues. in the fields of industry. whose task it is to assist the Community institutions. and others are ad hoc committees such as the Cultural Affairs Committee. The Council is also assisted by committees and working parties which prepare its decisions. More precise implementing measures may be necessary to apply these principles. the environment. ensure that the Commission remains open to the concerns of those who will be affected by the legislation. prepares the Council discussions and follows up action taken. its aims are to ensure reasonable prices for Europe's consumers and fair incomes for farmers. These committees. The Commission regularly consults committees of experts before drawing up a new proposal for legislation. for example). various working parties do the preparatory work for Coreper. the text provides that a committee is to be set up within the Commission in order to take the appropriate decisions. 24 . the internal market. In parallel.2005 [Back] Common agricultural policy (CAP) The common agricultural policy is a matter reserved exclusively for the Community. which evaluates proposals on cultural cooperation. Under Article 33 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. [Back] Committees and working parties The committees. agriculture.05. about a hundred groups cover a given sector and meet regularly. consumer protection and food safety. These committees are made up of experts nominated by the Member States and chaired by the Commission. These committees are made up of representatives of the Member States plus one member of the Commission. social affairs. research and development. The existence of certain committees is provided for in the treaties (Article 36 Committee for justice and home affairs. various permanent committees organise the work of the MEPs. See: • Article 36 Committee (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Comitology • Coreper • Parliamentary committees • Political and Security Committee (PSC) Last updated: 04. financial solidarity and Community preference. While some of them are set up on a temporary basis to deal with a particular dossier. There are about 300 of them.

with compensatory premiums for inputs. streamline agricultural legislation and its application. has been introduced. Policy is decided by qualified majority vote in the Council after consultation of the European Parliament. hops. cotton and olive oil). The 1999 reform. based on Agenda 2000. it came to be increasingly costly on account of excessively high European prices in relation to world market prices. However. 25 . The June 2003 reform. See: • Agenda 2000 • Animal welfare • Common organisation of agricultural markets (COM) • Environment • Food safety • Rural development Last updated: 04. which has become the second pillar of the CAP. Under the policy a customs union has been established between the Member States of the Community. the conclusion of tariff and trade agreements with non-member countries. off-set by an increase in aid to farmers. which represents a genuine challenge. To this end a reduction in intervention prices. with uniform principles governing changes in tariff rates. • a financial discipline mechanism (ceiling placed on market support expenditure and direct aid between 2007 and 2013). • reinforcing rural development by transferring market support funds to rural development through modulation (reductions in direct payments to large farms).05. strengthen the Union's position at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations and stabilise expenditure. In 2004. reinforces the changes made in 1992 and puts the emphasis on food safety. a second series of measures was launched: reform of aid to Mediterranean products (tobacco. and by introducing a series of "flanking measures". formerly Article 113). import and export policy.2005 [Back] Common commercial policy The Community has exclusive responsibility for the common commercial policy (Article 133 of the EC Treaty. and over-production. This reform also endeavours to increase the competitiveness of Community agricultural products. Decisions are taken by qualified majority in the Council.The CAP is one of the most important Union policies (agricultural expenditure accounts for some 45% of the Community budget). comprises the following: • simplification of market support measures and direct aid by decoupling direct payments to farmers (the aid which they receive is not tied to production). environmental objectives and sustainable agriculture. At the outset the CAP enabled the Community to become self-sufficient in a very short time. The 1992 reform made it possible to remedy this situation by cutting guaranteed farm prices. etc. Objectives falling outside the scope of market policy have been grouped together under rural development. followed by a proposal for the reform of the common organisation on the market in sugar.

always be required. currently in the process of ratification. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999). Once the Constitution has been ratified. to extend the scope of the common commercial policy to international negotiations and agreements on services and intellectual property. The Treaty of Nice also amended Article 113 to allow such agreements to be concluded by qualified majority voting. acting by unanimous vote.the common strategy. The Treaty of Amsterdam also provided for qualified majority voting under certain conditions and. which remain subject to unanimity. since it was signed. The Minister will be assisted by a newly-created European External Action Service. It replaced European Political Cooperation (EPC) and provides for the eventual framing of a common defence policy which might in time lead to a common defence. exceptions concerning agreements in sectors for which responsibility is shared between the Member States and the Community. The Treaty of Nice (2001) introduced the possibility. The instruments of the CFSP will be restricted to European decisions and international agreements. the CFSP field has been developing in practice at every European Council. Unanimity will. the European Union also has a new instrument at its disposal . however. There are.2005 [Back] Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) The common foreign and security policy (CFSP) was established and is governed by Title V of the Treaty on European Union (EU). constructive (positive abstention) 26 . The objectives of this second pillar of the Union are set out in Article 11 of the EU Treaty and are to be attained through specific legal instruments (joint action. Enhanced cooperation may also be introduced in any area of the CFSP and no longer only for the implementation of a joint action or a common position. The Constitution also provides for the transfer of the power of initiative in this area from the Commission to the new Minister. common position) which have to be adopted unanimously in the Council.05. under certain conditions. however. See: • Council of the European Union • Customs union • External responsibilities of the European Community • Qualified majority • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. Unanimity will remain the rule but the bridging mechanism may be used to switch to qualified majority voting in certain areas which have no military or defence implications. This closer cooperation may not be used for matters with military or defence implications. the use of the legislative instruments under the CFSP will be excluded. of establishing closer cooperation in the CFSP field for the implementation of joint actions and common positions. The European Constitution. Such exceptions include trade in cultural and audiovisual services and trade in education services.The Treaty of Amsterdam amended Article 113 to allow the Council. See: • Abstention. provides for the creation of the post of Foreign Affairs Minister whose role will consist in conducting the CFSP.

• Common position (CFSP)
• Common strategy (CFSP)
• Coreu (CORrespondance EUropéenne)
• Declaration (CFSP)
• Joint action (CFSP)
• NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
• Pillars of the European Union
• Planning and Early Warning Unit
• Political and Security Committee (PSC)
• Single institutional framework
• Title V of the EU Treaty (CFSP)
• Western European Union (WEU)
Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Common organisation of agricultural markets (COM)
Depending on the product concerned, the common organisation of the agricultural
markets assumes one of the following forms:
• common rules on competition;
• compulsory coordination of the various national market organisations;
• a European market organisation.
The common organisations of the market are the provisions laid down at Community
level which govern the production of and trade in agricultural products in all the
Member States of the European Union. Since the introduction of the common
agricultural policy (CAP), they have gradually replaced national market organisations
in the sectors where that was necessary. The common organisations of the market
seek primarily to achieve the goals of the CAP (particularly to stabilise markets) and
to guarantee farmers a stable income.
See:
• Common agricultural policy (CAP)
Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Common position (CFSP)
The common position in the context of the common foreign and security policy
(CFSP) is designed to make cooperation more systematic and improve its
coordination. The Member States are required to comply with and uphold such
positions which have been adopted unanimously at the Council.
For reasons of simplification, the European Constitution which is in the process of
being ratified restricts CFSP instruments to European decisions and international
agreements. Once the Constitution enters into force, common positions and their
implementation will be based on European decisions (non-legislative instruments)
adopted by the Council of Ministers.
See:
• Common foreign and security policy (CFSP)
Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

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Common strategy (CFSP)
The common strategy is an instrument of the common foreign and security policy
introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Under Article 13 of the EU Treaty, the European Council defines the principles and
general guidelines for the CFSP and decides on common strategies to be implemented
by the Union in fields where the Member States have important interests in common.
In concrete terms, a common strategy sets out the aims and length of time covered and
the means to be made available by the Union and the Member States. Common
strategies are implemented by the Council, in particular by adopting joint actions and
common positions. The Council can recommend common strategies to the European
Council.
The European Constitution, now being ratified, provides for common strategies,
though they have been little used, in the form of general guidelines, including on
issues with implications for defence. Their drafting and implementation will call for
European decisions on joint actions or common positions.
See:
• Common foreign and security policy (CFSP)
• Joint action (CFSP)
• Joint position (Title VI of the EU Treaty)
Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Common transport policy
The goal of the common transport policy is to remove obstacles at the borders
between Member States so as to facilitate the free movement of persons and goods.
To that end its prime objectives are to complete the internal market for transport,
ensure sustainable development, manage funding programmes and spatial planning,
improve safety and develop international cooperation. It is also concerned with laying
down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate transport services
within a Member State.
Since the Amsterdam Treaty entered into force, decisions have been taken under the
codecision procedure, following consultation of the European Economic and Social
Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
See:
• Trans-European Networks (TEN)

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Communitisation
Communitisation means transferring a matter which, in the institutional framework of
the Union, is dealt with using the intergovernmental method (second and third pillars)
to the Community method (first pillar).
The Community method is based on the idea that the general interest of Union
citizens is best defended when the Community institutions play their full role in the
decision-making process, with due regard for the subsidiarity principle.

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Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (May 1999), questions
relating to the free movement of persons, which used to come under cooperation on
justice and home affairs (third pillar), have been "communitised". After a five-year
transitional phase, therefore, they will be dealt with under the Community method.
The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for the merger of the
three existing pillars but retains certain specific procedures for the common foreign
and security policy, including the defence policy. This will make it possible to
communitise most of the matters currently handled by the intergovernmental method.
See:
• Area of freedom, security and justice
• Common foreign and security policy (CFSP)
• Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty)
• Community and intergovernmental methods
• Justice and home affairs (JHA)
• Pillars of the European Union

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Community acquis
The Community acquis is the body of common rights and obligations which bind all
the Member States together within the European Union. It is constantly evolving and
comprises:
• the content, principles and political objectives of the Treaties;
• the legislation adopted in application of the treaties and the case law of the
Court of Justice;
• the declarations and resolutions adopted by the Union;
• measures relating to the common foreign and security policy;
• measures relating to justice and home affairs;
• international agreements concluded by the Community and those
concluded by the Member States between themselves in the field of the
Union's activities.
Thus the Community acquis comprises not only Community law in the strict sense,
but also all acts adopted under the second and third pillars of the European Union and
the common objectives laid down in the Treaties. The Union has committed itself to
maintaining the Community acquis in its entirety and developing it further. Applicant
countries have to accept the Community acquis before they can join the Union.
Derogations from the acquis are granted only in exceptional circumstances and are
limited in scope. To integrate into the European Union, applicant countries will have
to transpose the acquis into their national legislation and implement it from the
moment of their accession.
See:
• Applicant countries
• Enlargement
• Incorporation of the Community acquis
• Pillars of the European Union
• Single institutional framework

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See: • Community law • Court of Justice of the European Communities • Governance • Monitoring the application of Community law • Pillars of the European Union • Qualified majority • Right of initiative • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. which is in the process of ratification. • the Court of Justice plays only a minor role. • widespread use of qualified majority voting in the Council. Community provisions may apply to areas relating to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. It contrasts with the intergovernmental method of operation used in the second and third pillars. • the Council generally acts unanimously. Last updated: 04. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999). required unanimity in the Council and ratification by each Member State in accordance with its national constitutional requirements. any decision to bring such matters within the Community framework must be taken by the Council unanimously and ratified by each Member State. This procedure. • the European Parliament has a purely consultative role. • uniform interpretation of Community law by the Court of Justice. It proceeds from an integration logic with due respect for the subsidiarity principle. The European Constitution.05.2005 [Back] Community and intergovernmental methods The Community method is the expression used for the institutional operating mode set up in the first pillar of the European Union. known as the "bridge". • an active role for the European Parliament. extends the bridging mechanism by allowing a future change to qualified-majority voting on the basis of a unanimous decision of the European Council. which proceeds from an intergovernmental logic of cooperation and has the following salient features: • the Commission's right of initiative is shared with the Member States or confined to specific areas of activity. which fall under Title VI of the Treaty. 30 .05. As in the past.2005 [Back] Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty) The Treaty of Maastricht introduced the possibility of bringing some provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters under the Community framework. and has the following salient features: • Commission monopoly of the right of initiative.

• recommendations and opinions: these are non-binding. Community law consists of the founding Treaties (primary legislation) and the provisions of instruments enacted by the Community institutions by virtue of them (secondary legislation – regulations. • decisions: these are fully binding on those to whom they are addressed. They are: • regulations: these are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.).2005 [Back] Community law Strictly speaking. etc.05. directives. See: • Area of freedom. • directives: these bind the Member States as to the results to be achieved. Once the European Constitution has been adopted. with the exception of decisions with military or defence implications. they have to be transposed into the national legal framework and thus leave a margin for manoeuvre as to the form and means of implementation.Two specific "bridges" are envisaged: one for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Primary Community law will consist of the Constitution and its Protocols – including the Charter of Fundamental Rights. All these rules of law form part of what is known as the Community acquis. Community law encompasses all the rules of the Community legal order. which is incorporated in it – and the Euratom Treaty. security and justice • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Communitisation • Justice and home affairs (JHA) Last updated: 04. it will replace the current set of founding Treaties. declaratory instruments. law flowing from the Community's external relations and supplementary law contained in conventions and similar agreements concluded between the Member States to give effect to Treaty provisions. including general principles of law. and the other for the multiannual financial framework. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for a simpler typology of Community instruments: 31 .2005 [Back] Community legal instruments The term Community legal instruments refers to the instruments available to the Community institutions to carry out their tasks under the Treaty establishing the European Community with due respect for the subsidiarity principle. In a broader sense. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • Community acquis • Community legal instruments • Monitoring the application of Community law Last updated: 04.05. the case law of the Court of Justice.

• non-legislative instruments: regulations and decisions. 32 . • Shared powers: matters where the Union acts because its action contributes substantial value added to the action undertaken by the Member States. • sui generis documents: conclusions of the European Council. the environment. • non-mandatory instruments: opinions and recommendations. transport. Article 308 allows the Council. The European Union is thus able to act only within the framework of the Treaties. social and territorial cohesion. consumer protection. agriculture. They are to be adopted by the current codecision procedure.05. negotiation of international agreements). to take the measures it considers necessary. energy and the area of freedom. economic. monetary policy and the common commercial policy. A decision is now defined as a non-legislative act. This category particularly concerns the customs union.• legislative instruments: European laws and framework laws. • Implicit powers: where the European Community has explicit powers in a particular area (e. which will become the ordinary legislative procedure in the Constitution. There are three types of powers. binding in its entirety. It also establishes a classification of Union powers in the following categories: • Exclusive powers: the highly specific matters where the Union acts alone on behalf of all its Member States.g. According to the Constitution. acting unanimously.g. it also has powers in the same field with regard to external relations (e. A decision which specifies those to whom it is addressed shall be binding only on them. • Subsidiary powers: where the Community has no explicit or implicit powers to achieve a Treaty objective concerning the single market. which depend on the mode of attribution: • Explicit powers: these are clearly defined in the Treaties. Council guidelines and European Council strategic guidelines. security and justice. These include the internal market. fisheries. a regulation is a non-legislative act of general application for the implementation of legislative acts and of certain provisions of the Constitution. See: • Hierarchy of Community acts (hierarchy of norms) • Pillars of the European Union • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. The Constitutional Treaty clearly specifies the areas in which the Member States have transferred their powers of action to the Union. These correspond to the existing regulations (laws) and directives (framework laws).2005 [Back] Community powers Community powers are those which are conferred on the European Union in specific areas by the Member States. One of the main innovations in the European Constitution currently being ratified is that it clarifies the powers of the Union. the competition rules needed for the operation of the internal market. transport).

industry. since it has to ensure that: • the quest for perfect competition on the internal market does not make European businesses less competitive on the world market. • preventive supervision of mergers with a European dimension. the European Union has introduced new rules set out in Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 on the implementation of antitrust rules. social subsidies. however. • supervision of aid granted by the Member States. • liberalisation of certain sectors where public or private enterprises have hitherto evolved monopolistically. restrict or distort competition within the internal market. The European Union's competition policy (Articles 81 to 89 of the EC Treaty) is based on five main principles: • the prohibition of concerted practices. youth. The first two principles may. be subject to derogations. or subsidies to promote culture and conservation of heritage. such as telecommunications. which threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods. So that it is better equipped to rise to these challenges.2005 [Back] Competition The rules on competition are intended to ensure that a European economic area based on market forces can function effectively. these two Regulations constitute a fundamental reform.• Supporting. • efforts to liberalise do not threaten the maintenance of public services meeting basic needs.05. In terms of cartels and 33 . This concerns matters such as the protection and improvement of human health. sport and vocational training. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Delimitation of competences • Subsidiarity • Subsidiary powers Last updated: 04. one of the key aspects of which is that national authorities and courts are now involved in implementing competition law. In the case of State aid schemes. education. or through State resources in whatever form whatsoever. by approving or prohibiting the envisaged alliances. The difficulty of pursuing an effective competition policy lies in the fact that the Union must continually juggle aims that are sometimes contradictory. transport or energy. and Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on merger control. culture. agreements and associations between undertakings which may affect trade between Member States and prevent. While ensuring that competition rules are uniformly applied. particularly when an agreement between undertakings improves the production or distribution of products or promotes technical progress. tourisms. are also examples of possible exceptions to the strict application of competition rules. • the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position within the internal market. coordinating or complementary powers: the Union acts here only to coordinate or complement the action undertaken by the Member States. in so far as it may affect trade between Member States.

abuse of dominant positions, the reform is rounded off by the adoption of a series of
documents making up the “Modernisation Package”.
The Constitution, which is currently being ratified, explicitly gives the Commission,
following authorisation by the Council, the possibility of adopting regulations
granting exemption from competition rules which apply to undertakings and rules on
State aid. Until now this has been based on secondary legislation.
See:
• Competitiveness
• Concentration
• Services of general economic interest
• State aid
Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Competitiveness
The European Commission's 1994 White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and
Employment contains guidelines for a policy of global competitiveness. The policy
encompasses four objectives which have lost none of their topicality today:
• helping European firms to adapt to the new globalised and interdependent
competitive situation;
• exploiting the competitive advantages associated with the gradual shift to a
knowledge-based economy;
• promoting a sustainable development of industry;
• reducing the time-lag between the pace of change in supply and the
corresponding adjustments in demand.
The new title on employment incorporated in the EC Treaty by the Treaty of
Amsterdam takes account of the objectives set in the White Paper.
In March 2000, the Lisbon European Council launched a new strategy to make the EU
the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world by 2010. The aim of this
strategy is to bring economic, social and environmental renewal to the EU while
having regard to sustainable development and social cohesion. Each year at the spring
European Council, the Member States assess the progress made on the Lisbon
strategy and decide what future priorities are necessary to achieve the set objectives.
See:
• Employment
• Enterprise policy
• Globalisation of the economy
• Sustainable development

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Composition of the European Commission
From the outset the Commission was always made up of two nationals of each of the
most populated Member States and one national of each of the others. However, the
composition of the Commission in an enlarged Europe was a central issue in all the
debates.

34

It was a key issue, since it involved deciding on the optimum number of
Commissioners needed to guarantee the legitimacy, collective responsibility and
efficiency of an institution whose purpose is to represent the general interest in
complete independence. The concept of collective responsibility was crucial.
Collective responsibility is specific to the Commission structure and means that
positions adopted by the Commission reflect the views of the Commission as a whole,
not those of individual members. With the prospect of future enlargements, it was
feared that a large increase in the number of Commissioners would lead to
nationalisation of their function to the detriment of collective responsibility.
Conversely, should the number be limited, the fear was that some nationalities would
not be represented within the Commission as such.
The Treaty of Nice, a product of the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference, offered a
provisional solution to this question by limiting the number of members to one
Commissioner per Member State as from the date on which the 2004–09 Commission
took up its duties. The European Commission is therefore currently made up of 25
Commissioners with the former Prime Minister of Portugal, José Manuel Barroso, as
President.
The future composition of the Commission was one of the most sensitive topics
during the negotiations on the European Constitution. In the end the Constitution,
which is currently being ratified, provides for the composition of the Commission to
be reduced to two thirds of the number of Member States as from 2014. The
Commissioners will be chosen by a rotation system in which all Member States have
equal rights.
See:
• Enlargement
• European Commission
• President of the European Commission
• Weighting of votes in the Council

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Concentration
A concentration is the result of a merger between two or more previously independent
enterprises, but may also be the result of the takeover of an enterprise by another
enterprise acting alone (sole control) or by two or more enterprises acting jointly
(joint control).
Under European competition law, concentrations with a Community dimension (i.e.
exceeding the turnover thresholds laid down in Council Regulation (EC)
No 139/2004) are subject to a control procedure which gives the Commission the
power to assess their compatibility with the internal market and, where appropriate, to
prohibit them.
With a view to determining the compatibility of a concentration with the internal
market, the Commission takes account on a case-by-case basis of several factors, such
as the concepts of "Community dimension", "dominant position", "effective
competition" and "relevant market".
The concept of “dominant position” is the substantive test used to analyse
concentrations. According to this, one or more companies are said to hold a dominant
position if they have the economic power to influence the parameters of competition,

35

especially prices, production, product quality, distribution and innovation, and to
noticeably limit competition. The substantive test makes it possible to check that there
is enough competition to ensure consumers have a reasonable amount of choice.
Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations, which entered into
force on 1 May 2004, radically reforms the reference regulatory framework whilst
keeping the concept of “dominant position” as the substantive test.
See:
• Competition
• Enterprise policy

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Concentric circles
This concept involves a Europe structured out of subsets of states which have
achieved different levels of integration. It is not confined just to the integration
structure of the European Union, and the idea has been expanded upon by a number of
prominent figures. Some of them talk of "the circle of shared law" (the Union's
Member States), the "adjacent circle" (the countries outside the Union waiting to join
it) and "more select circles" for the purpose of greater cooperation (the currency
circle, the defence circle and so on).
See:
• Closer cooperation

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Conciliation Committee
Under the codecision procedure between Council and Parliament, a Conciliation
Committee may be set up as provided for in Article 251(4) of the EU Treaty. It
comprises the members of the Council or their representatives and an equal number of
representatives of Parliament. Any disagreement between the two institutions on the
outcome of a codecision procedure is referred to the Committee. The aim is to reach
agreement on a text acceptable to both sides. The Commission also assists the
Conciliation Committee, encouraging the European Parliament and the Council to
reach a joint text.
The draft of any joint text must then be adopted within six weeks by qualified
majority in the Council and by an absolute majority of the members of Parliament.
Should one of the two institutions reject the proposal, it is deemed not to have been
adopted.
See:
• Council of the European Union
• European Parliament
• Codecision procedure

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

36

There are still two stages to the procedure. The current Commission. The Council. after individual hearings by the appropriate Parliamentary committees. which entered into force on 1 February 2003. introducing a confirmation procedure.05. after the entire body has been approved by Parliament. The procedure is in two stages. Finally. Their nominee is then approved by the European Parliament. acting by qualified majority and by common accord with the nominee for President. but the role of the European Council has been enhanced. the first relating to the President. which the President will consult before approving the names proposed. See: • Composition of the European Commission • European Commission • European Parliament • President of the European Commission • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. and is finally appointed by the representatives of Member State governments meeting in the Council. • horizontal: the new instrument incorporates several parallel basic instruments . by common accord.and amendments thereto . Responsibility for nominating the President now rests with the European Council. which will took office in November 2004. was appointed under this procedure.formal/official Formal or official consolidation of legislation involves adopting a new legal instrument. The list is drawn up in accordance with the proposals made by the Member States.Confirmation of the European Commission The Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam completely overhauled the procedure for appointing the Commission. To begin with the governments of the Member States.relating to the same matter into a single instrument. The Member States nominate the other persons they intend to appoint as Members. The entire Commission is then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. the second to the Commission as a whole. in consultation with the President-designate. acting by qualified majority and after approval by Parliament. nominate the person they intend to appoint as President of the Commission.2005 [Back] Consolidation of legislation . See: 37 . introduced further changes to the procedure for appointing the Commission. published in the Official Journal (L series). then adopts the list of the other persons it intends to appoint as Members of the Commission. which incorporates and repeals the instruments being consolidated (basic instrument + amending instrument(s)) without altering their substance. the President and the Members of the Commission are appointed by the Council. The Treaty of Nice. acting by qualified majority. It can be: • vertical: the new instrument incorporates the basic instrument and instruments amending it into a single instrument.

The procedure will be applicable to Council laws and framework laws adopted after consulting (obtaining the opinion of) the European Parliament.05. In addition. especially recommendations and opinions issued by the Council and the Commission.2005 [Back] Consultation procedure The consultation procedure enables the European Parliament to give its opinion on a proposal from the Commission. can. • Simplification of legislation Last updated: 04. it is not bound by the Parliament's position but only by the obligation to consult it. The incorporation of subsequent amendments into the body of a basic act does not entail the adoption of a new instrument. the Council must consult the European Parliament before voting on the Commission proposal and take its views into account. in so far as it can only hope that the Commission takes its amendments into account in an amended proposal.2005 [Back] 38 . this consultation procedure is used for the adoption of non-mandatory instruments.05. However. The European Constitution. which has no formal legal effect. See: • Assent procedure • Codecision procedure • Community legal instruments • Cooperation procedure • Council of the European Union • European Commission • European Parliament Last updated: 04. Apart from the cases laid down by the Treaties. currently being ratified. The resulting text. the Council has also undertaken to consult Parliament on most important questions.05. In the cases laid down by the Treaty. It is simply a clarification exercise conducted by the Commission. Parliament must be consulted again if the Council deviates too far from the initial proposal.2005 [Back] Consolidation of legislation . will bring the consultation procedure under the heading of “special legislative procedures”. The powers of Parliament are fairly limited under this procedure. The consultation is optional. be published in the Official Journal (C Series) without citations or recitals.informal/declaratory There is a special procedure for unofficial. See: • Simplification of legislation Last updated: 04. purely declaratory consolidation of legislation and simplification of legal instruments. where appropriate.

A Member State may keep or introduce stricter consumer protection measures than those laid down by the Community. envisages abolishing the third pillar and gradually replacing the existing Convention with European laws and framework laws. Based on the new Article 34 of the EU Treaty. It is intended to promote consumers' health.05.Consumer protection Consumer protection is dealt with in Article 153 of the EC Treaty. as long as they are compatible with the Treaty and the Commission is notified of them. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. it stipulates that specific action supporting and supplementing the policy pursued by the Member States is to be adopted under the codecision procedure. After being ratified by at least half the Member States. Article 153 explicitly refers to another legal basis for the attainment of its objectives. This made provision for various specific instruments. safety. which requires the codecision procedure for all measures involving closer alignment of Member States' legislation on completion of the single market where consumer protection is concerned.2005 [Back] Convention (Title VI of the EU Treaty) Cooperation on justice and home affairs (Title VI of the EU Treaty) was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. and their right to information. a convention is adopted by unanimous decision of the Council after consulting the European Parliament and then ratified by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures. after consultation of the Economic and Social Committee. a convention enters into force in those States. See: • Codecision procedure • Food safety • Genetically modified organisms (GMO) • Precautionary Principle Last updated: 04. At the same time. economic and legal interests. See: • Court of Justice of the European Communities • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Last updated: 04. which was inserted by the Treaty of Maastricht.2005 [Back] 39 . namely to Article 95. which is in the process of being ratified. conventions may only be used for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and they are now governed by new rules. The European Constitution.05. including conventions.

The criteria are: • the ratio of government deficit to gross domestic product must not exceed 3%. it 40 . Parliament examines this common position at second reading. are meant to ensure that economic development within EMU is balanced and does not give rise to any tensions between the Member States. the Treaty of Amsterdam then reversed the trend by encouraging the codecision procedure (Article 251 of the EC Treaty).2005 [Back] Cooperation procedure The cooperation procedure (Article 252 of the EC Treaty) was introduced by the Single European Act (1986). • there must be a sustainable degree of price stability and an average inflation rate. • the normal fluctuation margins provided for by the exchange-rate mechanism must be respected without severe tensions for at least the last two years before the examination. which is forwarded to Parliament together with all the necessary information and the reasons which led the Council to adopt this common position. and within three months may adopt. In the latter two cases. The Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) draw up reports to check whether the criteria are being met. In the context of a first reading. observed over a period of one year before the examination. acting by a qualified majority. then.05. A stability pact with this end in view was adopted at the Amsterdam European Council in June 1997. The convergence criteria. the scope of this procedure was considerably extended by the Treaty of Maastricht. The cooperation procedure is always initiated by a proposal from the Commission forwarded to the Council and the European Parliament. Parliament issues an opinion on the Commission proposal. Initially. amend or reject the common position. See: • Economic and Monetary Union • Stability and Growth Pact Last updated: 04. It must also be remembered that the criteria relating to government deficit and government debt must continue to be met after the start of the third stage of EMU (1 January 1999). the Treaty sets five convergence criteria which must be met by each Member State before it can take part in the third stage of EMU and hence before it can adopt the euro. The Council. It gave the European Parliament greater influence in the legislative process by allowing it two "readings". then draws up a common position.Convergence criteria To ensure that the sustainable convergence required for the achievement of economic and monetary union (EMU) comes about. which does not exceed by more than one and a half percentage points that of the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability. • there must be a long-term nominal interest rate which does not exceed by more than two percentage points that of the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability. • the ratio of government debt to gross domestic product must not exceed 60%. The cooperation procedure will therefore now apply exclusively to the field of economic and monetary union.

consisting of the Deputy Permanent Representatives. thereby blocking the legislative procedure. and • Coreper II. consisting of the Permanent Representatives themselves. the work of the expert groups). in which it is at one and the same time a forum for dialogue (among the Permanent Representatives and between them and their respective national capitals) and a body which exercises political control (by laying down guidelines for. It occupies a pivotal position in the Community decision-making system. amend it unanimously or adopt the amendments not taken into consideration by the Commission. the Council may adopt the re-examined proposal by qualified majority.2005 [Back] 41 .05.2005 [Back] Coreper Coreper.must do so by an absolute majority of its members. See: • Assent procedure • Codecision procedure • Consultation procedure • Council of the European Union • Economic and Monetary Union • European Commission • European Parliament Last updated: 04. The European Constitution. within one month. consists of the Member States' Ambassadors to the European Union (“Permanent Representatives”) and is responsible. The Commission then re-examines. which is in the process of being ratified. also unanimously. for assisting the Council of the European Union in dealing with the items on its agenda (proposals and drafts of instruments put forward by the Commission). See: • Council of the European Union • European Commission Last updated: 04. the Council may still exercise a veto by refusing to express its opinion on the amendments proposed by the European Parliament or on the amended proposal from the Commission. at a stage involving preliminary negotiations. In the cooperation procedure. at its discretion it can include or exclude the amendments proposed by Parliament. envisages abolishing this procedure and replacing it either by an ordinary legislative procedure (codecision procedure) or by non-legislative acts of the Council. and supervising. the French acronym by which the Permanent Representatives Committee is known. the proposal upon which the Council based its common position and forwards its proposal to the Council. • Coreper I. Within three months.05. unanimity is required for the Council to act on a second reading. The smooth running of the Council is dependent on the standard of the work done in Coreper. If it rejects the proposal.

The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for new arrangements for the Council Presidency. social policy. environment. The Council meets in different configurations. Depending on the subject.COREU (CORespondance EUropéenne) Coreu is an EU communication network between the Member States and the Commission for cooperation in the fields of foreign policy.05. economic and financial affairs. It is also the lead institution for decision-making on the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). The Council's headquarters are in Brussels. single market. where it meets several times a month (in certain months. Decisions are prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member States (Coreper). employment. See: • Committees and working parties • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Coreper • High Representative for the CFSP (Mr/Ms CFSP) • Presidency of the Union (rotation of the Presidency) • Qualified majority 42 . The Council. Each Member State in turn presides over the Council for six months. health and consumers.2005 [Back] Council of the European Union The Council of the European Union (the “Council of Ministers” or the “Council”) is the Union's main decision-making institution. Each State will hold the Presidency for a period of six months. the Council takes decisions by simple majority. together with the European Parliament. etc. acting on a proposal from the European Commission. assisted by the other two States on the basis of a common programme. It makes it easier for decisions to be taken swiftly in emergencies. by a team of three Member States. qualified majority or unanimously. employment. transport. a new post created by the Constitution. the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. however. the meetings are held in Luxembourg). In most cases. The Presidency of the different configurations will be held. and on the coordination of economic policies (intergovernmental approach). health. for 18 months. it acts by a qualified majority (agriculture. competition. the Council. In addition. bringing together the Member States’ ministers responsible for the areas concerned: general affairs and external relations. In most cases. etc. assisted by working parties of national government officials. the Constitution has radically changed the qualified majority voting system in the Council. Lastly. It is composed of the ministers of the Member States and thus constitutes the EU institution in which the governments of the Member States are represented.). See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) Last updated: 04. acts in a legislative and budgetary capacity. decides jointly with the European Parliament under the co-decision procedure.

based on a right of initiative shared between the Court of Justice and the Commission. See: • Court of Justice of the European Communities Last updated: 04. which will have at least one judge per Member State. which is in the process of ratification. Finally. It may sit in chambers. as a Grand Chamber (thirteen judges) or as a Full Court. with the exception of those assigned to a judicial panel and those reserved for the Court of Justice. the term "Court of Justice of the European Communities" will officially designate the two levels of jurisdiction taken together: the supreme body. of judicial panels to examine at first instance certain types of actions in specific matters to relieve the burden on the CFI. The ECJ has two principal functions: • to check whether instruments of the European institutions and of governments are compatible with the Treaties. the Treaty of Nice also aimed to improve the distribution of responsibilities between the Court and the CFI.). To ease the workload of the Court of Justice. The Treaty of Nice introduced greater flexibility for adapting the CFI's statute. The CFI is currently made up of twenty-five judges appointed by common accord of the Governments of the Member States to hold office for a renewable term of six years.2005 [Back] Court of Justice of the European Communities The Court of Justice is composed of the same number of judges as there are Member States. changes the official name of the Court of First Instance to the “General Court”. which can henceforth be amended by the Council acting unanimously at the request of the Court or of the Commission. now called the "Court of Justice" and the “General Court”. In the future. At present it has twenty-five judges assisted by eight advocates-general who are appointed for six years by agreement among the Member States. The Constitution also provides that specialised courts may be attached to the General Court. • Right of initiative • Troïka • Unanimity Last updated: 04. etc. allowing the Court of Justice of the European Communities to concentrate on its basic task of ensuring the uniform interpretation and application of Community law. damages. The Treaty also provides for the creation.05.05. the Nice Treaty provides for the possibility of conferring on the Court of First Instance the right to deliver preliminary rulings in certain specific areas. failure to act. A President is elected from among the judges.2005 [Back] Court of First Instance of the European Communities (CFI) The CFI was set up in 1989 to strengthen the protection of individuals' interests by introducing a second tier of judicial authority. making the CFI the ordinary court for all direct actions (appeals against a decision. 43 . The European Constitution.

it was not until 1991 that culture was officially given a place in European integration. • approval of the Court's Rules of Procedure by the Council is now done by qualified majority. As far as the Court of Justice is concerned. • artistic. the Commission supported cultural cooperation via three experimental programmes in this sector covering the performing. To create a real European cultural area. The Court is assisted by the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (CFI). relieving the latter of some of its workload. if necessary. acting unanimously at the request of the Court or the Commission. which can now be amended by the Council. The Constitution will also make it easier for citizens and companies to take legal action against Union regulations even if they are not personally affected by them. • a new Article 229a of the EC Treaty enables the Court to be awarded jurisdiction in disputes relating to Community industrial property rights.2005 [Back] Culture Whilst the will to conduct cultural activities at European level was apparent as early as the 1970s. through Article 151 of the Maastricht Treaty. while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore". which will include the Court of Justice of the European Communities. at the request of a national court. heritage and books (Kaléïdoscope. literary and audiovisual creation. For ten years. will introduce a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). • non-commercial cultural exchanges. The European Community has also 44 . • the conservation of cultural heritage of European significance. to support and complement their activities in the following areas: • the dissemination of the culture and history of the European peoples. the most important points are the following: • greater flexibility to adapt the statute of the Court of Justice.• to give rulings. which is currently being ratified. which was set up in 1989. plastic and visual arts. Ariane and Raphaël). which states that "The Community shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States. the CFI (which will be called the "General Court") and specialised courts.05. See: • Court of First Instance of the European Communities (CFI) Last updated: 04. The European Constitution. • a better division of powers between the CFI and the Court. the Union is called upon to promote cooperation between the Member States and. by unanimous decision by the Council and after ratification by the national parliaments. • cooperation with third countries and the competent international organisations. on the interpretation or the validity of provisions contained in Community law. The Treaty of Nice instigated a major reform of the Union's court system.

as were customs formalities.supported the Member States' initiative to designate a 'European City of Culture' each year since 1985. new forms of cultural expression and the socio-economic role of culture. Cultural cooperation in Europe is also promoted by specific activities funded by other European programmes than Culture 2000. signed with the African. the creation and dissemination of culture and the mobility of artists and their works. for example the Lomé Convention. as most of the programmes are open to the member countries of the European Economic Area and the candidate countries. With the entry into force of the single market in 1993. VAT and statistical data. The Community has concluded special agreements to facilitate trade. • the common commercial policy as an external dimension of the customs union (the Community speaks with one voice at international level). Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP). the Commission adopted the Culture 2000 framework programme. vocational training and youth • Subsidiarity Last updated: 04. See: 45 . all routine checks at internal borders were abolished.2005 [Back] Customs union The customs union is the essential element of the internal market. • the introduction of a common customs tariff (CCT). training and regional development aid policies that also promote cultural cooperation. applicable throughout the European Community to third country goods (the income obtained as a result forming part of the Community's own resources). and to encourage development by providing preferential access to European markets. Its introduction was the primary objective after the signature of the Treaty of Rome and continued until 1968. education. research. In 2000.05. the customs services of the Member States lost their responsibility for collecting excise duties. See: • Audiovisual • Education. Future challenges include promoting closer cooperation between the national administrations and combating fraud through the successive Customs 2002 and Customs 2007 programmes. and third countries and international organisations are also involved. Thus. European cultural heritage. for example the agreement with the European Economic Area (EEA). a new approach to cultural action. The most important measures included: • the elimination of all customs duties and restrictions among the Member States. Common procedures and rules were drawn up together with a Single Administrative Document (SAD) aimed at replacing the different documents previously used. This cooperation in interpreted broadly. The aim of this programme is to create a common cultural area by promoting cultural dialogue. in particular activities performed in the context of economic. A particular focus of Customs 2007 will be helping new Member States adapt their systems to open market conditions and implement customs controls at the new external borders of the European Union.

with some compromises. It was encouraged by the Commission. See: • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • European Convention • Laeken Declaration • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. 46 . on the draft European Constitution prepared by the Convention.2005 [Back] Decision and framework decision (Title VI of the EU Treaty) With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. as well as a wide range of public opinion. Framework decisions are used to approximate (align) the laws and regulations of the Member States.05. called for the initiation of a broad debate associating all the interested parties: the representatives of the national parliaments. so as to gather together as many opinions as possible on the key issues relating to the future of Europe. these new instruments under Title VI of the EU Treaty (Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) have replaced joint action. The Convention’s work was concluded on 10 July 2003 after an agreement was reached on the draft European Constitution. • Common commercial policy • Own resources Last updated: 04. in both the Member States and the candidate countries.05. universities and representatives of civil society. The exchanges which took place in the context of this debate were conducted in parallel with the work of the preparatory Convention for the IGC 2004. To this end. and at national level. annexed to the Treaty of Nice. which hoped the debate would be held both at European level. On 18 June 2004 the heads of state or government meeting as an IGC agreed. with national debates on the future of the Union that involve a wide range of citizens. political and commercial organisations. the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC 2000) called for a broader and deeper debate on the future of the European Union. This debate on the future of the Union continued until mid-2003. the Nice Declaration. Proposals are made on the initiative of the Commission or a Member State and they have to be adopted unanimously.e. with contributions and discussion forums involving personalities from the Community.2005 [Back] D Debate on the future of the European Union Having given the green light to enlargement. They are binding on the Member States as to the result to be achieved but leave the choice of form and methods to the national authorities. i. More binding and more authoritative. they should serve to make action under the reorganised third pillar more effective. via discussions and the Internet.

Through the customs union.2005 [Back] Deepening Deepening refers to the integration dynamic present from the outset of the European venture. See: • Enlargement Last updated: 04. acting by a qualified majority.Decisions are used for any purpose other than approximating the laws and regulations of the Member States. the European Communities have grown into what aspires to be an "ever closer union" among the peoples of Europe (Article 1 of the EU Treaty). With the abolition of the third pillar. and then the Euro zone.2005 [Back] Delimitation of competences The delimitation of competences between the European Union and its Member States is one of the main points for consideration identified by the Declaration on the Future of the Union annexed to the Treaty of Nice and by the Laeken Declaration. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • European political cooperation (EPC) Last updated: 04.05. In this spirit it has been decided to reform the main Community policies (common agricultural policy and structural policy) and the workings of the institutions to create a favourable context for new Member States to join the European Union. Deepening is a process parallel to.2005 [Back] Declaration (CFSP) The Declaration is an instrument for which there is no provision in Title V of the Treaty on European Union but which was a feature of European political cooperation (EPC). It is not a mandatory instrument and is still frequently used under the CFSP. the decisions and framework decisions currently in use will disappear and be replaced by European laws and framework laws. See: • Area of freedom. security and justice • European arrest warrant • Joint action (Justice and home affairs) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04. enlargement. the internal market. The aim is 47 .05. They are binding and any measures required to implement them at Union level are adopted by the Council. and often viewed as a necessary step prior to.05. which is provided for by the European Constitution currently being ratified.

The aim is to better identify what comes under Community. The system for monitoring compliance with this delimitation must also be stepped up.2005 [Back] Democratic deficit The democratic deficit is a concept invoked principally in the argument that the European Union and its various bodies suffer from a lack of democracy and seem inaccessible to the ordinary citizen because their method of operating is so complex.05. respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality whilst meeting. Following the Nice European Council (December 2000). a broad public debate on the future of the Union started. In the meantime. The European Constitution. as far as possible. the question of democratic legitimacy has become increasingly sensitive. At every stage of the European integration process. shared powers. One of the main innovations in the European Constitution currently being ratified is that it clarifies the delimitation of powers between the Union and the Member States. coordinating or complementary powers. represents decisive progress towards a more democratic Europe. and supporting. the expectations of European citizens. and a European Convention was asked to examine various ways of improving democratic legitimacy. currently being ratified. in which citizens could take part. two wider initiatives designed to bring Europe closer to its citizens have been launched. It boosts the Union’s democratic legitimacy by means of the following: 48 . The Convention eventually came up with a draft European Constitution that was adopted in a compromise form by the Heads of State or Government in June 2004. The Constitutional Treaty also establishes a classification of Union powers in three categories – exclusive powers. See: • Community powers • Debate on the future of the European Union • European Convention • External responsibilities of the European Community • Laeken Declaration • Subsidiarity • Subsidiary powers • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. The Maastricht. regional or even local competence.to establish a clear and precise distribution of the Union's competences. Amsterdam and Nice Treaties have triggered the inclusion of the principle of democratic legitimacy within the institutional system by reinforcing the powers of Parliament with regard to the appointment and control of the Commission and successively extending the scope of the codecision procedure. The view is that the Community institutional set-up is dominated by an institution combining legislative and government powers (the Council of the European Union) and an institution that lacks democratic legitimacy (the European Commission).

• stronger democratic participation with the possibility for members of the public. • clearer allocation of powers to the Union and its Member States.2005 [Back] Development aid The beginnings of the European Community's development policy coincided with the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. However. rule of law. cooperation has gradually extended to other countries. human rights. In addition to these initial agreements. • new obligations for the European institutions as regards consulting civil society. See: • Debate on the future of the European Union • European Convention • European Parliament • Governance • Institutional balance • Confirmation of the European Commission • National parliaments • Clarity of the Treaties (simplification of the Treaties) • Subsidiarity • Transparency (access to documents) Last updated: 04. the Constitutional Treaty – and of procedures to make them easier for the public to understand. offering direct involvement in the legislative process). The Cotonou Agreement. non- discrimination etc. signed in June 2000. equal rights with the Council in the budgetary procedure). • stronger powers for the European Parliament (generalised use of the codecision procedure. Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) which have a particularly close and long- standing relationship with certain Member States. This policy is implemented not only through bilateral and regional 49 .• simplification of the Treaties – they are recast in a single instrument. to call on the Commission to propose a law (legislative petition). if they can assemble more than a million signatures in a significant number of Member States. • affirmation for the first time of the democratic foundations for the Union (pluralism.05.) and stronger protection for fundamental rights with the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution. other countries also benefit from the Community's development policy. it is only since the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union that this policy has enjoyed a specific legal basis (Articles 177 to 181 of the EC Treaty). solidarity. liberty. which is to a large extent based on the various Lomé Conventions. transparency and access to documents. justice. • closer involvement of the national parliaments in the decision-making process (early-warning mechanism regarding compliance with the subsidiarity principle. With the successive enlargements of the Union. the first of which was signed in 1975. has strengthened this partnership. and the Member States' overseas countries and territories were its first beneficiaries. and as between the Union institutions. such as the countries of Latin America and Asia. such as the African. The main objective of the European Community's development policy is to eradicate poverty.

See: • Composition of the European Commission • Enlargement • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Qualified majority • Reinforced qualified majority • Unanimity • Weighting of votes in the Council Last updated: 04. the Member States with the highest populations wanted to see a reweighting or double majority system which would ensure that a majority in the Council represented a majority not only of Member States but also of the population of the Union.2005 [Back] Double majority In the light of enlargement. See: • Humanitarian aid Last updated: 04. While the reweighting of votes works in favour of the large Member States. and education. If this condition is not fulfilled.agreements but also through specific programmes in certain sectors such as health. the Union is the main partner of developing countries. The development policy also entails cooperation with international institutions and the participation of the Community and Member States in initiatives implemented at global level such as the Initiative for Highly Indebted Poor Countries. This is combined with a system known as the "demographic safety net" which means that each Member State can request verification of whether the qualified majority represents at least 62% of the population of the Union.2005 [Back] 50 . Maintaining the present system of weighting of votes in the Council after enlargement could produce a qualified majority representing only a minority of the population of the European Union.05. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for a new qualified majority system to enter into force from 1 November 2009. the decision cannot be adopted. redefines the qualified majority in terms of a double or even triple majority. involving a majority both of the Member States and of the population. Today. The European Community and its Member States together provide 55% of international development assistance. solutions have been put forward for maintaining the current balance between "large" and "small" countries in decision-making in the Council of Ministers. particularly with a view to combating communicable diseases. The Treaty of Nice 2001. the qualified majority must also be a majority of the Member States. These new rules entered into force on 1 November 2004. For this reason. which set out to reform the operation of the Community institutions in the run-up to enlargement.05. The qualified majority will be secured where there is a majority of 55% of the Member States (minimum 15) representing at least 65% of the Union’s population.

The ten new Member States who joined the Union on 1 May 2004 must adopt the euro as soon as they meet the criteria. which is in the process of ratification. gradually replacing the old national currencies ("legacy" currencies). EMU was achieved in three stages: • First stage (1 July 1990 to 31 December 1993): free movement of capital between Member States. of the European Central Bank (ECB). closer coordination of economic policies and closer cooperation between central banks. which does not at present meet all of the criteria regarding the independence of its central bank.2005 [Back] 51 . the euro. followed by the introduction of euro notes and coins on 1 January 2002. both of which benefit from an opt-out clause. The challenges facing the long-term success of EMU are continued budgetary consolidation and closer coordination of Member States' economic policies.05. They were not granted an opt-out clause. • Second stage (1 January 1994 to 31 December 1998): convergence of the economic and monetary policies of the Member States (to ensure stability of prices and sound public finances) and the establishment of the European Monetary Institute (EMI) and. • Third stage (from 1 January 1999): irrevocable fixing of exchange rates and introduction of the single currency on the foreign-exchange markets and for electronic payments. It was the subject of an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). The future European Constitution. The third stage of EMU was launched on 1 January 1999. At that time. sees this as a means of achieving closer coordination between Member States in the euro area. On 28 February 2002 the transitional stage of dual circulation of the legacy currencies and the euro came to an end.E Economic and Monetary Union Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is the name given to the process of harmonising the economic and monetary policies of the Member States of the Union with a view to the introduction of a single currency. in 1998. eleven Member States adopted the euro as the single currency. Some Member States have not adopted the single currency: the United Kingdom and Denmark. On 1 January 2002 euro notes and coins were introduced in the Member States. which concluded its deliberations in Maastricht in December 1991. and Sweden. and they were joined two years later by Greece. The euro is now the sole currency for more than 300 million Europeans. See: • Convergence criteria • European Central Bank (ECB) • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Stability and Growth Pact Last updated: 04.

economic and social cohesion proper was made an objective alongside completing the single market. The Union's average per capita GDP has fallen by 13% and regional disparities have doubled. Every three years the European Commission presents a report on progress made in achieving economic and social cohesion and on how Community policies have contributed to it. At European level. the origins of economic and social cohesion go back to the Treaty of Rome (1957) where a reference is made in the preamble to reducing regional disparities. See: • Agenda 2000 • Committee of the Regions • Enlargement • European Investment Bank (EIB) 52 . Subsequently these measures proved inadequate given the situation in the Community. The aim is balanced development throughout the EU. largely because of the financial implications. If ratified. Finally. Community action was taken to coordinate the national instruments and provide additional financial resources. contrary to forecasts. Enlargement to 25 Member States has meant an entirely new order. Economic and social cohesion is essentially implemented through the regional policy of the European Union. principally through the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund. urban areas. which is in the process of being ratified. The European Constitution. incorporated the policy into the EC Treaty itself (Articles 158 to 162). With the adoption of the Single European Act in 1986. Structural assistance also remains necessary in geographical areas facing specific structural problems (areas undergoing industrial restructuring. reducing structural disparities between regions and promoting equal opportunities for all. had failed to even out the differences between regions.Economic. areas dependent on fishing. rural areas. the centre of gravity of regional policy is shifting eastwards. with an allocation of €213 billion for the period 2000-06. After 2006 economic and social cohesion will have to concentrate more on crucial development concerns while continuing to support regions which have not completed the process of convergence in real terms. It is in fact the European Union's second largest budget item. In the 1970s. simplification and decentralisation of the management of regional policy financial instruments (Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund) will be the watchwords of the next reform. the Committee of the Regions will be more involved in monitoring compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. finally. where the establishment of the internal market. Besides the reform of the common agricultural policy and enlargement to the Central and East European countries. it will definitively sanction the territorial dimension of regional policy and also reinforce the role of the local authorities. Since 60% of the regions whose development is lagging behind are in the new Member States. provides for the objective of territorial cohesion to be added to the concept of economic and social cohesion. and areas suffering from natural or demographic handicaps). regional policy was one of the major issues discussed in Agenda 2000. In practical terms this is achieved by means of a variety of financing operations. Furthermore. its population by 20% and its wealth by only 5%. The Maastricht Treaty (1992). The surface area of the European Union has increased by 23%. social and territorial cohesion Economic and social cohesion is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union.

In addition to these guidelines.05. the EC Treaty lays down other economic policy provisions in Title VII. monitor economic developments and the application of the broad economic policy guidelines. • prohibition of privileged access: it is prohibited to grant public bodies. the Commission’s role will be enhanced in the excessive- deficit procedure. the Council. including: • multilateral surveillance: the Member States. The EC Treaty also lays down the institutional provisions applicable to the European Central Bank and the transitional provisions necessary for the implementation of the various stages of EMU. 2 and 3 • Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund • Sustainable development • Trans-European Networks (TEN) • Subsidiarity Last updated: 04. • prohibition against assuming the commitments of other Member States: the Community or the Member States may not assume the commitments of other Member States. under certain conditions.2005 [Back] Economic policy Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) implies close coordination of national economic policies. to grant it financial assistance. they may issue recommendations to the government of a Member State which is failing to comply with the guidelines. formulates draft guidelines that are sent to the European Council. Finally. the Council. In addition. gives Member States belonging to the euro area greater autonomy to settle certain issues amongst themselves. • Objectives 1. The European Constitution. acting by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the Commission. See: • Convergence criteria 53 . the Constitution will simplify the existing texts significantly. which is now in the process of ratification. again acting by qualified majority. • the excessive-deficit procedure: the Member States must avoid excessive government deficits. meeting within the Council. • financial assistance: when a Member State is experiencing severe difficulties. authorities or undertakings privileged access to finance. In practical terms. These annual broad guidelines are the central element of coordination for the Union's economic policies. the Council is able. which have thus become a matter of common concern. and it is up to the Commission to ensure that this principle is complied with. In the light of the latter's conclusions. adopts a recommendation setting out the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPG) of the of the Member States and the Community and informs the European Parliament (Article 99 of the EC Treaty).

on lifelong learning or quality assessment of school and university education). which promotes access to vocational training by improving national vocational training systems and encouraging innovation and lifelong learning. schools (Comenius programme). through the European Voluntary Service (EVS). • Community legal acts encouraging policy cooperation between Member States. it does have at its disposal a number of specific tools to encourage cooperation in this field: • Community action programmes adopted under the European codecision procedure (Council and Parliament). the provision of information in the field of education (Eurydice) and the exchange of experience between decision-makers in the field of education (Arion). vocational training and youth The principle of subsidiarity means that each Member State assumes full responsibility for the organisation of its education and vocational training systems and the content of teaching. and language learning (Lingua programme) and promotes the development of networks with a view to the recognition of qualifications (Naric network).g. In line with these articles. pilot projects. ranging from financial support for Erasmus Mundus masters courses to granting scholarships. which facilitates the mobility of less-privileged young people outside education structures and enables them. namely: ... encouraging mobility and promoting cooperation among European schools and universities. which encourages student mobility and cooperation between universities (Erasmus programme)... However. working documents. such as recommendations. especially with a view to developing the European dimension in education. • Council of the European Union • Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) • Employment • European Central Bank (ECB) • European Commission • European Council • European Parliament • Monetary policy • Qualified majority • Stability and Growth Pact Last updated: 04.ERASMUS MUNDUS aims to enhance the quality of higher education in Europe through a number of initiatives.2005 [Back] Education. communications (e. etc. if necessary. the Union therefore does not intend to develop a common education policy. In accordance with Articles 149 and 150 of the EC Treaty. 54 .SOCRATES. to participate in projects run by associations or local authorities in Europe or developing countries. the Community's role is to contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and.05. by supporting and supplementing their action.LEONARDO DA VINCI.YOUTH.

the European Council of Sevilla adopted the eEurope 2005 action plan which follows up eEurope 2002. The communication that was subsequently adopted under the title "eEurope . which develops academic and technical activities in support of the development of vocational training in Europe. encourage the creation of institutional capacities. secure Internet.05. and open up education and vocational training systems to the world. the Commission adopted the eEurope 2002 action plan in May 2000 which was approved by the European Council of Feira in June 2000. the Commission has stepped up policy cooperation in the field of lifelong learning in order to improve the quality of education and vocational training systems. promote human and financial investment and stimulate the use of the Internet. and the European Training Foundation (ETF). In June 2002. The key objectives of the initiative are: • bringing every citizen. facilitate universal access to education and vocational training. forms part of what is known as the Lisbon strategy which sets the objective for the European Union to become the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy by 2010. The eEurope action plan was supplemented in June 2001 by the eEurope+ action plan in the candidate countries. every business and administration. • two bodies supporting Union activities in the field of vocational training: the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP). The main actions were intended to stimulate a cheaper. Helping the active population to adapt continuously to technological change is one of the main tools in the fight against unemployment and in building a genuine Europe of knowledge. faster. See: • European Union agencies • eEurope • Equal treatment for men and women • Employment • Subsidiarity Last updated: 04. which supports and coordinates the reform of vocational training systems as part of PHARE. home and school. • creating a digitally literate Europe. TACIS and MEDA. supported by an entrepreneurial culture open to information technology. 55 . network security and better use of information technology by public bodies ("eGovernment"). To achieve the goal set by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 (to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world). improve global competitiveness and strengthen social cohesion.An Information Society for All". The new action plan is basically focused on the deployment of broadband access at competitive prices. • ensuring that the information society is socially inclusive. In order to achieve these aims.2005 [Back] eEurope The eEurope initiative was launched by the European Commission in December 1999 and approved by the European Council of Lisbon (March 2000). intended to accelerate reform and modernisation of the economies of the candidate countries. into the digital age and online.

An advisory employment committee.05. employment has been a competence complementing that of the Member States. to encourage women to enter the labour market. stating that the Union will work for balanced economic growth aiming at full employment. • the possibility for the Council. with the aim of creating a European Employment Strategy. created following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. to promote entrepreneurship. to promote lifelong learning.2005 [Back] Employment Promoting a high level of employment has been enshrined as one of the European Union's objectives ever since the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force.05.2005 [Back] 56 . and to tackle the problem of undeclared work. See: • Competitiveness • Employment Committee • European Employment Strategy (EES) Last updated: 04. established several priorities: to reduce the unemployment rate. to encourage people who have reached retirement age to stay on in employment. monitoring of their implementation in the Member States and recommendations communicated to the Member States).See: • Information Society • Telecommunications • Trans-European Networks (TEN) Last updated: 04. has taken this objective and amended it slightly. facilitates the Union’s work of promoting the coordination of national employment and labour market policies. lists employment policy as an area of shared competence and provides for: • the incorporation of the objective of achieving a high level of employment in other Community policies. To reach the target of full employment in the Union by 2010 set by the Lisbon European Council. published in January 2003. pilot projects and recommendations to Member States. The European Constitution. in the new system of competences which it has created. which is currently being ratified. to adopt incentive measures. acting by a qualified majority and according to the ordinary legislative procedure. The European Constitution. Since the Treaty of Amsterdam. in particular by the exchange of information and best practices. • coordination mechanisms to be established at Community level (adoption each year by the Council of guidelines on employment compatible with the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. the new communication on the future of the European Employment Strategy.

the underlying principles of which are still based on the Euratom Treaty and on a number of provisions contained in the "internal market" and "environment" chapters. low-cost energy supplies which pose no risk to the health of citizens and the environment. and since a Council Decision of January 2000. the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It is made up of two representatives of each Member State and two representatives of the Commission. It consults the social partners at European level in order to carry out its work successfully. etc. Confronted with these new energy challenges. The Employment Committee takes over the tasks hitherto carried out by the ELMC on promoting the coordination of national employment and labour market policies.). opening up of the gas and electricity markets. the Treaties establishing the European Communities made no provision for a Community energy policy. The Committee’s main task is to assist the Council in its work on the European Employment Strategy and its instruments (Employment Guidelines. In the present energy situation. reduction of the European Union's energy dependency and nuclear safety and security guarantees. the Commission is therefore proposing to step up European support for the promotion of renewable energies (ALTENER) and energy efficiency (SAVE). Subsequent treaties did not create a specific legal basis for Community energy policy. With the new intelligent energy for Europe action programme (2003-2006). See: • Environment • Sustainable development 57 .2005 [Back] Energy The aim of European Union energy policy is to guarantee secure. redefining priorities in relation to nuclear energy taking account in particular of the risks of accidents and disposal of waste. recommendations on the implementation of national employment policies. At the outset. See: • Employment • European Employment Strategy (EES) Last updated: 04. the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). the Treaty for which expired on 31 December 2002. the Employment Committee officially replaces the Employment and Labour Market Committee (ELMC) set up in 1996.Employment Committee As provided for by the Treaty of Amsterdam. the European Union has to face up to many challenges: development of renewable energy sources. The beginning of the process of constructing Europe saw the establishment of institutional frameworks for coal and atomic energy: • in 1951.05. while redirecting international action towards these two priorities (COOPENER). as well as promoting sustainable development. The Committee also formulates opinions at the request of either the Council or the Commission or on its own initiative. the European Union has taken measures aimed in particular at guaranteeing security of supply in the face of its dependency on imports of oil from politically unstable regions. • in 1957.

Estonia. • 1986: Spain and Portugal. • 1995: Austria. It has provided a unique opportunity to bring peace. • 1981: Greece. In June 2004 the European Council officially recognised Croatia as a candidate country. The negotiations initially due to begin on 1 January 2005 are currently on hold and will remain so until there is full cooperation from Croatia with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Ireland and the United Kingdom. France. Italy. See: • Accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria) • Accession negotiations • Accession of new Member States to the European Union • Agenda 2000 58 . • Trans-European Networks (TEN) Last updated: 04. Luxembourg and the Netherlands) has expanded in the following order into a Europe of 25: • 1973: Denmark. Lithuania. Slovakia and Slovenia. the Commission concluded that Turkey satisfied the Copenhagen political criteria and recommended that accession negotiations be opened. The Commission delivered its opinion on this request in April 2004 recommending that accession negotiations be opened. • 2004: Czech Republic. Hungary. the European Union opened negotiations with them in February 2000. The original Europe of Six (Belgium. In its recommendation of 6 October 2004. Latvia. later known as the European Union.05. the December 2004 European Council has planned to open accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005. There are four candidate countries which have applied to join the Union: • Bulgaria and Romania: After officially recognising their candidate status in 1997. In June 2004 the European Council reiterated the Union’s intention to sign accession treaties with Bulgaria and Romania in 2005 paving the way for their accession in January 2007. Poland. Germany. At the European Council on 17 and 18 June 2004 the Union reaffirmed its commitment to start accession negotiations with Turkey without delay provided it complied with the Copenhagen political criteria. • The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia submitted its accession application on 22 March 2004 but has not yet obtained the official status of candidate country. Finland and Sweden. stability and prosperity to the entire European continent. • Croatia: Croatia applied for membership to the Union on 21 February 2003. Accordingly. Enlargement now refers to this last wave of accessions culminating in the simultaneous membership of ten countries to the European Union on 1 May 2004. • Turkey: Turkey submitted its application on 14 April 1987 and was officially recognised as a candidate country at the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999.2005 [Back] Enlargement Enlargement refers to the process of accession to the European Community. Cyprus. Malta.

it seeks to promote measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems (Article 174 of the EC Treaty). foster entrepreneurship (creating a better business environment for SMEs in particular). The EU can neither replace national powers nor harmonise national legislation and regulations. Policy formulation is subject to different decision-making procedures depending on the area concerned. • Applicant countries • Composition of the European Commission • Deepening • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Weighting of votes in the Council Last updated: 04. It also sets great store by the prudent and rational use of natural resources. EU action in the field of enterprise policy takes the form of supporting and coordinating Member State initiatives.05.2005 [Back] Environment The aim of the European Union's environment policy is to preserve. So to attain the objectives listed.2005 [Back] Enterprise policy The objective of enterprise policy is to make it easier to create and develop enterprises and industries within the European Union. protect and improve the quality of the environment and to protect people's health. after consulting the European Parliament. new product designs. whilst taking into account the characteristics of the different sectors.05. The focus of this policy is to help enterprises adapt to structural changes. the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. where fiscal provisions and provisions relating to town and country planning or water resources management or land use (with the exception of waste management) are involved or where a Member State's choice in the matter of energy is significantly affected (Article 175(2)). promote innovation (following up technological developments. and maintain competitiveness. See: • Competitiveness • Concentration Last updated: 04. the development of new ways of marketing products). the Council: • acts unanimously. 59 . Lastly. Enterprise policy thus plays a part in sustainable growth and job creation. It is also involved in achieving the objective set by the European Council in Lisbon on 23 and 24 March 2000 when the Heads of State and Government declared that the European Union was to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.

The text identifies them 60 . racial or ethnic origin. age or sexual orientation. Environmental policy is based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken. The Treaty of Amsterdam has enshrined the concept of "sustainable development" as one of the European Union's objectives. social. religious and linguistic diversity. religion or belief. Under this new provision. the elderly and persons with disabilities. disability. after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. See: • Codecision procedure • Consultation procedure • Food safety • Genetically modified organisms (GMO) • Kyoto Protocol • Precautionary Principle • Qualified majority • Sustainable development • Unanimity Last updated: 04. and the other is equality for men and women. for the adoption of general action programmes setting out the priority objectives to be attained. especially in the context of the internal market (Articles 2 and 6 of the EC Treaty). These stricter rules must be compatible with the Treaty and must be communicated to the Commission. It also covers the rights of the child.2005 [Back] Equal opportunities The general principle of equal opportunities contains two key elements: one is the ban on discrimination on grounds of nationality. • acts under the codecision procedure. which is closely linked to equal opportunities. particularly economic. Moreover.05. and due to be incorporated in the European Constitution. The Treaty of Amsterdam added a new provision. that environmental damage should be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay. the Council has the power to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex. thanks to its programme to combat discrimination (2001-2006). the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union includes a chapter entitled “Equality” which sets out the principles of non- discrimination. Adopted in December 2000. The Constitution explicitly adds the principles of equality and the ban on discrimination to the values on which the Union is founded. cultural and family life. equality between men and women. It is intended to apply to all fields. The provisions allowing a Member State to apply stricter rules than the harmonised rules have been made easier. which is currently being ratified. the European Union has been encouraging and complementing the activities of the Member States to combat all forms of discrimination. while environmental protection requirements have been given greater weight in other Community policies. and cultural. reinforcing the principle of non- discrimination.

and later in social security. It comprises 50 000 men and has been operational since 30 November 1995. Since 1975 a series of directives have broadened the principle to cover access to employment. It can operate as such within the WEU (Article V) or NATO (Article 5) 61 . vocational training and youth Last updated: 04. work and pay.” The Constitution adds the principle of equality between men and women to the values on which the Union is founded and identifies it as a general provision that the Union must take into account in all its actions. the Commission launched a Community strategy (2001-2005) to establish a framework of action within which all Community activities could contribute to the objective of abolishing inequalities and promoting equality between women and men.2005 [Back] Equal treatment for men and women As early as 1957. the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community enshrined the principle of equality between men and women. including employment. with Article 141 requiring that they should receive equal pay for equivalent work. covering only equal pay) by including the promotion of equality between men and women as one of the tasks of the Community set out in Article 2 of the EC Treaty. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • Equal treatment for men and women • Non-discrimination principle Last updated: 04. training and promotion. The Treaty of Amsterdam sought to supplement Article 141 (which is limited in scope. statutory schemes and occupational schemes. Three other countries have since joined it: Belgium on 25 June 1993. which took place in La Rochelle on 21 and 22 May 1992. Eurocorps forms part of the Forces Answerable to Western European Union (FAWEU). states that “Equality between men and women must be ensured in all areas. following the Pegasus-95 exercise. the aim being to eliminate all forms of discrimination at work. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In addition to the promotion of equal opportunities via multiannual programmes started in the 1980s. adopted in December 2000 and due to be incorporated in the European Constitution.05. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • Education.as general provisions that the Union must promote in the definition and implementation of its policies and actions. Spain on 10 December 1993 and Luxembourg on 7 May 1996.2005 [Back] Eurocorps Eurocorps was set up at the 59th Franco-German summit.05. which is being ratified.

2005 62 . and Article 5. The commitment of Eurocorps under the political control of the WEU was the subject of an agreement signed on 24 September 1993 and commitment under NATO authority was codified by the agreement of 21 January 1993.2005 [Back] Europe 'à la carte' This refers to the idea of a non-uniform method of integration which allows Member States to select policies as if from a menu and involve themselves fully in those policies. missions to evacuate Member State nationals and peace-restoring or peace-keeping operations. See: • Closer cooperation • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. France and Italy to set up land and sea forces (EUROFOR and EUROMARFOR). under the aegis of the United Nations or the OSCE.05. without prejudice to the Member States' collective defence position (Article V. Portugal has agreed to participate in the two forces when they are being used within the WEU context. See: • Collective defence • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New-look' NATO • Petersberg tasks • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. See: • Collective defence • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • EUROFOR/EUROMARFOR • European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New-look' NATO • Petersberg tasks • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. there would still be a minimum number of common objectives. Eurocorps has been a rapid reaction force which is at the disposal of the EU and NATO.05.and can be mobilised for humanitarian missions. These will form part of the Forces answerable to WEU (FAWEU) and should strengthen Europe's own capacity for operations under the Petersberg Declaration.05. WEU. NATO). Since June 2001.2005 [Back] EUROFOR/EUROMARFOR The Lisbon Declaration of the Western European Union on 15 May 1995 ratified the decision by Spain.

Romania and Turkey) are still in force See: • Pre-accession strategy Last updated: 04. It is based on the principle of mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters. Lithuania. Its aim is to prepare the associated state for accession to the European Union.05. providing for bilateral and multilateral consultations on any questions of common interest. cultural and financial cooperation. Cyprus. Malta and Turkey have concluded association agreements with the EU covering the same areas as the agreements with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (except political dialogue). may make recommendations to the association council. Europe agreements have been concluded with ten countries: Bulgaria. In terms of institutional arrangements. Finally. particularly on intellectual property and competition rules.2005 [Back] European arrest warrant The European arrest warrant is a judicial decision issued by a Member State with a view to the arrest and surrender by another Member State of a person being sought for a criminal prosecution or a custodial sentence. with the objective of setting up a free trade area. and their aim is to establish customs union. A Europe agreement is concluded for an indefinite period and includes a number of features: • a political aspect. and it is based on respect for human rights. made up of representatives of the Council and the Commission on the one hand and representatives of the associated state's government on the other. Estonia. To date. made up of members of the European Parliament and of the national parliament of the associated state. • a trade aspect. democracy. Since the accession of the ten new Member States on 1 May 2004. Romania. It is a tool designed to strengthen cooperation between the judicial authorities of the Member States by eliminating the use of extradition. the Czech Republic. • alignment of legislation. made up of members of the association council. The European arrest warrant is based on a Framework Decision adopted by the Council on 13 June 2002. Poland. Latvia. the general management of a Europe agreement is the responsibility of an association council. 63 . Only the agreements with the countries that have not yet joined the EU (Bulgaria. the Europe and association agreements with those countries are no longer in force. the rule of law and the market economy. a parliamentary association committee. follows up the work and prepares the discussions of the association council. An association committee. They were replaced by accession treaties. Slovakia and Slovenia. • economic. Hungary. [Back] Europe agreement A Europe agreement is a specific type of association agreement concluded between the European Union and certain Central and Eastern European states (Article 310 of the EC Treaty). This decision is applied from 1 January 2004.

On 1 January 1999 it took over responsibility for implementing European monetary policy as defined by the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). adopted in December 2000. The Commissioners are assisted by an administration made up of Directorates-General and specialised departments whose staff are divided mainly between Brussels and Luxembourg.2005 [Back] European Commission The European Commission is a politically independent collegial institution which embodies and defends the general interests of the European Union.05. See: • Convergence criteria • Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) Last updated: 04. conduct foreign-exchange operations. whose tasks are to manage the volume of money in circulation. executing the budget and managing Community programmes. Its virtually exclusive right of initiative in the field of legislation makes it the driving force of European integration. hold and manage the Member States' official foreign-exchange reserves. Any such change requires a unanimous European Council decision that must be ratified by the Member States. Since its inception the Commission has always been made up of two nationals from each of the Member States with larger populations and one national from each of the 64 . The Commission is appointed for a five-year term by the Council acting by qualified majority in agreement with the Member States. to which it is answerable. As to the practicalities. It prepares and then implements the legislative instruments adopted by the Council and the European Parliament in connection with Community policies. The Commission also has powers of implementation. did not change the composition of the ECB Governing Council (comprising the members of the Executive Board and the governors of the national central banks) but allows for changes to the rules on decision-making (decisions are generally adopted by simple majority of the members. It is subject to a vote of appointment by the European Parliament. As “guardian of the Treaties”. management and control. It is responsible for planning and implementing common policies. and promote the smooth operation of payment systems. The Treaty of Nice.05.2005 [Back] European Central Bank (ECB) The European Central Bank was inaugurated on 30 June 1998. the ECB's decision-making bodies (the Governing Council and the Executive Board) run the European System of Central Banks. security and justice • Decision and framework decision (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Last updated: 04.See: • Area of freedom. The ECB took over from the European Monetary Institute (EMI). each having one vote). it also ensures that European law is applied.

The Members will then be selected in accordance with a rotation system based on the principle of equality. The Constitution. The first meeting at ministerial level was held on 6 October 1998 in Luxembourg.05.2005 [Back] European Convention The process of setting up the European Convention began in December 2000 with a Declaration annexed to the Nice Treaty. • economic affairs and regional cooperation. 65 . provides for a Commission in which only two thirds of the Member States would be represented after 2014. particularly in eastern Europe. However. It meets once a year at the level of Heads of State or Government and the President of the Commission. and once a year at foreign minister level. particularly: • the common foreign and security policy. the Treaty of Nice limited the number of Members of the Commission to one per Member State.others. • justice and home affairs. It is chaired by the country which holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.05. the "Declaration on the Future of the Union". bringing together the Member States of the European Union with the European countries that are hoping to join. The European Conference met for the first time in London on 12 March 1998 and decided to set up a joint group of experts charged with reporting on the growing problems that organised crime poses for European societies. It was launched by the Luxembourg European Council in December 1997. taking up a French initiative presented in October 1997.2005 [Back] European Conference The European Conference was set up to provide a framework for the enlargement process over the next few years. It is a multilateral forum for political consultation on questions of general interest. which is in the process of ratification. See: • Enlargement • Fight against international organised crime • Presidency of the Union (rotation of the Presidency) Last updated: 04. See: • Composition of the European Commission • Confirmation of the European Commission • European Council • European Parliament • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Monitoring the application of Community law • President of the European Commission • Right of initiative Last updated: 04.

The inaugural meeting of the Convention was held on 28 February 2002. a Convention on institutional reform to be set up as decided at the Laeken European Council in December 2001 and an IGC to be convened in 2004. The Convention is an innovation in the history of the European Union as previous IGCs had never been preceded by a phase of debate open to all stakeholders. On18 June 2004. established a number of supervisory bodies based in Strasbourg. offering individuals the possibility of applying to the courts for the enforcement of their rights. signed in Rome under the aegis of the Council of Europe on 4 November 1950. ultimately responsible for any decision on amendments to the treaties.2005 [Back] European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) The European Convention on Human Rights. At the end of the last phase.05. the Intergovernmental Conference met at Head of State or Government level and agreed on the draft European Constitution prepared by the Convention. This document would serve as the starting point for the IGC negotiations conducted by the Heads of State and Government. These were: • a Commission responsible for advance examination of applications from States or from individuals. According to the Laeken Declaration. to which cases were referred by the Commission or by a Member State following a report by the Commission (in the case of a judicial settlement). the aim of this Convention was to examine four key questions on the future of the Union: the division of powers.This proposed continuing with institutional reform beyond what had been achieved at the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) following a three-stage procedure: launching a debate on the future of the European Union. a single constitutional text would be proposed. See: • Outcome of the European Convention • Debate on the future of the European Union • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Laeken Declaration • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. which has been ratified by all the Member States of the Union. and it concluded its work on 10 July 2003 after reaching agreement on a proposal for a European Constitution. • a European Court of Human Rights. The Convention. which created it. the role of the national parliaments and the status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. a deliberating phase and a drafting phase. 66 . established an unprecedented system of international protection for human rights. Three phases were envisaged: a listening phase. the simplification of the treaties.

It is chaired by the Member State holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union in a predetermined order. The Constitution. See: • Human rights • Charter of Fundamental Rights Last updated: 04. nevertheless provides for the European Union to have legal personality. thus enabling it to accede to the ECHR. As regards relations between the two Courts.• a Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It also provides for changes to the presidency system by establishing the function of permanent President of the European Council. which acted as the guardian of the ECHR and was called upon to secure a political settlement of a dispute where a case was not brought before the Court. The growing number of cases made it necessary to reform the supervisory arrangements established by the Convention. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for the European Council to gain full status as a European institution. 1992). while formalising the judgments of the Court of Justice on the matter. See: 67 . It meets at least twice a year and the President of the European Commission attends as a full member. the practice had been to hold European summit conferences. which will give it binding legal force. which is in the process of ratification. The supervisory bodies were thus replaced on 1 November 1998 by a single European Court of Human Rights. Its existence was given legal recognition by the Single European Act (1986).2005 [Back] European Council The European Council is the term used to describe the regular meetings of the Heads of State or Government of the European Union Member States. the practice developed by the Court of Justice of incorporating the principles of the Convention into Union law has made it possible to maintain their independence and coherence in their work. from 1961 to 1974. Before that time. However. The idea of the European Union acceding to the ECHR has often been raised.05. the Court of Justice of the European Union stated that the European Communities could not accede to the Convention because the EC Treaty did not provide any powers to lay down rules or to conclude international agreements on human rights. elected for a term of two and a half years. while official status was conferred on it by the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht. The Treaty of Amsterdam nevertheless calls for respect for the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Convention. announced at the Nice European Council on 7 December 2000. It also provides for the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It does not issue legislation. It was set up by the communiqué issued at the close of the December 1974 Paris Summit and first met in 1975. in an opinion given on 28 March 1996. Its purpose is to provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and to define its general political guidelines. The simplified structure shortened the length of procedures and enhanced the judicial character of the system.

families. workers and representatives of particular types of activity (such as farmers. consumer protection. Members are appointed by unanimous Council decision for four years and this term may be renewed. scientists and teachers. which entered into force on 2003. based in Luxembourg. See: • Budget • European Investment Bank (EIB) Last updated: 04. environment. It checks European Union revenue and expenditure for legality and regularity and ensures that financial management is sound. which must include a national from each Member State. consumer representatives. the professions. environmental movements). small businesses and industry. The Treaty of Nice (adopted in December 2000) specifies in detail the composition of the Court of Auditors. The EESC is consulted before a great many instruments concerning the internal market. and its audit responsibilities have been extended to Community funds managed by outside bodies and by the European Investment Bank.2005 [Back] European Court of Auditors The European Court of Auditors. regional development and social affairs are adopted. • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) Last updated: 04. It may also issue opinions on its own initiative. the new social affairs legislation. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (May 1999). However. as an advisory body.05. the EESC has to be consulted on an even wider range of issues (the new employment policy. The Treaty of Nice. is composed of 25 members appointed for six years by unanimous decision of the Council of the European Union after consulting the European Parliament. Under the Treaty of Amsterdam (adopted in June 1997). Also under the Treaty of Nice. public health and equal opportunities) and it may also be consulted by the European Parliament.05. craftsmen. the Court of Auditors is able to establish internal chambers to adopt certain categories of report or opinion. It consists of 317 members falling into three categories: employers. did not change the number and distribution by Member State of seats on the Committee. eligibility for membership was clarified: the EESC is to consist of "representatives of the various economic and social components of organised civil society". It was set up in 1977 and raised to full institution status by the 1992 Treaty on European Union. 68 . by the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community in 1957 to represent the interests of the various economic and social groups. education.2005 [Back] European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) The European Economic and Social Committee was set up. cooperatives. the Court of Auditors also has the power to report any irregularities to the European Parliament and the Council.

It was on the basis of these new provisions that the Luxembourg Council.05. the European Employment Strategy entered a phase of review in order to provide an initial evaluation of the effectiveness of this new approach. • Joint Employment Report: summary of the National Action Plans. Based on the results of this survey. in January 2003 the Commission adopted a communication setting out a revised EES that is better adapted to the needs of an ageing population. examination and readjustment of policies put in place by Member States to coordinate the instruments they use to tackle unemployment. To facilitate the implementation of this revised EES. also known as the “Luxembourg process”. cohesion and an inclusive labour market. held in November 1997. to be used as a basis for drawing up the following year’s Guidelines. • National Action Plans (NAPs) for employment: implementation of the common Guidelines at national level. quality and productivity at work. whose recommendations will allow Member States to achieve the objectives set. increasing women’s participation in the labour market. The Strategy is based on four components: • Employment Guidelines: common priorities for Member States’ employment policies. • Recommendations: the Council adopts country-specific recommendations by a qualified majority. drawn up by the Commission. The EES is an annual programme of planning. See: • Social dialogue • Social partners Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] European Employment Strategy (EES) Since the Treaty of Amsterdam added a new Employment Title to the Treaty establishing the European Community. five years after it was launched. See: • Competitiveness • Employment • Equal treatment for men and women Last updated: 04. launched the European Employment Strategy (EES). In 2002. the Commission set up a European Employment Taskforce in April 2003. enlargement and the increasing pace of economic change. which is in the process of being ratified. The main priorities of the new strategy are full employment. monitoring. envisages increasing the term of EESC members from four to five years.05.2005 [Back] 69 .The European Constitution. coordination of Member States’ employment policies has become a Community priority.

telecommunications. 70 . The European Constitution. The EIB Group. it is active in the Mediterranean countries and in the African. Outside the European Union the EIB supports the pre-accession strategies of the candidate countries and of the Western Balkans. The bank is supervised by the Board of Governors. It has legal personality and is financially independent. See: • Economic. social and territorial cohesion • Enlargement • Trans-European Networks (TEN) Last updated: 04. environmental and financial viability of which is guaranteed. which comprises the twenty-five Finance Ministers.2005 [Back] European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) The purpose of the European Judicial Network (EJN) in criminal matters is to facilitate mutual judicial assistance in the fight against transnational crime. the economic. was thus created with a view to boosting European economic competitiveness. energy. technical. social and territorial cohesion through the balanced development of the EU territory. Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Its task is to contribute to economic.05. It grants loans essentially from resources borrowed on capital markets. innovation and the optimal utilisation of human resources by granting SMEs medium-term loans and bank guarantees. These contact points also provide the legal or practical information necessary to help the authorities concerned to prepare an effective request for judicial cooperation. In this connection. which comprises the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF). it fosters entrepreneurship. and by financing venture capital activities. Through the Innovation 2000 initiative. It provides long- term financing for practical projects. established by Council Decision of 28 May 2001 and based on the network in criminal matters. There is also a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters. The EIB's shareholders are the 25 Member States of the European Union. The judicial network is made up of contact points designed to enable local judicial authorities and judicial authorities in the other Member States to establish direct contacts between themselves. education and training sectors were the main beneficiaries. water.European Investment Bank (EIB) Set up by the Treaty of Rome. heralds a new stage in the development of a “judicial Europe” by providing for the adoption of laws and framework laws designed to encourage support for the training of the judiciary. Between 1994 and 1999 the transport. currently being ratified. In March 2000 the Lisbon European Council called for a strengthening of support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). to which is added shareholders' equity. It also manages the financial dimension of the agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies. the European Investment Bank is the European Union's financial institution. It originates in a Joint Action adopted by the Council on 29 June 1998.

From 2009. also enhanced Parliament's role as co-legislator by extending the codecision procedure and granted Parliament a right to bring actions before the Court of Justice of the European Communities. • budgetary power: Parliament shares budgetary powers with the Council in voting on the annual budget. • power of control over the Union's institutions. And it can set up temporary committees and committees of inquiry whose remit is not necessarily confined to the activities of Community institutions but can extend to action taken by the Member States in implementing Community policies . rendering it enforceable through the President of Parliament's signature. Parliament can give or withhold approval for the designation of Commissioners and has the power to dismiss the Commission as a body by passing a motion of censure. which entered into force in 2003.2005 [Back] European Parliament The European Parliament is the assembly of the representatives of the 435 million Union citizens. in particular through the codecision procedure. Since 1979 they have been elected by direct universal suffrage and today total 732. It also exercises a power of control over the Union's activities through the written and oral questions it can put to the Commission and the Council.05.See: • Area of freedom. security and justice • Joint action (Justice and home affairs) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Last updated: 04. The Treaty of Amsterdam (in force since 1999) boosted Parliament’s powers by considerably extending the codecision procedure. The Treaty of Nice. and overseeing its implementation. in particular the Commission. distributed between Member States by reference to their population. The European Constitution currently being ratified also provides for stronger powers for Parliament as co-legislator. The codecision procedure is to be extended to new areas and Parliament is to be given equal decision-making powers in budgetary matters with the Council. The European Parliament's main functions are as follows: • legislative power: in most cases Parliament shares the legislative power with the Council. See: • Assent procedure • Codecision procedure • Confirmation of the European Commission • Consultation procedure • Cooperation procedure • Democratic deficit • Enlargement • National parliaments • Ombudsman 71 . the number of Members of the European Parliament may not exceed 750.

EPC was superseded by the common foreign and security policy. • it must have participated in elections to the European Parliament. • it must observe the principles of the European Union.2005 [Back] European political parties The Regulation on the regulations governing political parties at European level and the rules regarding their funding entered into force in 2004. or have expressed the intention to do so. Community funds must be used solely to cover expenditure related to its political programme and can in no circumstances be used to finance national political parties. national or regional Parliaments or assemblies.4 million annually) are also set: it must declare its sources of funding. See: • European Parliament • Uniform electoral procedure of the European Parliament • Rules governing Members of the European Parliament Last updated: 04. the Party of European Socialists (PSE). the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The conditions to be met for entitlement to Community funding (€8.2005 [Back] European political cooperation (EPC) European political cooperation (EPC) was introduced informally in 1970 (in response to the Davignon report) and formalised by the Single European Act with effect from 1987. or have received. It lays down conditions for recognition of a European political party. in at least one quarter of Member States. The European People’s Party (EPP). in at least one quarter of the Member States. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) Last updated: 04. generating entitlement to Community funding: • it must have legal personality in the Member State in which its seat is located.2005 [Back] 72 . • it must be represented. by Members of the European. The object is consultations between the Member States in foreign policy matters. Last updated: 04.05.05. the European Green Party (EGP) and European United Left (GUE) are just some of the parties set up in European form. The Member States have regard for the views of the European Parliament and wherever possible take common positions in international organisations. and certain sources are prohibited. at least three per cent of the votes cast in each of those Member States at the most recent European Parliament elections.05.

the Union and NATO signed a strategic partnership agreement on crisis management. to which the ministers of the Alliance subscribed at the January 1994 summit as a means of using NATO's military capacity in operations led by the Western European Union (WEU) under its political control and strategic management. the NATO Council held in Brussels in January 1994 recognised the importance of defining a specifically European identity in relation to security and defence. See: • Research and development Last updated: 04. namely to develop a genuine common research policy. The last few years have consequently served to emphasise the limitations of an alliance (NATO) which defines itself primarily in relation to an external threat.05. such as Bosnia and Herzegovina or Kosovo. In December 2002. compare results. within the framework of the permanent arrangements for EU-NATO cooperation and consultation known as "Berlin Plus". The first steps towards this were taken at the NATO Council held in Berlin on 3 June 1996 with the development of the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF). • The relative decline in the United States' European defence commitment has left a void which Europe has not succeeded in filling. Against this background. isolation of national research systems. Through this agreement. disparity of regulatory and administrative frameworks. carry out multi-disciplinary studies. This concept was launched by the Commission in 2000 with the idea of developing truly attractive opportunities for researchers. the European Union has set up its own permanent political and military structures for the political control and strategic management of crises. The European research area should thus fulfil an ambition of determining value for the European Union. Previously. the ERA should make it possible to share data. transfer and protect new scientific knowledge and gain access to centres of excellence and state-of-the-art equipment. and low levels of investment in knowledge.European Research Area (ERA) The European Research Area brings together all of the Community's resources to better coordinate research and innovation activities at the level of both the Member States and the European Union. Through the resources made available. Since then. At the same time there is a growing realisation of the need for a political entity motivated by an awareness of shared interests to face up to the new security challenges in Europe.2005 [Back] European security and defence identity The idea of developing a European defence identity has been prompted by two considerations: • For some years now Europe has been faced with the emergence of several hotbeds of instability in the eastern half of the continent. research at European level had faced numerous difficulties: fragmentation of activities. the Union will have access with immediate effect to NATO's logistical and planning 73 .

in accordance with the United Nations Charter. operational EU defence policy. This important innovation relates to humanitarian and rescue operations. although the Council retained responsibility. thus helping to maintain peace and international security. new tasks have been included in the Treaty on European Union (Title V). It updates the Petersberg tasks and inserts two clauses: a mutual defence clause and a solidarity clause in the event of terrorist attacks or natural or man-made disasters. The EU will therefore be able to use these resources to implement its own peace-keeping operations and to set up in 2003 a rapid reaction force that will eventually comprise 60 000 men. the EU Military Committee (EUMC) and EU Military Staff (EUMS) are the permanent political and military structures responsible for an autonomous. is developing in a manner that is compatible and coordinated with NATO. the European Council spoke of its willingness to improve EU capacities in the fields of conflict prevention and crisis management. In December 1999. The Political and Security Committee (PSC). peacekeeping operations and the use of combat forces in crisis management. the Helsinki European Council established the "global objective". The ESDP. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New look' NATO 74 . At the Göteborg European Council of June 2001. which does not involve the creation of a European army. the ESDP includes a “conflict prevention” component. including peacemaking operations (known as "Petersberg tasks"). These measures would allow some Member States to move faster towards the goal of a common European defence. The European Constitution. including information. It also provides for military tasks to be assigned to a group of Member States or the establishment of a “permanent structured cooperation” in the defence field. In addition to these civilian and military crisis management operations. making use of military and civilian means.05.resources. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999). See: • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New-look' NATO • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) The European Union's European security and defence policy (ESDP) includes the gradual framing of a common defence policy which might in time lead to a common defence. in other words that the Union must be able to deploy up to 60 000 persons within 60 days and for at least one year. The Maastricht Treaty (1992) was the first to include provisions on the Union’s responsibilities in terms of security and the possibility of a future common defence policy. currently being ratified. The Treaty of Nice (2001) gave the PSC charge of crisis management operations. clearly states the goal of establishing a genuine common European defence. The European security and defence policy (ESDP) aims to allow the Union to develop its civilian and military capacities for crisis management and conflict prevention at international level.

Monitoring Centres: . with its headquarters in Angers. • Petersberg tasks • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. The first agencies were set up in the 1970s but most of them started work in 1994 or 1995. which have been set up by an instrument of Community secondary legislation to carry out a specific technical.EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).05. with its headquarters in Copenhagen. office. The most recent agencies are the European Food Safety Authority (January 2002). with its headquarters in London.2005 [Back] European Union agencies These are public authorities set up under European law and enjoying legal personality. .EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). the European Maritime Safety Agency (August 2002). even though a variety of terms are used to describe them (centre. . with its headquarters in Salonika. with its headquarters in Lisbon (Portugal).EMEA (European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products).CEDEFOP (European Centre for the development of vocational training). .). .European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Dublin). Depending on their mandates and their partners or clients. . As autonomous organisations. Agencies promoting social dialogue at European level: . following the decision of the Brussels European Council (October 1993) on the siting of the headquarters of seven of them.CPVO (Community Plant Variety Office).ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency). foundation. .EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency). with its headquarters in Lisbon. with its headquarters in Parma (Italy). scientific or administrative task. etc. with its headquarters in Cologne (Germany). Agencies carrying out programmes and tasks on behalf of the European Union in their respective areas of expertise: 75 .European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Bilbao).OHIM (Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs)). . the agencies can be divided into four sub-groups based on their activities: The agencies facilitating the operation of the internal market: . with its headquarters in Alicante. The European Aviation Safety Agency (September 2002) and the European Network and Information Security Agency (March 2004). .EEA (European Environment Agency). Fifteen bodies currently meet the definition of Community agency. with its provisional headquarters in Brussels. . agency. with its headquarters in Vienna. the agencies are a heterogeneous group united by a single organisational model.EUMC (European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia).EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction). .

The plan then was to set up a new body which would provide a structure for developing police cooperation between Member States in preventing and combating serious forms of international organised crime. with its headquarters in Luxembourg. counterfeiting currency and falsification of other means of payment. The Convention establishing Europol was signed in July 1995 and entered into force on 1 October 1998. allowing it to coordinate.. trafficking in radioactive and nuclear substances. for example in the areas of drug trafficking. but its terms of reference were gradually extended to other serious crimes.ETF (European Training Foundation). Two more fundamental suggestions were also made. with its headquarters in Salonika. See: • Education. Europol took over the activities of the EDU. trafficking in stolen vehicles.CdT (Translation Centre for Bodies in the European Union). security and justice. clandestine immigration networks. The idea of a European Police Office was first raised at the Luxembourg European Council (June 1991). This initially confined its efforts to the fight against drugs. and establishing contacts with prosecutors and investigators who specialise in the fight against organised crime. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for the Office’s powers to be strengthened in cases of serious crime affecting two or more Member States.05.ERA (European Reconstruction Agency). . Europol's role was enhanced in December 2001 when its remit was extended to all forms of international crime as defined in the annex to the Europol Convention. and it began its activities in January 1994 as the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU).2005 [Back] Europol (European Police Office) Europol is referred to in Article 29 of the Treaty of Amsterdam. but only became fully operational on 1 July 1999. concerning the possibility of giving Europol genuine powers of investigation and ways of exercising democratic control over the Office. developing specialised expertise in order to help Member States in their investigations into organised crime. vocational training and youth • Fight against drugs • Fight against racism and xenophobia • Food safety Last updated: 04. It must abide by the 76 . organise and conduct investigations jointly with national authorities. Provision for the Office was made in the Treaty of Maastricht. The Constitution also provides that the European Parliament is to exercise control over Europol together with the national parliaments. The Treaty of Amsterdam conferred a number of different tasks on Europol: coordinating and implementing specific investigations conducted by the Member States' authorities. as a means of providing citizens with a high level of safety within an area of freedom. terrorism and money-laundering. with its headquarters in Turin. trafficking in human beings (including child pornography). .

Charter of Fundamental Rights and will be subject to judicial review by the Court of
Justice.
See:
• Area of freedom, security and justice
• Convention (Title VI of the EU Treaty)
• Fight against drugs
• Fight against international organised crime
• Fight against terrorism
• Justice and home affairs (JHA)
• Measures to combat money laundering
• Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

External responsibilities of the European Community
The European Community's external responsibilities are defined in accordance with
whether they are conferred on the Community or on the Member States. They are
described as "exclusive" where they are exercised entirely by the Community (e.g. the
common agricultural policy) and "mixed" where they are shared with the Member
States (e.g. the transport policy).
The distinction has been defined in Court of Justice case law and is based on the
principle of implicit responsibility, whereby external responsibility derives from the
existence of internal responsibility. The Treaty confers explicit responsibility in only
two cases: commercial policy (Article 133, formerly Article 113) and association
agreements (Article 310, formerly Article 238).
It should be pointed out that the common foreign and security policy comes under the
heading of the EU's external relations, which are governed by intergovernmental
procedures (second pillar), rather than under the external responsibilities of the
European Community.
The growth in the Community's activities (e.g. the completion of the single market),
developments in world trade and the less clear-cut case law have made the exercise of
external powers more problematic, while at the same time entailing a far-reaching
duty to cooperate and coordinate in the name of a united front in international
representation.
To enable the Community to adapt to the radical changes in the structures of the
world economy and reflect the wide responsibilities given to the World Trade
Organisation, the Treaty of Amsterdam has amended Article 133 of the EC Treaty to
allow the Council, acting unanimously, to broaden the scope of the common
commercial policy to cover international negotiations and agreements on services and
intellectual property.
See:
• Common commercial policy
• Common foreign and security policy (CFSP)
• Pillars of the European Union

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

77

F

Fight against drugs
The fight against drugs involves a wide range of activities, chief among them the fight
against addiction and illicit trafficking. The specific legal basis for European Union
action depends on the type of measure undertaken.
Preventing drug addiction comes under Article 152 of the EC Treaty (public health).
Measures taken by the Community on this basis include a new action programme for
2003-08.
Responsibility for combating illicit drug trafficking rests with the Europol Drugs Unit,
which has set up an intelligence unit to improve police and customs cooperation
between the Member States. On 1 October 1998 the Unit became part of the European
Police Office (Europol).
The Treaty of Amsterdam clearly identifies the fight against illicit drug trafficking as
one of the objectives of the new Title VI of the EU Treaty (police and judicial
cooperation in criminal matters).
A European strategy to combat illicit drugs for the period 2005-12 is currently in
preparation. The strategy approved by the European Council at the end of 2004
comprises two action plans, one for 2005-08 and the other for 2008-12.
See:
• Area of freedom, security and justice
• European Union agencies
• Europol (European Police Office)
• Justice and home affairs (JHA)
• Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Fight against fraud
The fight against fraud and corruption rests on two separate legal bases, both of which
were amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam:
• Article 29 of the EU Treaty calls for "closer cooperation between police
forces, customs authorities and other competent authorities in the Member
States, both directly and through Europol" in this area;
• Article 280 of the EC Treaty concerns activities affecting the Community's
financial interests; here, the Council and the European Parliament have the
power to adopt measures under the codecision procedure after consulting
the Court of Auditors.
A Convention on the protection of the Community's financial interests, signed on 26
July 1995, entered into force in October 2002. The aim is to ensure provision in the
criminal law of all Member States for an offence of fraud against the Community's
financial interests. The European Commission's fraud prevention task force (UCLAF)
was set up in 1988 to tackle this type of fraud. It was replaced in June 1999 by the
European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF).

78

In order to strengthen Community action on combating fraud, the Commission
proposed, in its contribution to the Nice Intergovernmental Conference (February
2000), the introduction of a legal basis in the Treaties for establishing a system of
rules on criminal-law proceedings for transnational fraud and the appointment of a
European Public Prosecutor to coordinate investigations and prevent offences
involving the Union's financial interests. This was followed by a Green Paper
(December 2001) on criminal-law protection of the financial interests of the
Community and the establishment of a European Prosecutor.
The European Constitution, which is now in the process of ratification, retains much
of the wording of Article 280 of the EC Treaty but omits the part of the article which
stated that measures to prevent and combat fraud “shall not concern the application of
national criminal law or the national administration of justice”. This change will allow
the European Union, if necessary, to take appropriate criminal-law measures to
protect its financial interests.
The Constitution also provides for the establishment by the Council of a European
Public Prosecutor’s Office from Eurojust in order to combat crimes affecting the
financial interests of the Union. The Office will be responsible for investigating,
prosecuting and bringing to judgment the perpetrators of offences of this sort and their
accomplices.
See:
• Justice and home affairs (JHA)
• OLAF (European Anti-fraud Office)
• Pillars of the European Union
• Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
Last updated: 04.05.2005
[Back]

Fight against international organised crime
The European Union has attached priority to the fight against organised crime. A plan
of action approved by the Council in April 1997 sets out a series of measures to
combat the phenomenon.
The Amsterdam Treaty includes organised crime among the priority criminal
phenomena to be combated by the EU. Article 29 of the EU Treaty states that the
Union objective of assuring the citizen a high degree of protection in an area of
freedom, security and justice is to be achieved “by preventing and combating crime,
organised or otherwise”.
Following the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the Council in March 2000
adopted “The prevention and control of organised crime: a European Union strategy
for the beginning of the new millennium”, following up the action plan of April 1997.
The European Union also adopted a joint action (21 December 1998) which defines
organised crime in the following terms: "a criminal organisation shall mean a
structured association, established over a period of time, of more than two persons,
acting in concert with a view to committing offences which are punishable by
deprivation of liberty or a detention order of a maximum of at least four years or a
more serious penalty, whether such offences are an end in themselves or a means of
obtaining material benefits and, where appropriate, of improperly influencing the
operation of public authorities".
See:
• Europol (European Police Office)
• Justice and home affairs (JHA)

79

• Measures to combat money laundering • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Last updated: 04. The European Council of December 2003 decided to develop and extend the scope of the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia to become a European Human Rights Agency. an agreement was concluded on 21 December 1998 between the Centre and the Council of Europe in order to step up cooperation between the former and the Council of Europe's Committee on racism and intolerance. training and youth. to analyse the reasons for these phenomena and to draw up proposals for presentation to the Community institutions and the Member States. age or sexual orientation. disability. In the same year the Council also adopted a Community action programme to combat discrimination (2001-06) designed to support schemes to prevent and combat discrimination based on race or ethnic origin. Moreover. Article 13 has provided a basis for combating all forms of discrimination based on sex. particularly targeting human rights abuses such as racism. Since the advent of the Amsterdam Treaty. The European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia (EMCDDA) also plays an important role. racial or ethnic origin. Article 29 of the Treaty on European Union. xenophobia and anti-Semitism.05. education. provides a legal basis for the fight against racism and xenophobia in the fields of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. It was on the basis of this Article that in June 2000 the Council adopted an important directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. the European Union has pursued its efforts to integrate the fight against racism and xenophobia into all its policies: in particular employment. Set up in Vienna in June 1997. the European Structural Funds. Entry into force of the Nice Treaty (1 February 2003) supplemented the penalty mechanism already provided for by the Amsterdam Treaty with a prevention or warning mechanism. In addition to committing itself to the implementation of Article 13. In addition. inserted by the Amsterdam Treaty.2005 [Back] Fight against racism and xenophobia The first key measure in the fight against racism was the resolution adopted by the Council and the representatives of the Member States in July 1996. declaring 1997 to be the “European Year against Racism”. The Monitoring Centre is also responsible for setting up and coordinating a European Racism and Xenophobia Information Network (RAXEN). See: • Equal opportunities • European Union agencies • Human rights • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Non-discrimination principle • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters • Social policy 80 . religion or belief. its main task is to observe the scale of racism and xenophobia within the Union and developments in this area.

floods or explosions the effect of which is to endanger human life. Decisive progress was made with the adoption of the Framework Decision of 13 June 2002. • the European arrest warrant. See: • Area of freedom. or causing fires. In the fight against terrorism. including military resources. Last updated: 04. On 25 March 2004 the European Council adopted a declaration calling for a solidarity clause whereby all Member States are required to mobilise all their resources. or unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act. There is such a solidarity clause in the European Constitution currently being ratified. It is the product of an interinstitutional agreement between the European Parliament. It is adjusted 81 . Europol personnel. the European Union has a number of specific tools: • Europol. may seriously damage a country or an international organisation.05. security and justice • European arrest warrant • European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) • Europol (European Police Office) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Last updated: 04. A fresh impetus was given to the fight against terrorism following the train bombings in Madrid on 11 March 2004. Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States. or seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental political structures of a country or an international organisation. comprising leading members of enforcement authorities in the Member States and. • joint investigation teams. in the event of a terrorist attack against one of them.2005 [Back] Fight against terrorism The Amsterdam Treaty inserted in Article 29 of the Treaty on European Union a specific reference to terrorism as a serious crime. given their nature or context. release of dangerous substances. adopted an action plan designed to step up police and judicial cooperation in the fight against terrorism.05. at an extraordinary meeting on 21 September 2001.2005 [Back] Financial perspective The financial perspective forms the framework for Community expenditure over a period of several years. the European Council. which defines terrorist offences as intentional acts such as kidnapping or hostage taking. the Council and the Commission and indicates the maximum volume and the composition of the foreseeable Community expenditure. • Eurojust. if required. • a common list of people whose assets must be confiscated. Also included in this definition are acts which. were committed with the aim of seriously intimidating a population.

Negotiations are currently under way for the 2007-13 financial perspective. integrated approach. • the 2000-06 financial perspective. there is a “bridging” clause which gives the European Council the option of deciding unanimously to change over to majority voting. consumer protection and the internal market. It is a horizontal objective to be taken into account in several areas of Community competence: the CAP and its rural development pillar. animal health measures.2005 [Back] Food safety The European Union has made food safety one of the main priorities of its policy agenda. the environment. However. social and territorial cohesion • Enlargement • Phare • Pre-accession strategy Last updated: 04. The European Constitution. It heralds the development of a legal framework covering the entire food chain . However. To date. the first in 1988. 82 . • risk analysis as the cornerstone of food safety policy. The White Paper also stresses the need to launch an ongoing dialogue with consumers in order to inform and educate them. This framework will be adopted unanimously by the Council following approval by the European Parliament. which marks an important step in the recasting of European legislation in this area. This approach sees food safety as covering animal feed and animal health.annually by the Commission to take account of prices and the development of Community GNP. It places a ceiling on annual expenditure in the Union’s major spheres of activity for a period of at least five years. always remaining within the limits of the Union’s own resources. public health. incorporates the financial perspective for the first time in a Treaty under the name of the “multiannual financial framework”. the second in 1992 and the third in 1999: • the 1988-92 financial perspective (Delors I package). In response to the food scares of the 1990s (BSE. However.05. plant health checks. and the preparation and hygiene of foodstuffs. three interinstitutional agreements of this type have been concluded. animal protection and welfare. in January 2000 the European Commission published a White Paper on food safety. This multiannual financial framework is intended to ensure that expenditure develops in an orderly fashion."from farm to fork" . foot-and-mouth disease). Adopted in February 2002. • the 1993-99 financial perspective (Delors II package). veterinary checks. See: • Agenda 2000 • Economic. which is in the process of ratification. it should be noted that the financial perspective is not a multiannual budget since the annual budgetary procedure remains essential to determine the actual amount of expenditure and the breakdown between the different budget headings. the Regulation forming the basis of the new food safety legislation defines six fundamental general principles: • an affirmation of the integrated nature of the food chain.using a global. • a clear dividing-line between the analysis and management of risks.

• the traceability of products at every stage of the food chain. • the citizen's right to clear and accurate information. Following a five-year transition period after the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam: • the Commission has sole right of initiative. to collect and analyse data on any potential or emerging risks and to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the public. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been set up. Italy.2005 [Back] Free movement of persons (visas. GMOs). wrote a new Title IV into the EC Treaty. • judicial cooperation in civil matters. The Brussels European Council held in December 2003 established the EFSA's headquarters in Parma. In particular. asylum.05. qualified-majority voting applies from the entry into force of the Treaty of Nice in the fields of asylum and refugees (on condition that Community legislation has been adopted) and of judicial cooperation in civil matters with a cross-border dimension. immigration and safeguarding the rights of third-country nationals. It covers the following fields: • free movement of persons. qualified-majority voting has applied since 1 May 2004 to measures 83 . These fields used to come under Title VI of the EU Treaty (Justice and home affairs). after consulting the European Parliament. the transition to qualified-majority voting and to the codecision procedure is automatic (without a unanimous vote by the Council) for the issuing of visas and the rules concerning the uniform visa. except for aspects involving family law. but now the Treaty of Amsterdam has "communitised" them. • controls on external borders. immigration and other policies) The Treaty of Amsterdam. on the application of qualified-majority voting and the codecision procedure. in force since 1 May 1999. • asylum. • however. Second. brought them under the legal framework of the first pillar. The Treaty of Nice has extended the scope of this automatic transition from unanimous to qualified-majority voting. Its main tasks are to provide independent scientific opinions on food safety issues. in other words.• the responsibility of operators in the sector. See: • Animal welfare • Common agricultural policy (CAP) • Consumer protection • Environment • European Union agencies • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) • Precautionary Principle • Public health • Rural development Last updated: 04. First. it issues scientific opinions on certain foodstuffs or ingredients (additives. • the Council will be able to decide unanimously.

compulsory education. in which it sets out the approach taken by the European Union to promoting the development of quality general-interest services. security and justice) and services of general economic interest (e.concerning the free movement of nationals of non-member countries on the territory of the Member States for a maximum period of three months. energy and communications).g. social protection). visas. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for policies on border controls. • regarding immigration.g. used in the conclusion of the Tampere European Council (1999) but not in the Amsterdam or Nice Treaties. and administrative cooperation on the free movement of persons. the fair treatment of third-country nationals. illegal immigration. They include non-market services (e. it confirms the abolition of border checks within the European Union and calls for the integrated management of borders. the Constitution provides for a common policy to ensure the efficient management of migratory flows. asylum and immigration to become common policies.05. it incorporates the concept of a common European asylum system. In May 2004 the Commission went on to issue a White Paper on services of general interest. The codecision procedure should apply. security and justice • Communitisation • Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Opting out • Pillars of the European Union • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04. • regarding asylum.2005 [Back] G General-interest services "General-interest services" are services considered to be in the general interest by the public authorities and accordingly subjected to specific public-service obligations. in defining their general-interest objectives and the way they are organised. except for measures to be taken in the event of a massive influx of third-country nationals. respect for the powers of the Member States regarding the geographical delimitation of their borders in accordance with international law. It presents the elements of a 84 . simplification of rules governing short-stay visas and residence permits. financed and evaluated. Article 86 of the Treaty (former Article 90) does not apply to the first two categories (non-market services and state obligations). obligations of the State (e. preventing and combating illegal immigration and trafficking in people. This opened a debate on the role of the European Union in promoting the supply of general-interest services. In May 2003 the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on services of general-interest in Europe.g. It establishes the principles to be followed in each of them: • regarding borders and visas. See: • Area of freedom.

the Commission once again authorised GMOs in May 2004. There has been Community legislation on GMOs since 1998. identifying and quantifying the presence of GMOs in foodstuffs. The new Member States have national monitoring laboratories belonging to the European network of reference laboratories for GMOs.05. It has also adopted measures to implement the provisions on transboundary movements of GMOs laid down in the Cartagena Protocol on bio-security. In September 2004.strategy to ensure that all citizens and firms in the Union have access to quality general-interest services at affordable prices. EU action is designed to protect human health and the environment while following the rules of the single market. The term refers to a process of growing economic integration worldwide. This network assists the JRC in detecting. dissemination. The Union has legislated on the use. The Commission has decided to develop its sectoral approach without issuing a general directive for the moment.2005 [Back] Globalisation of the economy The phenomenon of economic globalisation was identified by the Turin European Council as one of the major challenges facing the European Union at the end of the 20th century. marketing and traceability of GMOs both in food intended for both human consumption and in animal feed. The reference laboratory for GMO assessment is the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). In order to be placed on the market.05.2005 [Back] Genetically modified organisms (GMO) GMOs are organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered not by reproduction and/or natural recombination but by the introduction of a modified gene or a gene from another variety or species. the Commission also authorised the marketing and growing of GMO seeds for the first time by registering 17 other varieties of maize in the Common EU Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species. See: • Consumer protection • Environment • Food safety • Sustainable development Last updated: 04. GMOs must first undergo a very strict assessment process. After a five-year moratorium. and the main driving forces behind it are: 85 . See: • Public service • Public service charter • Services of general economic interest • Universal service Last updated: 04. They must then be clearly labelled in line with the latest labelling requirements which include product traceability.

translating the conclusions of the debate into practical proposals for Community action.2005 [Back] Green Paper Commission Green Papers are documents intended to stimulate debate and launch a process of consultation at European level on a particular topic (such as social policy. • deregulation. This governance should lie in the framing and implementation of better and more consistent policies associating civil society organisations and the European institutions. 86 . make it more effective. The aim is to adopt new forms of governance that bring the Union closer to European citizens. blame technological progress for enabling businesses and individuals to find a way round national regulations more easily.2005 [Back] Governance The debate on European governance. It also entails improving the quality of European legislation.05. See: • Community and intergovernmental methods • Debate on the future of the European Union • Democratic deficit • European Convention • Institutional balance • Laeken Declaration • Simplification of legislation • Treaty of Nice • Transparency (access to documents) • Transparency of Council proceedings Last updated: 04. Last updated: 04. reinforce democracy in Europe and consolidate the legitimacy of the institutions. telecommunications). Moreover. making it clearer and more effective. however. launched by the Commission in its White Paper of July 2001. the European Union must contribute to the debate on world governance and play an important role in improving the operation of international institutions. deregulation stimulates the development of new forms of technology and contributes to removing barriers to trade.05. procedures and practices affecting how powers are exercised within the European Union. concerns all the rules. the single currency. The Union must reform itself in order to fill the democratic deficit of its institutions. • accelerating technological progress and the advent of the information society. • the liberalisation of international trade and capital movements. These consultations may then lead to the publication of a White Paper. These three factors accentuate each other: technological progress stimulates international trade and worldwide patterns of trade allow for more effective dissemination of technological progress. Some observers. At the same time.

which are themselves subject to less flexible procedures (for example. The underlying idea was to avoid an over-rigorous procedure being applied to certain acts of secondary importance and thereby prevent the legislative machinery becoming congested.See: • European Commission • White Paper Last updated: 04. It establishes three categories of instrument. See: • Closer cooperation • Schengen (Agreement and Convention) Last updated: 04. the codecision procedure) than implementing instruments (for instance.05.05. The main purpose of such a hierarchy would be to enable the lawmaking authority to concentrate on policy aspects of particular issues rather than on questions of detail. In 1991. governed by different decision-making procedures: • Legislative instruments – European laws and framework laws • Non-legislative instruments – European regulations and decisions 87 . This concept has to be seen in the wider context of flexibility. and assent) than legislative instruments. but failed to overcome the problems posed by the different national legal traditions. the Commission proposed introducing a hierarchy of norms and a new system for classifying Community instruments (treaties.2005 [Back] Hierarchy of Community acts (hierarchy of norms) A declaration annexed to the Treaty on European Union states that it might be possible to review the classification of Community acts with a view to establishing an appropriate hierarchy between the different categories of act. reinforced qualified majority. during the negotiations on the Treaty of Maastricht. It would dictate the shape of the Community decision-making process by ensuring that instruments of constitutional status were subject to more restrictive procedures (such as adoption by unanimous vote. the institutionalised delegation of powers to the Commission). laws. secondary or implementing acts).2005 [Back] H Hard core This refers to a small group of countries able and willing to enter into closer cooperation with one another. The subject was addressed in 1990 in the early discussions on the possibility of incorporating the codecision procedure into the Treaty. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for simplification of this hierarchy of norms. which should see differentiated integration enshrined in the institutional framework of the Union to prevent hard cores from forming outside this framework (as was the case with the Schengen area).

See: • Assent procedure • Codecision procedure • Community legal instruments • Consultation procedure • Cooperation procedure • European Convention • Qualified majority • Reinforced qualified majority • Unanimity Last updated: 04. preparing and implementing policy decisions by the Council.• Non-mandatory instruments – opinions and recommendations The Constitution also provides for general use of the codecision procedure. This post merges the duties of the High Representative for the CFSP and the Commissioner for External Relations. The holder of the post is also known as "Mr/Ms CFSP". The European Constitution. provides for the High Representative to be replaced by a minister for foreign affairs.05. Responsibility for running the Council's General Secretariat rests with the Deputy Secretary-General.2005 [Back] Human rights The case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union recognises the principles laid down in the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). on the Council's behalf and at the request of the Presidency. The post is held by the Secretary-General of the Council. The High Representative also helps in formulating.05. whose task is to assist the presidency of the Union in matters relating to the common foreign and security policy. which would become the ordinary legislative procedure for adopting European laws and framework laws. signed at Rome on 4 November 1950. now being ratified. The High Representative aims to allow the Union to express itself with greater visibility and coherence on the international stage by giving it a more recognisable face and voice. 88 . The holder will be both a Commission vice-president and the Council’s appointed representative for the CFSP. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Council of the European Union Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] High Representative for the CFSP (Mr/Ms CFSP) A new position of High Representative for the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) was created by the Treaty of Amsterdam (adopted in 1997). He or she may conduct political dialogue with third parties.

05. which will enable it to accede to the ECHR. The Constitution. namely non- governmental organisations. The Charter contains additional rights not secured by the ECHR. which thereby acquires a specific legal basis. in particular social rights for workers.05. It is distributed by ECHO's partners. in 1992. bio-ethics and the right to sound administration. which is based on the ECHR and the shared constitutional traditions of the Member States. Therefore. See: • Development aid Last updated: 04. the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) was established. ECHO's mandate is to provide emergency assistance and relief (in the form of goods and services) to victims of natural or man-made disasters or conflicts outside the Union. The European Constitution currently being ratified incorporates the Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed at the Nice European Council in December 2000. includes a section on humanitarian aid. The humanitarian aid dimension of the European Union's external action has become very important in recent years owing to the increase in the number of crises throughout the world and the Union's willingness to take on a leading role in international humanitarian efforts.The Constitution currently being ratified provides that the European Union will have legal personality. data protection. The guarantee of respect for fundamental rights has been further strengthened by the Treaty of Amsterdam. now being ratified. At the same time. impartiality and humanity. This aid is based on the principles of non-discrimination. The issue’s importance is further underlined by the planned creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. which is aimed at providing a framework for joint contributions by young Europeans in this area. humanitarian agencies of the United Nations and other international organisations.2005 [Back] 89 . This respect for human rights was confirmed by the Member States in the preamble to the 1986 Single Act and later incorporated into Article 6 of the EU Treaty. The Union will thus have a legally mandatory catalogue of fundamental rights. a new suspension clause lays down what action is to be taken in cases where a Member State seriously and persistently breaches the principles on which the Union is founded. which has extended the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice to cover respect for the rights deriving from Article 6 with regard to action by the Union institutions.2005 [Back] Humanitarian aid The European Union as a whole (the Commission and the Member States) is currently one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid in the world. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) • Suspension clause Last updated: 04.

particularly in order to obtain information on Community legislation. They require the administrations and the legal systems to be strengthened. The incorporation and implementation of all Community legislation are the main challenges which the applicant countries face. In some areas. 90 .2005 [Back] Information Society The information society is synonymous with what is meant by "new information and communication technologies" (ICT).I Incorporation of the Community acquis The Essen European Council (December 1994) called on the Commission to present a White Paper on the preparation of the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe for integration into the Union's internal market. The universal use of electronic exchanges of information. Since the beginning of the 90s. the new ICT have been booming. transport.05. any such transition periods are limited in their scope and duration and subject to very strict conditions. pre-accession aid is provided to the applicant countries. However. contained an indicative programme for the alignment of the Central and Eastern European countries' legislation with that of the internal market. The White Paper. particularly on environmental questions. convergence towards digital technologies. To facilitate these considerable adjustments. the applicant countries have been granted transition periods between their accession and the time when they are capable of fully implementing the Community acquis. The accession negotiations for the applicant countries began in March 1998. It provided that these countries would establish priorities in order to incorporate the Community rules and that they would be helped in this work by a technical assistance office (TAIEX). This evaluation then constituted the basis for the second stage. energy and telecommunications. the exponential growth of the Internet and the opening up of telecommunications markets are all signs of this change. which was presented at the Cannes European Council in June 1995. See: • Accession negotiations • Applicant countries • Community acquis • Enlargement • European Conference • Pre-accession aid • Phare • Screening • TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) Last updated: 04. The first step was to evaluate each applicant country's legislation for compatibility with the Community rules (screening process). bilateral negotiations between the Union and each applicant. and the infrastructure of the applicant countries to be drastically adapted to conform to Community standards.

05. It is also providing new opportunities in terms of participation of citizens by making it easier to express opinions and points of view. the information society may contribute to the marginalisation of certain sections of society by emphasising social inequalities. See: • Codecision procedure • Council of the European Union • Democratic deficit • European Commission • European Convention 91 . since legislative power is only really shared by the two institutions in the areas covered by codecision. virtual companies). there is still an imbalance between the legislative powers of the Council and those of Parliament. This will become the ordinary procedure for the adoption of Community legislation. Moreover. The asymmetry will be partly remedied by the European Constitution currently being ratified. the European Union has placed the information society at the heart of its strategy for the 21st century. Despite the progress made by the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty of Amsterdam. However. It is the Court's responsibility to ensure that this principle is respected. these positive advances go hand-in-hand with new concerns: mass use of the Internet means that steps have to be taken against new criminal behaviour. The principle itself is not set out in so many words in the Treaties but derives from a judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Communities. work organisation and mobilisation of skills (teleworking. practical life (e-health services) and leisure. See: • eEurope • Intellectual property • Telecommunications Last updated: 04. the Council and the European Parliament is governed by the idea of the "institutional triangle". In the light of these potential benefits and threats. whose influence has increased considerably. which provides for the general use of the codecision procedure.2005 [Back] Institutional balance The principle of Community institutional balance means that each institution has to act in accordance with the powers conferred on it by the Treaties. particularly in the case of Parliament.The information society is revolutionising many areas of everyday life. Among other things it has launched a series of support and promotion actions (eEurope action plan) and adopted measures aimed at controlling and limiting the risks associated with the development of the information society such as an action plan aimed at promoting safe use of the Internet and combating unlawful and harmful messages. Their relationship and the powers conferred on them by the Treaties have changed radically over the years. The relationship between the Commission. and questions of protection of personal data and intellectual property. thus proscribing any encroachment by one institution on the powers conferred on another. pirating. e-learning related services). particularly access to training and knowledge (distance learning.

These conferences are convened. at the initiative of a Member State or the Commission. by the Council of Ministers acting by a simple majority (after consulting the European Parliament and. the Commission).05. manufacturers and service brands and protected designations of origin. Intergovernmental conferences play a major part in European integration.2005 [Back] Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) This term is used to describe negotiations between the Member States' governments with a view to amending the Treaties. This field covers cultural. on the question of industrial property. European legislation was then adapted to take account of the new challenges posed by technological progress and the information society. See: • Information Society Last updated: 04. a representative of the Commission. the Union is also working on the creation of a Community patent. • European Parliament • Governance Last updated: 04. In order to encourage innovation. rental right and lending right and certain related rights). It should be noted that the preparatory 92 . satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. designs and models. intellectual creations can constitute property which is designated "intellectual property". harmonised Community legislation was drawn up in areas where legal uncertainty was likely to dissuade holders from exploiting rights in certain territories (computer programmes and databases. A Regulation introducing a Community design was also adopted in December 2001. Community regulations have endeavoured to harmonise the conditions for the registration of trademarks and extend to holders the protection conferred by a single set of rules. • copyright and related rights which apply to all literary and artistic works. social and technological issues of great importance which have to be taken into account when drawing up a coherent policy in this area. The final decisions are taken by the heads of state and government at a European Council.2005 [Back] Intellectual property Like tangible goods. The European Parliament is closely involved throughout by means of observers and discussions with the President of the Parliament. since institutional changes must always be the outcome of such negotiations. Intellectual property traditionally covers two areas: • industrial property which mainly comprises patents. On the question of copyright and related rights. if appropriate. Measures aimed at combating counterfeiting and piracy have moreover been taken at European level. The preparatory work is entrusted to a group consisting of a representative of each of the Member States' governments and. This group regularly reports to the General Affairs Council. as a matter of custom.05. Thus.

work for the 2004 IGC took a more unusual course.included during the Santa Maria de Feira European Council of June 2000. See: • Council of the European Union • Debate on the future of the European Union • European Commission • European Convention • European Parliament • Laeken Declaration • Revision of the Treaties • Treaty of Amsterdam • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. • The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (2004).05. one on economic and monetary union (EMU) and the other on political union. Among the decisions taken at the meeting was a Council decision concerning the specific question of qualified majority voting in an enlarged 16-member Community. • The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997): this is the result of the IGC launched at the Turin European Council in March 1996. to reach a satisfactory solution that can be adopted by at least 65 votes out of 87. the possible extension of qualified majority voting in the Council and closer cooperation . The decision was later adjusted in the light of Norway's decision not to join. The most important IGCs in recent years have resulted in the following treaties: • The Single European Act (1986): this introduced the changes needed to complete the internal market on 1 January 1993. namely: the size and composition of the European Commission. instituting the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and cooperation on justice and home affairs (JHA). The task of the Conference was to revise those provisions of the Maastricht Treaty which gave rise to problems of implementation and to prepare for future enlargement. within a reasonable space of time. the Council will do all within its power. as it was entrusted to a Convention and accompanied by a wide-ranging public debate. • The Treaty of Maastricht (1992): the Treaty on European Union was negotiated at two separate IGCs.2005 [Back] Ioannina compromise The Ioannina compromise takes its name from an informal meeting of foreign ministers in the Greek city of Ioannina on 29 March 1994. • The Treaty of Nice (2001): the IGC preceding this was launched in February 2000 to address the issues not resolved by the Treaty of Amsterdam. 93 . the weighting of votes in the Council of Ministers. The resulting compromise lays down that if members of the Council representing between 23 votes (the old blocking minority threshold) and 26 votes (the new threshold) express their intention of opposing the taking of a decision by the Council by qualified majority.

restricts CFSP instruments to European decisions and international agreements.05. etc. means coordinated action by the Member States whereby all kinds of resources (human resources. For reasons of simplification. owing to the scale or effects of the envisaged action. It meant coordinated action by the Member States on behalf of the Union or within the EU framework in cases where.2005 [Back] 94 . CFSP). the Treaty of Nice puts an end to the Ioannina compromise. which is in the process of being ratified. the European Constitution. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • Title V of the EU Treaty (CFSP) Last updated: 04. know-how. See: • Council of the European Union • Qualified majority • Treaty of Nice • Weighting of votes in the Council Last updated: 04. See: • Decision and framework decision (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] J Joint action (CFSP) Joint action. the Union's objectives could be attained more effectively by joint action than by the Member States acting individually. which is a legal instrument under Title V of the Treaty on European Union (common foreign and security policy. It has been abolished by the Treaty of Amsterdam and replaced by "decisions" and "framework decisions". equipment.Following the re-weighting of votes in the Council of Ministers. joint action and the implementation of such action will therefore be based on European decisions (non- legislative instruments) adopted by the Council of Ministers.) are mobilised in order to attain specific objectives set by the Council.05. financing.05.2005 [Back] Joint action (Justice and home affairs) Joint action was a legal instrument under former Title VI of the EU Treaty that was used between 1993 to 1999. on the basis of general guidelines from the European Council. Once the Constitution enters into force.

The Treaty of Nice extends qualified majority voting to certain areas of justice and home affairs that have been brought within the Community framework. The joint position is a legal instrument enabling the Council to define the Union's approach on any specific issue. The Treaty of Amsterdam retains this instrument in the new Title VI of the EU Treaty (police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters).Joint position (Title VI of the EU Treaty) The joint position was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht under the heading of cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs. The "Schengen area". The Constitution also refers to the following principles: 95 .05. immigration and rules governing the crossing of the external borders of the Member States. The European Constitution. immigration and crossing of external borders) were brought within the Community framework .2005 [Back] Justice and home affairs (JHA) Cooperation on justice and home affairs was institutionalised under Title VI of the EU (Maastricht) Treaty (also known as the "third pillar"). such as the free movement of persons and certain aspects of judicial cooperation. • judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters. The Treaty of Amsterdam reorganised cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs and set as its objective the establishment of an area of freedom. Member States are required to give full effect. Various legal instruments were created as a means of taking action in this sphere: the joint action. both domestically and in foreign policy. The basis was laid for the development of the concept of justice and home affairs at the Tampere European Council on 15 and 16 October 1999. still require unanimity. which was formed on the initiative of some of the Member States that wished to advance even further as regards the free movement of persons. however. security and justice. to decisions adopted unanimously in meetings of the Council. the overall record of cooperation in this field has been criticised. See: • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04. which is in the process of being ratified.communitised. Third pillar issues. envisages abolishing the third pillar and gradually replacing the existing joint position with European laws and framework laws. • customs and police cooperation. Although significant progress has been made. It covered the following: • asylum. the joint position and the convention. It provides for abolishing the distinction between the three pillars and communitising the matters currently under the third pillar. was incorporated in the EU by the Amsterdam Treaty. Certain sectors (asylum. The aim of this cooperation was to give practical effect to the principle of the free movement of persons. The European Constitution currently being ratified represents a new step.

Russia's ratification of the Protocol in 2004 allowed it to enter into force at international level and become binding on the signatory countries. See: • Environment • Sustainable development 96 . On 31 May 2002. asylum. hydrofluorocarbons. the Member States of the European Union have undertaken to reduce their emissions over the same period by 8%. security and justice • Article 36 Committee (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Closer cooperation • Communitisation • Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Convention (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) • Europol (European Police Office) • Free movement of persons (visas. For their part. • mutual recognition of judgments in criminal and civil matters. immigration and other policies) • Joint action (Justice and home affairs) • Joint position (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Pillars of the European Union • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters • Schengen (Agreement and Convention) • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04. Under the Protocol. perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride) by at least 5% during the period 2008-2012 compared with 1990 levels. The Kyoto Protocol is a first step towards tackling the problem of climate change. See: • Area of freedom. • solidarity in the common policy on asylum. In 2000. the industrialised countries have undertaken to reduce their emissions of six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide.2005 [Back] K Kyoto Protocol Adopted in December 1997. this Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change highlights the international community's new attitude towards the phenomenon of climate change. immigration and external borders.5% below 1990 levels. In 2004 the Commission launched a broad consultation of the interested parties to prepare for the post-2012 period.• subsidiarity and respect for different legal traditions and systems. the Union and its Member States ratified the Kyoto protocol. nitrous oxide. methane. global emissions of the six greenhouse gases in the countries of the Union were 3.05.

the simplification of the treaties. See: • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) • Pillars of the European Union • Single institutional framework 97 . that is. does not have what is known in international law as “treaty-making powers”. The Convention concluded its work on 10 July 2003 after reaching agreement on the proposed Constitutional Treaty. on 15 December 2001. The Constitution. meeting in Laeken.05. On 18 June 2004 the Heads of State or Government of the Member States reached a compromise agreement on the draft European Constitution prepared by the Convention. However. the international right to conclude agreements with third countries. This Declaration poses 60 targeted questions on the future of the Union. provides for a fundamental change in this area: the replacement of the Union and the European Community by a single European Union with legal personality. which comprises three separate Communities. which calls for institutional reform to be pursued beyond the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC 2000). the institutional set-up and moving towards a Constitution for European citizens. which is in the process of ratification. or Laeken Declaration. the European Council. each with legal personality (European Community. committing the Union to becoming more democratic.05. See: • Debate on the future of the European Union • European Convention • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] L Laeken Declaration One year after the Treaty of Nice and the Nice Declaration.2005 [Back] Legal personality of the Union The question of the Union's legal status has arisen primarily in connection with its capacity to conclude treaties or accede to agreements or conventions since the Union. adopted a Declaration on the Future of the European Union. and two areas of intergovernmental cooperation. transparent and effective. ECSC and Euratom). It convened a Convention bringing together the main stakeholders to examine the fundamental questions raised by the future development of the Union so as to prepare in as broad and transparent a way as possible for the 2004 IGC. Last updated: 04. around four main themes: the division and definition of powers. some observers argue that this is a non-existent problem because it does not prevent the Union from concluding agreements and asserting its position on the international stage.

which provided for a series of qualified-majority voting situations. the Heads of State and Government expressed their desire to see money laundering "rooted out wherever it occurs". very important interests of one or more partners are at stake. refusing to take part in Council proceedings from 30 June 1965 onwards. to reach solutions which can be adopted by all the Members of the Council while respecting their mutual interests and those of the Community”. combating money laundering is now a priority for the European Union. which gave precedence to the supranational approach over the intergovernmental approach. The French Government decided to express its disapproval by applying the “empty chair” policy. the Members of the Council will endeavour. in the case of decisions which may be taken by majority vote on a proposal of the Commission.05. Given the scale of the problem. In the conclusions of the Tampere European Council on 15 and 16 October 1999. unanimity being the exception. unanimous voting would gradually be replaced by qualified-majority voting. The Luxembourg compromise. This extension of QMV meets the objective of greater efficiency in Community decision-making. signed on 30 January 1966.05. France under General de Gaulle opposed the changeover. Last updated: 04. Not did it prevent the Members of the Council from pursuing their efforts to harmonise their points of view before the Council came to its decision.2005 [Back] M Measures to combat money laundering Money laundering consists in falsely justifying the origin of property or income accruing by way of a breach of criminal law or in assisting with such an operation. with effect from 1 January 1966. the two most important being: 98 . A number of instruments have been adopted.2005 [Back] Luxembourg compromise The Treaty of Rome provided that. Qualified-majority voting has been gradually extended to more and more areas of activity and is now regarded as the normal procedure. This compromise did not prevent the Council from taking decisions in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community. ended the crisis between France and its five Community partners and the European Commission by providing that: “Where. See: • Council of the European Union • Qualified majority • Unanimity Last updated: 04. within a reasonable time.

adopted by the Council in October 2001. 106(2)). security and justice • Fight against international organised crime • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Last updated: 04. 111(2)). The institutional provisions (Articles 112-115) and transitional provisions (Articles 116-124) of Title VII of the EC Treaty (economic and monetary policy . has added money laundering. 109(3)). counterfeiting means of payment and computer crime to the list drawn up for the minimum harmonisation of criminal offences and penalties. The European Constitution. after consulting the European Parliament. • for the implementing measures referred to in the Statute of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) (Art. as amended by Parliament and the Council on 4 December 2001. See: • Area of freedom. • for the exchange rate of the Euro against non-Community currencies (Art. the Council decides unanimously on a recommendation from the ECB or the Commission.• the Directive of 10 June 1991 on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering.05. the Council decides by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the ECB or from the Commission after consulting the ECB. 107(6)) and the limits and conditions under which the ECB is entitled to impose fines (Art. 111(1)). the Council decides by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the ECB and after consulting the Commission and obtaining the assent of the European Parliament. • for technical adjustments to the Statute of the ESCB (Art.2005 [Back] Monetary policy Monetary policy is covered by Articles 105 to 111 (former Articles 105 to 109) of the EC Treaty. Decision- making procedures vary according to the topics in hand: • for the issue of coins by the Member States (Art. • for the formulation of exchange-rate policy guidelines (Art. • the Protocol to the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 29 May 2000. which is currently in the process of ratification. 107(5)).former Title VI) have their own special decision-making procedures which are separate from those identified here. the Council decides by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the ECB and after consulting the European Parliament and the Commission. It is fundamental to economic and monetary union (EMU). See: • Consultation procedure • Convergence criteria • Cooperation procedure • Council of the European Union • Economic and Monetary Union 99 . the cooperation procedure applies. after consultation of the European Central Bank (ECB).

particularly the courts. Following the changes made by the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht.05. The Commission gathers information and then warns and penalises Member States if they fail to comply with the Community Treaties. Monitoring the application of the law may take the following forms: • instituting infringement proceedings following complaints or where cases are discovered in the ordinary course of events. If a Member State takes no action in response to the reasoned opinion that the Commission sends it. This new power seriously boosts its ability to monitor the proper application of Community law. See: • Citizenship of the Union • Court of Justice of the European Communities • European Commission • Transparency (access to documents) Last updated: 04. the Commission has the power to ask the Court of Justice to impose a fine on the offending Member State. • checking whether aid given by Member States is lawful. Among other points it proposes improving the prevention of breaches of Community law through more systematic cooperation with the Member States and better access to information for all concerned. • European Central Bank (ECB) • European Commission • European Parliament • Qualified majority • Stability and Growth Pact • Unanimity Last updated: 04. • checking that the principles prohibiting certain types of agreements. the Commission takes care to safeguard the role which is also assigned to national authorities. In December 2002 the Commission published a communication on improving the monitoring of the application of Community law. The Commission's annual reports on the application of Community law are an expression of the desire for transparency in dealings not only with complainants but also with citizens and members of parliament. 1992). • court action against the other institutions.2005 [Back] 100 . It is an expression of the fact that the European Union is based on the rule of law and its purpose is to make sure that the law is observed and actually applied in and by the Member States.05. in this area. In exercising its monitoring function. decisions and concerted practices and the abuse of a dominant position are observed.2005 [Back] Monitoring the application of Community law The task of monitoring the application of Community law falls to the European Commission as the guardian of the Treaties. the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

the European Union acquired competence in areas which had traditionally been a national preserve. See: • European Parliament • Subsidiarity 101 . The system will ensure that they are informed about every new Commission initiative. envisages a greater role for national parliaments in the working of the European Union. the Commission will be compelled to reconsider it. It consists of representatives of the relevant committees in the national parliaments and of members of the European Parliament. If a third of national parliaments believe that a proposal infringes the subsidiarity principle. In particular. Under the Treaty of Amsterdam. National parliaments have a period of six weeks to discuss a legislative proposal from the date when the Commission makes it available to the European Parliament and the Council up to the date when it is placed on the Council's agenda. For this reason. The European Constitution. It specifies the information that must be sent to national parliaments (white papers. which is now in the process of ratification. it being implied that the others will follow later.'Multi-speed' Europe "Multi-speed" Europe is the term used to describe the idea of a method of differentiated integration whereby common objectives are pursued by a group of Member States both able and willing to advance. Providing national parliaments with more information would enable them to be more closely involved in the Community process and to exercise closer democratic control over it. such as justice and home affairs. security and justice (which might have a bearing on the rights and freedoms of individuals). With the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. In particular. the transparency of Council proceedings will make it easier for national parliaments to monitor their government’s position on the topics on the agenda. a Protocol on the role of national parliaments was annexed to the EU Treaty. See: • Closer cooperation • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. COSAC now also has the power to send the Union institutions any contribution which it deems appropriate and to examine any proposal for a legislative instrument relating to the establishment of the area of freedom. the importance of exchanges between national parliaments and the European Parliament was underlined in a declaration on the role of national parliaments in the European Union. communications and proposals for legislation). The national governments were also asked to ensure that their parliaments received Commission proposals in good time for possible examination. the introduction of the early-warning system for compliance with the subsidiarity principle will give them a direct means of influencing the legislative process.05.2005 [Back] N National parliaments The Conference of European Community Affairs Committees (COSAC) has met every six months since 1989. green papers.

the United Kingdom.05. seven other countries officially joined NATO. • February 1952: Greece and Turkey. Canada. or the Atlantic Alliance) was founded in 1949 and has its headquarters in Brussels.05. Luxembourg. It currently has 26 members. the Netherlands. Lithuania. • May 1955: the Federal Republic of Germany. A major challenge in this connection is that of establishing a sound. the United States. Estonia. Iceland. • in March 2004. This will be accompanied by a deepening of NATO's relations with third countries through partnerships for peace and the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Norway. They are countries from former Communist Europe and. which serves as the defence arm of the Union and as a means of strengthening the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance. Latvia. Denmark. following successive enlargements: • 12 founding members: Belgium.2005 [Back] NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO. stable and sustainable partnership with Russia and Ukraine. • May 1982: Spain. Poland and the Czech Republic . The Declaration on Western European Union annexed to the EU Treaty clarifies future relations between NATO and the WEU. • Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty) Last updated: 04.initially taking in Hungary. and the prospect of the eastward enlargement of NATO .as agreed at the North Atlantic Council meeting in Madrid in July 1997. • March 1999: the Czech Republic. France. The EU's policy respects the NATO obligations of the Member States concerned and is compatible with the common security and defence policy agreed in NATO. former members of the old USSR: Bulgaria. The key aspects involved are the recognition of a European defence identity. See: • Collective defence • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) • 'New-look' NATO • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. Romania.2005 [Back] 'New-look' NATO 'New-look' NATO refers to the process of redefining the organisation's role and operation. Hungary and Poland. the new role of the WEU. the strengthening of the European component of the transatlantic security system. Slovakia and Slovenia. Italy. See: • Collective defence 102 . Portugal. in some cases.

In all. religion or belief. See: • Equal opportunities • Equal treatment for men and women • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Last updated: 04. It too is regionalised.05. • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. 2 and 3 The Agenda 2000 reform of the Structural Funds focuses assistance available under the Community's regional policy on crucial development problems. ESF. provides for the EU’s powers to be extended to enable it to lay down the “basic principles” underpinning incentive measures in this field. the development of human resources. the demarcation of 103 . Objective 1 covers over ninety regions in nineteen Member States. The present rules thus provide for three priority Objectives. currently in the process of being ratified. disability. Objective 1 receives 70% of the Structural Funds budget (i.05. EAGGF Guidance Section and FIFG). investment in research and innovation. As regards measures to combat discrimination. and the information society are the four main priority areas.e. which is divided among the four Funds (ERDF. as opposed to six in the past: • Objective 1 promotes the catching-up of the economies of regions whose development is lagging behind. Transitional support is also available over a seven-year period for the regions previously eligible between 1994 and 1999. The seven "outermost" regions. Under the Treaty of Amsterdam a new Article 13 has been written into the EC Treaty to reinforce the guarantee of non-discrimination laid down in the Treaties and extend it to the other cases cited above. the areas in Sweden and Finland with very low population density and Northern Ireland also receive assistance. Basic infrastructure.2005 [Back] Non-discrimination principle The aim of this principle is to ensure equality of treatment for individuals irrespective of nationality. racial or ethnic origin. age or sexual orientation. • Objective 2 contributes to the economic and social conversion of geographical regions faced with structural difficulties. Only those whose per capita GDP is less than 75% of the Community average are eligible. sex. EUR 151 billion between 2000 and 2006). the European Constitution. It is "regionalised" in that it applies to statistically demarcated regions.2005 [Back] O Objectives 1. Article 12 of the EC Treaty outlaws any discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

05 billion over seven years (12. body or Member State in question but also on his own initiative. Jacques Santer proposed making this department an independent body with extended powers. The period from 2007 to 2013 will need a new policy strategy and a reform of the implementing instruments. • Objective 3 supports the adaptation and modernisation of educational. declining rural areas. 2 and 3 develop beyond 2006 will depend on the assessments of their impact on economic. which was set up under the European Commission Decision of 28 April 1999.5% of the total budget) and is financed by the ERDF and the ESF. urban areas in difficulty and depressed areas dependent on fisheries.2005 [Back] OLAF (European Anti-fraud Office) Since 1 June 1999.5 billion for the seven years from 2000 to 2006 (11. replaces the Coordination of Fraud Prevention Unit (UCLAF) in the Commission. social and territorial cohesion • Enlargement • European Employment Strategy (EES) • Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund Last updated: 04. It has a budget of EUR 24. Transitional support is also available for the regions previously eligible under Objectives 2 and 5(b) during the period 1994-99. In addition. It is not regionalised: all regions falling outside Objective 1 are eligible. Since all their territory is eligible under Objective 1. Greece. See: • Agenda 2000 • Economic. simplification and decentralisation will constitute the main priorities of this reform. The Union's enlargement to 25 Member States has entirely altered the socio-economic context. The Objective 2 budget amounts to EUR 22. and on the outcome of the debate on the future of regional policy. training and employment policies and systems. he is entitled to bring cases before the Court of Justice in order to protect his independence. How Objectives 1. he can launch an investigation not only at the request of the institution. On 6 October 1998 when addressing the European Parliament. the Commission and the Council. The crucial problems of development. 104 . It serves as the reference framework for all measures taken on the basis of the new employment title in the Treaty of Amsterdam and for the resulting European strategy. The new Office can look into the management and financing of all the Union's institutions and bodies with total operational independence guaranteed by: • the Director of OLAF: appointed by agreement between Parliament. set up in 1998 and confined to that one institution.3% of the total budget) and is financed exclusively by the ESF. The Office. Four categories of eligible area are defined: areas undergoing economic change in industry and the service sector. eligible areas depending both on national and European population ceilings (18% of the Union's population) and on specific socio-economic criteria.05. the European Anti-fraud Office has been responsible for combating fraud against the European Union budget. Ireland and Portugal do not qualify for assistance under Objective 2. social and territorial cohesion.

He is empowered to receive complaints from any citizen of the Union or any natural or legal person residing in a Member State concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of the Community institutions or bodies (with the exception of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance).05. the Commission and the Council. conducts an investigation.2005 [Back] Ombudsman The European Ombudsman is appointed by the European Parliament after each election for the duration of Parliament's term of office.2005 [Back] Opting out Opting out is an exemption granted to a country that does not wish to join the other Member States in a particular area of Community cooperation as a way of avoiding a general stalemate. seeks a solution to redress the problem and. corruption and other unlawful activities carried out to the detriment of the European Communities' financial interests are set out in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 25 May 1999 between Parliament. See: • European Commission • Fight against fraud Last updated: 04. • OLAF's Supervisory Committee: it is responsible for monitoring investigations and it consists of five well-known independent external figures appointed jointly by Parliament. See: • Citizenship of the Union • Court of Justice of the European Communities • European Parliament Last updated: 04. if necessary. The United Kingdom. See: • Closer cooperation • European Council • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 105 . The rules governing internal inquiries conducted by OLAF in order to combat fraud. submits draft recommendations to which the institution is required to reply in the form of a detailed report within three months. He submits a report to the European Parliament at the end of each annual session. Where the Ombudsman establishes an instance of maladministration he refers the matter to the institution concerned. defence and European citizenship. asked to be allowed not to take part in the third stage of economic and monetary union (EMU) and similar clauses were agreed with Denmark as regards EMU. the Council and the Commission. This Agreement extends the powers of the Office to serious actions which could amount to professional misconduct by officials and other staff and which could lead to disciplinary measures or criminal prosecutions. for instance.05.

27% of the aggregate gross national product (GNP) of the Member States. it will fall to 106 . With the introduction of this system. all the outermost regions are eligible for regional and social policy support measures under Objective 1 for the period from 2000 to 2006. the Community budget has been entirely financed by own resources. In addition. See: • Economic. Above all. The combined total of all own resources may not exceed 1. on account of those regions. and since 1 January 1978. and the Azores and Madeira (Portugal). the Canaries (Spain). • the VAT resource: this comes from the application of a flat rate to the VAT base of each Member State. This Declaration acknowledges their considerable structural backwardness. the Community budget. financial autonomy was established. However. Their specific location makes them European bridgeheads for fostering trade relations with their non-EU neighbours. the Member States' contributions were replaced by own resources. under the new own resources decision (September 2000). Those regions are distinguished by their low population density and considerable distance from mainland Europe. under a decision adopted on 21 April 1970. 2 and 3 Last updated: 04. These are currently made up of four elements: • agricultural duties and the sugar and isoglucose levies: these consist mainly of the agricultural duties and.05. Last updated: 04. Article 299 of the Treaty authorises the Council to adopt specific measures laying down conditions for applying the Treaty and common policies to the outermost regions. depended on the Member States' financial contributions. production and storage levies. but. These are transfers paid by the Member States to the Community budget to cover the financing of expenditure by the European Union. The Declaration provides for the possibility of adopting specific measures to assist them as long as there is an objective need to promote their economic and social development. social and territorial cohesion • Objectives 1. • customs duties: these come from the application of the common customs tariff to imports from third countries. The rate was set at 1% for 1999. In addition. like that of other international organisations. most of whom are less-developed countries. Martinique and Réunion (the four French overseas departments).2005 [Back] Own resources Originally. the maritime territory of the European Union is the world’s largest with an economic zone covering 25 million km². The outermost regions are the subject of a Declaration annexed to the EC Treaty and may benefit from specific measures on the basis of Article 299 of that Treaty. under the common organisation of the sugar markets.05.2005 [Back] Outermost regions There are seven "outermost regions": Guadeloupe. French Guiana.

8% from customs duties and 1. because it is set according to the other three sources of budget revenue. culture. See: • Budget • Customs union • Financial perspective Last updated: 04. It is collected on a base which may not exceed 50% of a Member State's GNP. • the 'fourth resource': introduced in 1988. The sixth legislature decided to raise the number of specialised permanent committees from seventeen to twenty dealing with different areas of activity (internal market. For any proposal for legislation or other initiative. The members of each committee are elected at the beginning of and half-way through each parliamentary term. In the 2002 budget.05. The European Parliament's Rules of Procedure specify that the Members of Parliament set the number of committees and determine their powers.). the revenue of the European Union amounted to EUR 95. according to their political affiliation and their expertise. constitutional and legal affairs.8% from agricultural duties. It is based on GNP and the application of a rate. the parliamentary committees also hear the Commissioners-designate in their specialised areas. which meets once a month in Strasbourg. See: • Confirmation of the European Commission • European Commission • European Parliament 107 . His or her report is discussed.6 billion. 0.3% from the VAT resource. and which debates and votes on the basis of this report. employment.2005 [Back] P Parliamentary committees As in the national Parliaments. 38. set under the budget procedure. various committees have been set up within the European Parliament to prepare the proceedings of the full House. And a temporary committee on improving safety at sea was set up in 2003. As preparation for Parliament's vote of approval of the European Commission. amended and voted on within the parliamentary committee and then transmitted to the plenary assembly. The core legislative work of Parliament is done in these committees. etc. agriculture. a rapporteur is nominated according to an agreement between the political groups which make up Parliament.50% from 2004. to the total GNP of all the Member States. 14. this is a so-called additional resource. industry. of which 43% came from the GNP resource.75% in 2002 and 2003 and to 0. temporary committees and committees of inquiry if it considers it necessary. Parliament can also set up sub-committees. Two committees of inquiry have been set up so far: on the Community transit procedure in 1996 and on the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in 1997. The role of the permanent committees is to debate proposals for new legislation put forward by the European Commission and to draw up own-initiative reports.

and to the Ombudsman in any of the official Union languages (including Irish) and receive an answer written in the same language. stating that every citizen of the Union may write to any of the institutions. the WEU Member States declared their readiness to make available military units from the whole spectrum of their conventional armed forces for military tasks conducted under the authority of the WEU. • tasks of combat forces in crisis management. • peace-keeping tasks. not far from Bonn. it may ask the European Commission to provide it with documents or information. When drawing up an opinion on a petition deemed to be admissible.05.2005 108 . Last updated: 04. On this occasion. See: • Collective defence • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New-look' NATO • Western European Union (WEU) Last updated: 04. The Treaty of Amsterdam added a new paragraph to Article 21. Where it sees fit. These tasks are today expressly included in Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union and form an integral part of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESPD). The different types of military tasks which the WEU can undertake were defined: apart from contributing to the collective defence in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and Article V of the modified Brussels Treaty. to submit a request to the European Parliament or to table a grievance before it on any subject which falls within the spheres of activity of the Community and concerns him or her directly (Articles 21 and 194 of the EC Treaty. Parliament's Committee on Petitions considers whether such requests are admissible.05.2005 [Back] Petitions The right of petition is the right which every citizen of the European Union enjoys. it may put a question to the Ombudsman.2005 [Back] Petersberg tasks These tasks were established in June 1992 at the Ministerial Council of the Western European Union (WEU) held at the Petersberg Hotel. military units of WEU Member States may be employed for: • humanitarian and rescue tasks. See: • Citizenship of the Union • Ombudsman Last updated: 04. including peacemaking. formerly Articles 8d and 138d).05. individually or in association with other citizens. including the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.

medium and short term.05. • police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. the Unit helps outline the strategic priorities for EU action by providing an assessment of the interests at stake and reasoned options for future policy. etc. Under the responsibility of the CFSP High Representative. (first pillar). These three pillars. if the CFSP is to be effective.05. Union citizenship. it will require earlier and more far-reaching analysis of external developments in the long. comprising the arrangements set out in the European Community (EC). The staff of the Unit. The Treaty of Amsterdam has transferred some of the fields formerly covered by the third pillar to the first pillar (free movement of persons). Economic and Monetary Union. which comes under Title VI of the EU Treaty (third pillar). [Back] Pillars of the European Union In Community parlance people often refer to the three pillars of the EU Treaty. Community policies. are drawn from the General Secretariat of the Council. the Member States.2005 [Back] Planning and Early Warning Unit The creation of a Planning and Early Warning Unit under the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) was driven by the idea that. See: • Communitisation • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. The Planning and Early Warning Unit was established by a declaration annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam. which are available to all the Member States of the Union. provides for a complete recasting of this system. albeit with the preservation of specific procedures in the area of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). The European Constitution. The three existing pillars are to be merged. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • High Representative for the CFSP (Mr/Ms CFSP) • Treaty of Amsterdam Last updated: 04. including defence policy.2005 [Back] 109 . European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) Treaties. set up in autumn 1999. which comes under Title V of the EU Treaty (second pillar). i.e. are: • the Community dimension. The decisions taken under the CFSP must therefore be underpinned by more reliable briefings. • the common foreign and security policy. which is currently being ratified. which form the basic structure of the European Union. the Commission and the Western European Union (WEU).

will enable significant progress to be made in this field. a number of legal instruments used in the field of police and judicial cooperation have been modified: the common position and the convention remain. • approximation. covers police and judicial cooperation. the panoply of instruments currently in use (common positions. framework decisions and conventions) will disappear 110 . drug trafficking and organised crime). cross-border crimes (notably terrorism. The European Constitution will abolish the Union's pillar structure and. but joint actions have been replaced by two new instruments (in the Amsterdam Treaty): decisions and framework decisions. including cooperation through the European Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust). decisions on third-pillar issues still have to be adopted unanimously. Judicial cooperation will be based on the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal matters and will also incorporate the approximation of legislation into its aims through the adoption of minimum rules. The aim is to provide the public with a high level of protection by preventing and combating the phenomena of racism and xenophobia and other cross-border crime. In the area of substantive criminal law. Although the Treaties of Amsterdam and Nice extended the use of qualified-majority voting. The European Constitution. • arms trafficking. As far as criminal procedure is concerned. • drug trafficking. For those remaining in the third pillar. the existing third pillar. the Union can adopt minimum rules on definitions of and penalties for a list of serious. • closer cooperation between the judicial authorities. the Constitution sets out three areas of intervention: mutual admissibility of evidence. established by the Treaty of Nice. of rules on criminal matters in the Member States.Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters Some of the policy areas previously covered by Title VI of the Treaty on European Union (Justice and Home Affairs or the "third pillar") were transferred to the first pillar by the Treaty of Amsterdam. where necessary. security and justice. the Treaty of Amsterdam establishes one of the Union's most important objectives: the creation of an area of freedom. in addition. was also incorporated into the European Union and Community framework with the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty. As a result. However. • corruption and fraud. consequently. which has been developed by a number of Member States within an intergovernmental framework and. the rights of the individual in criminal proceedings and the rights of victims. decisions. This is to be achieved by: • closer cooperation between police forces and customs authorities through the European Police Office (Europol). including: • terrorism. especially police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. • trafficking in human beings and crimes against children. The Schengen acquis. which is in the process of ratification.

2005 [Back] Political and Security Committee (PSC) Replacing the Political Committee. The pre-accession aid for the period 2000-2006 for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is a key element of the 111 . Under the authority of the Council. and the Military Committee (MC) and Military Staff (MS) See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) Last updated: 04. so as to comply with Community legislation when they join the Union.05. the PSC is at the heart of crisis management activities. it is assisted by a Politico-Military Group. a Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management. Composed mainly of national representatives.and will be replaced by European laws and framework laws adopted by the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision).05. To ensure its smooth running. helps to define policies and monitors their implementation. especially their industrial and environmental norms. the Political and Security Committee (PSC) follows international developments in the field of common foreign and security policy (CFSP). it is responsible for the political control and strategic guidance of crisis management operations. security and justice • Convention (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Decision and framework decision (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • European arrest warrant • European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) • Europol (European Police Office) • Fight against drugs • Fight against fraud • Fight against international organised crime • Fight against racism and xenophobia • Fight against terrorism • Joint action (Justice and home affairs) • Joint position (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Measures to combat money laundering • Pillars of the European Union • Schengen (Agreement and Convention) • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] Pre-accession aid Enormous investment is required if the candidate countries are to adapt their standards. See: • Area of freedom.

2005 [Back] 112 . • two assistance funds. See: • Accession negotiations • Accession partnership • Applicant countries • Community acquis • Enlargement • European Investment Bank (EIB) • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Pre-accession strategy • Phare • Screening • Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund • TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) Last updated: 04. Croatia will receive the same pre- accession assistance as the Central and Eastern European candidates (Phare. which have been set up to manage additional aid. . which finances the projects needed to adapt the candidate countries' administrative and legal systems and to develop their infrastructure. The accession partnerships concluded between the EU and the candidate countries constitute the main thrust of the pre-accession strategy and serve as the channel for the various types of aid. based on the exchange of information about best practice.European Union's strategy towards the candidates and involves two main components: • the Phare programme. The ISPA and SAPARD programmes have been replaced by the Cohesion Fund and the EAGGF (European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund) respectively. Additional pre-accession aid for Bulgaria and Romania was approved at the Copenhagen European Council (December 2002).05. New projects are now eligible for assistance under the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund.the second finances infrastructure development in the fields of the environment and transport (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession.the first supports structural measures in the field of agriculture (SAPARD) . with whom negotiations were due to commence in 2005. The new Member States will also receive special post-accession transition facilities until 2006 to finance projects to improve their administrative capacity. ISPA). In October 2004 the Commission defined a pre-accession strategy for Croatia. All of the candidate countries may also participate in the pre-accession instrument of the European Investment Bank (EIB). although funding under its instruments of projects submitted before 2005 continues. pre-accession aid was terminated for the ten new Member States when they joined the EU on 1 May 2004. ISPA plays the same role for the candidate countries as the Cohesion Fund does for certain Member States. On the other hand. ISPA and SAPARD).

agencies and committees. It was based on: • the Europe Agreements. See: • Accession negotiations • Accession partnership • Agenda 2000 • Applicant countries • Community acquis • Enlargement • Europe agreement • Financial perspective • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Pre-accession aid 113 . where negotiations are due to commence in 2005. Since 1999 Turkey has also enjoyed the benefit of a pre-accession strategy like the other candidate countries. • adaptation of the financial assistance provided by Phare. • the accession partnerships and the national programmes for the adoption of the acquis. agencies and committees. the Member States and the institutions of the Union (strengthening the structured dialogue). in 1993 the Commission proposed that there be a 'structured dialogue' between the associated countries and the institutions of the Union in the form of meetings at which the different partners could consult each other. The accession of ten new Member States on 1 May 2004 effectively ended their pre- accessions strategy. For Cyprus. Pre-accession strategies for Cyprus and Malta were based on: • the association agreements. • participation in certain Community programmes. In December 1994 the Essen European Council adopted a pre-accession strategy based on: • deepening relations between the associated countries. • participation in Community programmes. a special pre-accession strategy was put in place the same year. In October 2004 the Commission adopted a pre-accession strategy for Croatia. but the Commission retains the right to suspend them immediately in the event of a serious and persistent violation of political criteria.Pre-accession strategy On the basis of the Europe Agreements (association agreements with Central and Eastern European countries). • implementation of the Europe Agreements. And they are now eligible for the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund. • in Turkey's case. But they still enjoy the benefit of the pre-accession financial instruments for projects presented before 2005. • special pre-accession aid. ISPA and SAPARD). At the December 1997 Luxembourg European Council a reinforced pre-accession strategy was launched for the ten Central and Eastern European applicant countries. Croatia will be eligible for the three pre- accession financial instruments (Phare. In 1998 a strategy was adopted for Malta. a reinforced political dialogue. • the accession partnerships and the national programmes for the adoption of the acquis.

inconclusive or uncertain. The Commission would also like to point out that the measures resulting from recourse to the precautionary principle may take the form of a decision to act or not to act. See: • Consumer protection • Environment • Food safety • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) • Public health Last updated: 04. • Phare • Screening • TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) Last updated: 04. for instance. animal or plant health can reasonably be feared. In both cases. The Communication also sets out the three rules which need to be followed for the precautionary principle to be observed: • a complete scientific evaluation carried out by an independent authority in order to determine the degree of scientific uncertainty. In this document. with the adoption of a moratorium on their commercialisation between 1999 and 2004. the risks are incompatible with the high level of protection sought by the European Union. in which it defined this concept and envisaged how it would be applied. • an assessment of the potential risks and the consequences of inaction. the Commission sets out the specific cases where this principle is applicable: • where the scientific data are insufficient.05.2005 [Back] Precautionary Principle The concept of the precautionary principle was first set out in a Commission communication adopted in February 2000 on recourse to the precautionary principle. depending on the level of risk considered "acceptable". • where a preliminary scientific evaluation shows that potentially dangerous effects for the environment and human.2005 [Back] 114 . under conditions of maximum transparency. • the participation. of all the interested parties in the study of possible measures. The Union had applied this precautionary principle in the area of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).05. This text complements the White Paper on Food Safety (January 2000) and the agreement concluded in February 2000 in Montreal on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Under this draft.05.2005 [Back] President of the European Commission The Treaty of Amsterdam strengthened the role and position of the President of the European Commission. The governments then designate the persons they intend to appoint as Members of the Commission. These provisions are set out not in the text of the Constitution but in a draft decision which will be adopted when the Constitution enters into force. The new Article 217 of the EC Treaty also extends the President's powers as an essential means of ensuring the continued coherence and effectiveness of an enlarged body of Commissioners following the accession of the new Member States. subject to the collective approval of the Commission. the European Council meeting at the level of the heads of state and government will designate the person that they intend to appoint by a qualified majority. in agreement with the new President. From now on. 115 . He will also. The governments of the Member States currently designate the person they intend to appoint as President by common accord . The European Constitution. A stint in the Presidency is a duty and a contribution that each Member State makes to the proper functioning of the Community institutions. The Treaty of Nice. Each State will chair Council meetings for a six-month period with the assistance of the two other Member States on the basis of a common programme.Presidency of the Union (rotation of the Presidency) The Presidency of the Union is held in turn on a six-monthly basis by each Member State. in order to give new members a minimum period in which to adapt and prepare for taking on the Presidency of the Council themselves. has altered the procedure for appointing the President. The Constitution also introduces a new system of “equal rotation” for the Presidency of the Council. which entered into force on 1 February 2003. This post cannot be combined with national public office. the allocation of portfolios and any reshuffling of portfolios during the Commission's term of office. apart from the Foreign Affairs Council. renewable once. to be elected by the European Council for two and a half years. the Presidency of the various configurations of the Council. it has been established that the order of rotation between the 15 will be maintained until 2006. This means that the President will decide on the Commission's internal organisation. See: • Coreper • Council of the European Union • European Council • Troïka Last updated: 04. He also decides on the allocation of portfolios among the Commissioners and any reshuffling of portfolios during the Commission's term of office. which is currently being ratified.a choice which then has to be approved by the European Parliament. will be held by a team of three Member States. The President lays down the broad policy lines to be followed by the Commission in its work. The European Parliament then approves this appointment. In the context of the institutional aspect of the accession negotiations. changes this system by creating a permanent post of President of the European Council.

The President of the 2004-09 Commission is the former Portuguese Prime Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso. with a budget of over EUR 10 billion for the period 2000-2006 (about EUR 1.appoint Vice-Presidents. All projects after that date are eligible for the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund on the same terms as for any Member State. i. Since 1994. Romania. the Slovak Republic and Slovenia are eligible under Phare only for projects launched prior to 2005. does not make any changes to the way in which the President is appointed. He may further. Lithuania.5 billion per year). which is in the process of being ratified. it concerned only Poland and Hungary but it was gradually extended to cover ten Central and Eastern European countries (Bulgaria. the latter must take account of the results of the European elections. Estonia. Lithuania. See: • Composition of the European Commission • Confirmation of the European Commission • European Commission Last updated: 04. Slovakia and Slovenia). the Czech Republic. Poland.: • structural measures to bring the level of environmental protection and of transport infrastructure development in the applicant countries closer to that of the European Union (ISPA). The revamped Phare programme.05. Latvia. Poland. again subject to the approval of the College. Hungary. The European Constitution.2005 [Back] Programme of Community aid to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (Phare) The Phare programme was launched in 1989 following the collapse of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. New forms of pre-accession aid have been added to that already provided by Phare. 116 . • aid to agriculture (SAPARD). Phare is therefore the main financial instrument of the pre-accession strategy for the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) which have applied for membership of the European Union. It was intended to help these countries rebuild their economies. Hungary. Phare's tasks have been adapted to the priorities and needs of each CEEC. Only Bulgaria and Romania continue to qualify for the Phare programme in respect of projects launched after 2003. namely: • institution building. Latvia. require a Member of the Commission to resign. the Czech Republic. who succeeded Romano Prodi as head of the European executive. Originally. has two main priorities. Since the accession of the ten new Member States on 1 May 2004. • investment financing. the number of which is not specified in the Treaty. Estonia. when the European Council proposes a candidate for the Presidency for election by the European Parliament. it clearly states that. However.e.

Under Article 152 action towards these ends may involve Community measures. they differ in terms of function. either nationally or regionally. confused. As from 1 January 2005. The Treaty of Amsterdam extends the scope of actions covered by the codecision procedure to include measures setting high standards of quality and safety of organs and substances of human origin. including drug addiction. the concept of the public service and the concept of the public sector (including the civil service) are often. as well as measures in the veterinary and phytosanitary fields. But the main approach should be to encourage cooperation between the Member States. as well as health information and education.2005 [Back] Public service The concept of public service is a twofold one: it embraces both bodies providing services and the general-interest services they provide. wrongly. which was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht. The Treaty of Amsterdam reinforces these objectives by requiring that the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities ensures a high level of human health protection. The institutional arrangements are that the Council adopts incentive actions on the basis of the codecision procedure. energy producers and so on). ownership and "clientele". by promoting research into their causes and their transmission. it is set to be extended to the applicant countries of the western Balkans. while recommendations are adopted by qualified majority on a Commission proposal. ISPA and SAPARD funding.05. This article states that Community action is to focus on the prevention of illnesses. 117 . road or rail carriers.2005 [Back] Public health Public health is covered by Article 152 of the EC Treaty (former Article 129). Incidentally.Although the Phare programme was originally reserved for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. See: • Codecision procedure • Food safety • Precautionary Principle • Subsidiarity Last updated: 04.05. complementing action by the Member States. Public-service obligations may be imposed by the public authorities on the body providing a service (airlines. See: • Agenda 2000 • Applicant countries • Enlargement • Pre-accession aid • Pre-accession strategy Last updated: 04. in line with the subsidiarity principle. status. Croatia should be eligible for a pre-accession strategy offering Phare.

the number of votes allocated to each Member State has been re-weighted. representing a majority of the Member States. 118 . If this is not the case. the QM went up to 232 votes out of a total of 321. following enlargement of the Union. • quality. After 1 November 2004. be this in the areas of rail transport. Such principles would include: • continuity of service. • affordable prices.2005 [Back] Q Qualified majority A qualified majority (QM) is the number of votes required in the Council for a decision to be adopted when issues are being debated on the basis of Article 205(2) of the EC Treaty. cultural and environmental acceptability. Following the 2000 Inter Governmental Conference and the Nice Treaty. confirms the role of public services in the European Union. See: • Public service • Universal service Last updated: 04. • social. in particular for those States with larger populations. • equal access. postal services. The EU policy on operators of public services is still shaped by the desire to liberalise network public services and to widen the scope of competition on national markets. so that the legitimacy of the Council's decisions can be safeguarded in terms of their demographic representativeness.05. introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam. Article 16 of the EC Treaty.See: • General-interest services • Public service charter • Services of general economic interest • Subsidiarity • Universal service Last updated: 04. Moreover.2005 [Back] Public service charter The idea behind a public service charter is that there should be an instrument setting out the basic rights and principles governing the provision of services to users. a Member State may request verification that the QM represents at least 62% of the total population of the Union.05. the decision is not adopted. • security of supply. energy or telecommunications.

QM voting (QMV) has replaced unanimous voting. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for 45 new QMV situations. See: • Codecision procedure • Council of the European Union • Double majority • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Ioannina compromise • Reinforced qualified majority • Treaty of Nice • Unanimity • Weighting of votes in the Council Last updated: 04. the idea of a reinforced qualified majority was raised both by a large number of national delegations and by the European Commission. From 1 November 2009 the qualified majority will be based on a twofold- majority. when an amendment is made to a basic instrument.2005 [Back] Reinforced qualified majority At the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference.As the various institutional reforms have taken effect.formal/official • Simplification of legislation Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] R Recasting of legislation The recasting of legislation means the adoption.05. The new legal instrument is published in the Official Journal (L series). Unlike formal consolidation. it involves changes of substance. Otherwise. requiring votes in favour from at least 55% of the Member States accounting for at least 65% of the Union’s population. This proposal stems from the conviction that if the unanimity requirement is maintained in an enlarged Union it will all too often result in stalemate. but repeals and replaces the latter. Unanimity might therefore be replaced in certain cases by a reinforced qualified majority which is higher than the normal percentage of votes generally required for majority voting. See: • Consolidation of legislation . It also gives a comprehensive overview of an area of legislation.05. 119 . which is less effective for developing an operational Community policy (veto risk). of a new legal instrument which incorporates the said amendment into the basic instrument. there will have to be a blocking minority of at least four Member States. To ensure that the most populous Member States cannot block decisions. which led to the adoption of the Amsterdam Treaty. the QM will be presumed to be met even if the population test is failed.

and industrial risks. which is in the process of being ratified. energy (including nuclear). The Single European Act introduced the concept of technology into Community law and the EU Treaty then developed the Community's objectives in this field.05.5 billion. This multi-annual programme. See: • Double majority • European Convention • Hierarchy of Community acts (hierarchy of norms) • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Qualified majority • Unanimity • Weighting of votes in the Council Last updated: 04. coordinates more specific programmes dedicated to fields as varied as information and communication technologies. • the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Euratom Supply Agency. Supporting the competitiveness of European industry and promoting research to help it face technological challenges are the Community's priorities. See: • European Research Area (ERA) Last updated: 04. brings added value to Europe's technological and scientific resources and capabilities by encouraging complementarity and multidisciplinarity.The European Constitution. transport and mobility of researchers. the environment. biology.2005 [Back] 120 . The coordination of initiatives in research and development within the Community is based on various instruments: • the framework programme for research and technological development. It is at the forefront of research in nuclear energy (especially security) and has diversified into sectors such as materials. envisages raising the threshold for qualified majority from 55% to 72% for all acts other than those proposed by the European Commission or by the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs. Euratom and Title XVIII of the EC Treaty). set up in 1984. which has been allocated the sum of EUR 17. The JRC is made up of eight research institutes set up across the European Community to meet the specific needs of the Commission. the environment.05. The sixth framework programme (2002-2006).2005 [Back] Research and development European research and development policy is based on provisions in the three founding treaties (ECSC.

to matters relating to the free movement of persons. They will then have to be ratified by all the Member States. it is convened by the President of the Council. or the Commission. either because the Treaty expressly so provides or because the Commission considers it necessary. security and justice • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • European Commission 121 . See: • European Convention • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) Last updated: 04. and to the third pillar.Revision of the Treaties Article 48 (former Article N) of the EU Treaty is the legal base which enables a conference of representatives of the Member States' governments (an IGC) to be convened for the purpose of amending the Treaties. Any subsequent amendments enter into force two months after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. The Council and the European Parliament may also ask the Commission to put forward a proposal if they consider it necessary. If the Council. See: • Area of freedom. Revisions will generally be prepared by a procedure inspired by the Convention that drafted the European Constitution. The Constitution also gives the European Parliament a right of initiative in regard to revision. so that there is a coherent framework for all initiatives. The right of initiative is regarded as a basic element in the institutional balance of the Community. The Convention will adopt a recommendation for changes by consensus for the IGC to approve by common agreement (i. A simplified revision procedure is laid down for Union policies and activities. may submit to the Council proposals for such amendments. but unanimity in the European Council and approval by all the Member States is still required. the principle being that the Council takes decisions only "on a proposal from the Commission". In the case of the third pillar. the Commission shares the right of initiative with the Member States.05. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for changes to the Treaty revision procedure.2005 [Back] Right of initiative So that it can play its role as guardian of the Treaties and defender of the general interest the Commission has been given a right of initiative which empowers and requires it to make proposals on the matters contained in the Treaty. The Treaty of Amsterdam has extended the Commission's right of initiative to the new policies (health and employment).e. On the other hand it has no such right in certain matters relating to justice and home affairs. • This power of initiative is exclusive in respect of Community matters. after consulting Parliament and the Commission. It stipulates that any Member State. delivers an opinion in favour of calling a conference. as may the Member States. • Under the common foreign and security policy the Commission may make proposals. The IGC will not have to be convened. unanimously).

except on the tax provisions. Traditionally uncoordinated. See: • Council of the European Union • European Parliament • European political parties • Uniform electoral procedure of the European Parliament Last updated: 04. provided there was no dual taxation. In December 2003 Parliament agreed that MEPs’ allowances should be subject to the Community tax and also to national tax. In order to make rural development fully coherent. bringing them together in a single regulatory framework. There were three points of disagreement: the retirement age. the taxation of MEPs’ allowances and questions of privileges and immunities.05. rural 122 . Following the entry into force of the Nice Treaty on 1 February 2003.05. • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Pillars of the European Union • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. Ultimately. however.2005 [Back] Rural development Rural development has close connections with both the common agricultural policy (CAP) and measures to support employment. the question of MEPs’ basic salaries is the stumbling block. As a result. but the agreement was challenged by the Council. the reform has made it possible to improve rural development measures. At a meeting in January 2004 which was to approve the draft regulations. this should facilitate agreement on an issue that has been outstanding since 1998. the Council wants it set at 65 whereas Parliament prefers 60. Discarding the goal of productivity to concentrate fully on quality and safety. several ministers opposed the basic allowance set at 50% of the basic salary of a judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities.2005 [Back] Rules governing Members of the European Parliament The purpose of common regulations applying to all Members of the European Parliament is to rectify divergences in the treatment of different nationalities and to increase transparency. Agenda 2000 set in motion the reform of the CAP. the regulations are to be approved by the Council acting by a qualified majority. rural development measures and legal instruments have invariably suffered from the absence of linkage between them. In June 2003 Parliament came to an agreement after many years of debate. The matter is still under negotiation between Parliament and the Council. A compromise is emerging in favour of 63. On the retirement age.

Rural development policy is allocated some EUR 50 billion for the period 2000-06. Community guidelines will serve as a basis for national strategies which will have to demonstrate that they complement economic. • improving living and working conditions and equal opportunities. or one of the four Structural Funds. In addition. social and territorial cohesion policy. Depending on the regional context. Luxembourg and the Netherlands agreed that they would gradually remove their 123 . Belgium. The goals pursued by rural development include: • modernising farms. The rural development measures designed to meet these goals have been divided into two categories: • flanking measures in the 1992 CAP reform: early retirement. afforestation and the scheme for less-favoured areas. • measures to modernise and diversify farms: investment in farms. the next financial programming period (2007-13) will concentrate on three key objectives: the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector. France. • fostering supplementary or alternative job-creating activities. environment and countryside management. • ensuring fair and stable incomes for farmers. funding comes from the EAGGF Guarantee or Guidance Section. social and territorial cohesion • Food safety • Objectives 1. • meeting environmental challenges. The EAGGF puts in place an integrated policy of sustainable rural development ensuring closer links between rural development and the common agricultural policy's prices and markets policy. 2 and 3 • Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund Last updated: 04. in a bid to halt the drift from the countryside and to strengthen the economic and social fabric of rural areas. Germany.05. and diversification of economic activities. • producing safe. In addition. quality products. The mid-term reform of the CAP in 2003 reinforces the complementary nature of the two pillars and transfers of funds from the first to the second. See: • Agenda 2000 • Common agricultural policy (CAP) • Economic.development now stands alongside agricultural market support as the second pillar of the CAP. agro-environmental measures. it enables local players in a given rural area to join forces on the basis of a local and integrated development strategy.2005 [Back] S Schengen (Agreement and Convention) By the Agreement signed at Schengen on 14 June 1985.

Denmark may choose in the context of the European Union whether to apply any new decision taken on the basis of the Schengen acquis. asylum. In order to provide a legal basis. but. It lays down the arrangements and guarantees for implementing freedom of movement. Iceland and Norway are also parties to the Convention. incorporation entailed dividing the Schengen acquis under the first pillar (Visas. immigration and other policies related to the free movement of persons) or the third pillar (Provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters). The legal incorporation of Schengen into the Union was accompanied by integration of the institutions. To encourage Denmark to waive its opt-out. The Agreement and the Convention. relating in particular to the Schengen acquis and the special positions of certain Member States (United Kingdom. The Schengen Convention was signed by the same five States on 19 June 1990 but did not enter into force until 1995. the provisions relating to the area of freedom. the rules adopted on that basis and the related agreements together form the "Schengen acquis". The Council took over the Schengen Executive Committee and the Council's General Secretariat took over the Schengen Secretariat.05. Moreover. See: • Area of freedom. they may take part in some or all of the provisions of this acquis. The protocol annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam states that the Schengen acquis and the rules adopted by the institutions on the basis of that acquis must be adopted in their entirety by all applicant countries. security and justice • Community acquis • Free movement of persons (visas. other Member States or third countries.common border controls and introduce freedom of movement for all nationals of the signatory Member States. A protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam governs the incorporation of the Schengen acquis into the Treaties. Greece in 1992. Ireland and Denmark). under the protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam. Austria in 1995 and Denmark. • the opt-out in the Protocol on the position of Denmark is maintained. security and justice are amplified by a series of protocols. although already a signatory to the Schengen Convention. Spain and Portugal in 1991. The Schengen area has gradually expanded: Italy signed up in 1990.2005 [Back] 124 . Ireland and the United Kingdom are not parties to the agreements. Finland and Sweden in 1996. In the European Constitution currently being ratified. Among other innovations: • the scope of the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland is extended to police cooperation. immigration and other policies) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Pillars of the European Union • Title VI of the EU Treaty Last updated: 04. asylum. there is an Annex with an intermediate scheme between the opt-out and full application of Union law.

The Constitution currently being ratified incorporates the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Article 16. The screening exercise is essential because it serves as a basis for bilateral negotiations between the European Union and each of the applicant countries. It also amends the existing Article 16 of the EC Treaty by providing that the Union and the Member States. TAIEX. energy and communications services are prime examples. This screening process is carried out jointly by the Commission and each of the applicant countries. Transport. formerly Article 90). in particular economic and financial conditions. which was written into the EC Treaty by the Treaty of Amsterdam. it allows a road map to be drawn up for each applicant indicating which legislative instruments must be adopted or amended so that the future member will be able to adhere to Community legislation as soon as possible after accession. Sector by sector. each within their respective competences and within the scope of application of the Constitution.2005 [Back] Services of general economic interest Services of general economic interest are commercial services of general economic utility. acknowledges the place occupied by services of general economic interest in the shared values of the Union and their role in promoting social and territorial cohesion. which enable them to fulfil their missions. on which the public authorities therefore impose specific public-service obligations (Article 86 of the EC Treaty. Article 16 also states that such services must operate on the basis of principles and conditions which enable them to fulfil their functions. Article 36 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union requires the Union to recognise and respect access to services of general economic interest to promote the social and territorial cohesion of the Union. carries out a survey of the Community acquis and measures taken by the applicant countries in order to incorporate it into their own law. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • General-interest services • Public service • Public service charter • Universal service 125 . including therefore Article 36. A technical assistance office.05.Screening This stage of accession to the European Union consists of evaluating the compatibility of each applicant country's legislation with Community rules. See: • Applicant countries • Community acquis • Enlargement • Incorporation of the Community acquis • TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) Last updated: 04. take care that services of general economic interest operate on the basis of principles and conditions.

It also requires the other non-participating Member States to accept that shared institutions can be used for such operations to knit the Union closer together without involving all the Member States. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for reinforcing the subsidiarity and proportionality principles for the sake of simplification.2005 [Back] Simplification of legislation Simplifying legislation means weeding out the superfluous by rigorously applying the tests of whether it is necessary and proportionate. See: • Clarity of the Treaties (simplification of the Treaties) • Community legal instruments • Consolidation of legislation .formal/official • Consolidation of legislation . by reducing their number. This concept has grown in importance since the White Paper on the Completion of the Single Market and was explicitly put forward by the Edinburgh European Council in 1992.informal/declaratory • Recasting of legislation • Subsidiarity • Transparency (access to documents) Last updated: 04. Simplifying this mass of law has now become a priority in order to ensure that Community action is transparent and effective. It recommends that the European Parliament. The text of the Constitution itself has been written in a concern for readability and clarity to help the general public understand it. Last updated: 04. It presupposes that Member States wishing to integrate and cooperate still further will agree to act through shared institutions. See: 126 . Over the past decade a concentrated effort has been made to establish a market guaranteeing the four freedoms. and the legislative procedures (codecision becoming the general practice). but this has meant a wealth of European legislation. A pilot programme (Simplification of Legislation for the Internal Market . The exercise mainly involves the recasting and formal or informal consolidation of legislation. A declaration on the quality of the drafting of Community legislation is attached to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference (1997).2005 [Back] Single institutional framework The single institutional framework is the practical expression of the principle that there is only one set of institutions.05.SLIM) covering four specific areas was launched in May 1996 and will be extended to other areas. the Council and the Commission lay down guidelines for improving the form of legislation.05. On 5 June 2002. the Commission published the action plan "Better lawmaking" and undertook to "legislate less but better". It also simplifies the set of legal instruments.

and Article 138 of the EC Treaty (as amended by the Single European Act) formally requires the Commission to develop it. including agreements which are implemented by the Council or by the social partners themselves. proclaimed in Nice on 7 December 2000 and incorporated in full in the European Constitution.2005 [Back] Social dialogue Social dialogue is the term used to describe the consultation procedures involving the European social partners: the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE). which did not sign it until 1998.2005 [Back] Social Charter (Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers) The Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers. in the form of a declaration by all Member States except the United Kingdom.05. joint action and sometimes negotiations between the European social partners. known as the Social Charter.05. The Charter of Fundamental Rights. and discussions between the social partners and the institutions of the European Union. It is seen as a political instrument containing "moral obligations" whose object is to guarantee that certain social rights are respected in the countries concerned. on a proposal from the Commission. It also contains an explicit request to the Commission to put forward proposals for translating the content of the Social Charter into legislation. includes the rights set out in this Social Charter. To date. fifteen joint opinions have been delivered on economic growth. social protection. • Closer cooperation • Pillars of the European Union • Social Policy Agreement Last updated: 04. There have so far been five cross-industry framework 127 . It encompasses discussions. These relate primarily to the labour market. the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). The Social Charter has been followed up by action programmes and specific legislative proposals. equal opportunities and health and safety at work. the introduction of new technology. vocational training and other subjects. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • Social dialogue • Social policy • Social Policy Agreement Last updated: 04. The dialogue was started by the European Commission in 1985. education. was adopted in 1989. vocational training. The social dialogue may also lead to contractual forms of relations.

there are many other socio-professional groups representing specific or sectoral interests. the Commission consults the social partners on the possible direction of EU action.2005 [Back] Social partners The Commission is required to consult various social partners when it wishes to submit proposals in this field. telework and stress. The social partners also play an important role in the European Economic and Social Committee. in the constitutional Treaty. It also reiterates the role of the Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment in contributing to the social dialogue. Article I-48 states that the European Union recognises and promotes the role of the social partners. temporary work. Article I-48 states that the European Union recognises and promotes the role of the social partners. for the first time. facilitating dialogue between them and respecting their autonomy.agreements of this type.05. It consists of high-ranking officials from the Council Presidency and the Commission Presidency and representatives of the European social partners. • the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP). This social dialogue occurs via the three main cross- industry organisations representing the social partners at European level: • the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). for the first time. concerning parental leave. • the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE). It is the Commission’s task to promote consultation of the social partners and take any relevant measures to facilitate their dialogue by ensuring balanced support for the parties. where they sit alongside other representatives of civil society. in the European Constitution. See: 128 . See: • European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) • Social Charter (Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers) • Social partners • Social policy • Social Policy Agreement Last updated: 04. on the eve of the Spring European Council which debates the economic and social situation in the Union. It meets once per year. In addition to these three European cross-industry organisations. It also reiterates the role of the Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment in contributing to the social dialogue. Before submitting proposals in the field of social policy. a Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment was set up in March 2003. facilitating dialogue between them and respecting their autonomy. which is in the process of being ratified. which is in the process of being ratified. The role of the social partners and of independent social dialogue is enshrined. The role of the social partners and of independent social dialogue is enshrined. With a view to giving new impetus to the European social dialogue. part-time work.

thus bringing a complicated situation to an end. three cases are possible: • a European law or framework law establishes measures to encourage cooperation between the Member States through initiatives aimed at improving knowledge. The inclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European Constitution reinforces the social dimension of Europe but does not create additional powers for the Union. social policy is a shared competence. • a European law or framework law establishes minimum requirements adopted unanimously by the Council. guarantee proper social protection and combat social exclusion. Moreover. social dialogue. the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee. In the new system of powers created by the Constitution. it must be respected in the acts of the Member States and of the institutions when they implement EU law. having consulted the European Parliament. in the definition and implementation of its policies and actions. • a European framework law establishes minimum requirements. there were two distinct legal bases for social policy: the EC Treaty itself and a separate agreement that the United Kingdom had not signed. • European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) • Social dialogue • Social policy • Social Policy Agreement Last updated: 04. once the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions have been consulted (ordinary legislative procedure). See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) • Social dialogue • Social Charter (Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers) • Social partners 129 . promoting innovative approaches and evaluating experiences (the open method of coordination). proper social protection.2005 [Back] Social policy The Treaty of Amsterdam incorporated the Agreement on social policy signed by eleven Member States into the Treaty establishing the European Community. However. all the measures are brought together in Title XI of the EC Treaty. Between 1993 and 1999. according to a general clause created by the Constitution – which is currently in the process of ratification – the Union must. workforce training to achieve a high and sustainable level of employment and combating exclusion. Now. developing exchanges of information and best practices.05. improving working conditions. Depending on the area in question. The social policy objectives defined in the EC Treaty and included in the text of the European Constitution were inspired by the 1961 European Social Charter and the 1989 Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers: promoting employment.

developing human resources. this Social Policy Agreement was annexed to the Social Policy Protocol.05. Along the same lines. improving living and working conditions. It sets out the policy objectives for which the 1989 Social Charter paved the way: promoting employment.2005 [Back] Social Policy Agreement The Social Policy Agreement was signed by 11 of the Member States in December 1991. The Social Policy Agreement was then incorporated into the Social Chapter of the EC Treaty through the Treaty of Amsterdam. combating exclusion. In practical terms the Pact comprises a European Council resolution (adopted at Amsterdam on 17 June 1997) and two Council Regulations of 7 July 1997 laying detailed technical arrangements (one on the surveillance of budgetary positions and coordination of economic policies and the other on implementing the excessive deficit procedure). etc. the United Kingdom announced that it intended to drop its opt-out. Following the election of a new government in May 1997. States not taking part in the third stage of EMU are required to submit a convergence programme. When it was signed. It also lays down the procedure for adopting social policy measures and acknowledges the vital part played by management and labour in this field.2005 [Back] Stability and Growth Pact The Stability and Growth Pact has to be seen against the background of the third stage of economic and monetary union. This also involved the formal abolition of the Social Policy Protocol. but it could be converted into a fine if the excessive 130 . which began on 1 January 1999. the mechanism by which the United Kingdom allowed the other Member States to advance on the social policy front without taking part itself. Initially. See: • Single institutional framework • Social Charter (Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers) • Social dialogue • Social policy Last updated: 04. Its aim is to ensure that the Member States continue their budgetary discipline efforts once the single currency has been introduced. • Social Policy Agreement Last updated: 04. The Stability and Growth Pact opens the way for the Council to penalise any participating Member State which fails to take appropriate measures to end an excessive deficit. the penalty would take the form of a non-interest-bearing deposit with the Community.05. The United Kingdom opted out. In the medium term the Member States have undertaken to pursue the objective of a balanced or nearly balanced budget and to present the Council and the Commission with a stability programme by 1 March 1999 (the programme will then be updated annually).

any advantage conferred by the State is regarded as state aid where: • it confers an economic advantage on the recipient. • it is granted selectively to certain enterprises or products. the Commission has clarified the conditions under which other forms of state aid pursuing horizontal objectives such as regional development aid. employment aid.deficit is not corrected within two years. be incompatible with the common market. • it may distort competition. etc. the prior notification requirement is relaxed by the Regulation on horizontal state aid.05. insofar as it affects trade between Member States. Accordingly. However. The prohibition applies to a whole panoply of aid measures. By drafting new Community guidelines and frameworks. whether direct (grants) or indirect (e. aid for small and medium-sized enterprises and aid of minor importance.g.2005 [Back] 131 . See: • Competition Last updated: 04. environmental aid and research aid may be granted." The European Commission and the Court of Justice have placed a very broad interpretation on the concept of "aid" as regards the body granting it.2005 [Back] State aid Article 87 (formerly Article 92) of the EC Treaty states that "any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall. measures that relieve an enterprise of financial charges) and regardless of their basis or purpose. which authorises the Commission to exempt by way of regulation certain categories of aid including training aid. there is no fixed rule concerning these penalties: they will be subject to Council assessment which takes into consideration country-specific circumstances. an absolute prohibition of state aid is impossible and Article 87(2) and (3) provides for a number of exemptions for aid that is compatible with the internal market and for aid that may be compatible under certain conditions.05. See: • Convergence criteria • Economic and Monetary Union Last updated: 04. On the basis of Article 88 (formerly Article 93) of the Treaty. However. • it affects trade between Member States. the procedural Regulation on state aid stipulates that any aid or any aid scheme must be notified to the Commission and approved by it before being implemented. which may range from the State itself to a regional or local authority. However. from a body over which the State directly or indirectly exerts a decisive influence to a private-sector enterprise or a public corporation.

mainly by funding training measures. Spain. and up to 85% in certain cases. which will result in the number of Structural Funds being reduced to two (ERDF and ESF). the European Union set up a Cohesion Fund in 1994. Since enlargement to 25 Member States.5 billion. social and territorial cohesion. and urban and public transport. Since 1975 it has provided support for the creation of infrastructure and productive job- creating investment. subject to certain conditions. comprising EUR 195 billion for the Structural Funds and EUR 18 billion for the Cohesion Fund. mainly for businesses. The budget allocated to regional policy for the period 2000-06 is EUR 213 billion. however. Structural Fund and Cohesion Fund support always involves part-financing. the 10 new Member States have been eligible for the Cohesion Fund. The support granted is. There are four Structural Funds: • the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is currently the largest. It represents 35% of the Community budget and is the second-largest budget item. i. All projects must of course comply with EU legislation. together with the Cohesion Fund. which is intended to narrow the development disparities among regions and Member States. intermodal transport. The intensity of the aid granted depends on the extent to which the region in which the project is carried out is lagging behind. It is intended for countries whose per capita GDP is below 90% of the Community average. Portugal and. in pursuing the goal of economic. It has two sections: a "Guidance" section providing support for rural development measures and aid for farmers in the rural areas of the European Union. • the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) has existed since 1993.e. 75% of eligible expenditure is granted in regions whose development is lagging furthest behind ("Objective 1" regions). Ireland. This rate may be reduced in accordance with the "polluter pays" principle or where a project generates income. This Fund has a budget of EUR 18 billion for the period 2000-06. no new project will be approved until the deficit has been brought under control. • the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) is the financing tool for the common agricultural policy and for rural development. therefore. If the public deficit of a beneficiary Member State exceeds 3% of national GDP (EMU convergence rules). Regional policy is currently undergoing a reform. particularly with regard to competition. • the European Social Fund (ESF). The funding allocated to them amounts to EUR°8. The Funds participate fully. See: • Agenda 2000 132 . social and territorial convergence. and a "Guarantee" section mainly financing internal market organisations. The scope of the Cohesion Fund is to be extended to include renewable energies. the environment and public procurement. contributes to the integration into working life of the unemployed and disadvantaged sections of the population. It seeks to adjust and modernise equipment and material in this sector and to diversify the economies of areas dependent on fishing. While 50% is the norm. In order to speed up economic. by 2006.Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund are the financial instruments of European Union (EU) regional policy. Greece. until the end of 2003. The purpose of the Cohesion Fund is to grant financing to environment and transport infrastructure projects. set up in 1958.

Two of the things this Protocol introduces are the systematic analysis of the impact of legislative proposals on the principle of subsidiarity and the use. which require that any action by the Union should not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty. See: • Committee of the Regions • Delimitation of competences • National parliaments • Simplification of legislation Last updated: 04. of less binding Community measures. 2 and 3 Last updated: 04. The establishment of an early-warning system regarding respect for the subsidiarity principle will enable national parliaments to ask the Commission to review a legislative proposal if they consider that it violates the principle. which enshrines subsidiarity in the EU Treaty. The European Constitution currently being ratified provides for enhancing the subsidiarity principle. regional or local level. Its conclusions were set out in a declaration that still serves as the cornerstone of the subsidiarity principle. social and territorial cohesion • European Employment Strategy (EES) • Objectives 1. Specifically.2005 [Back] Subsidiary powers Article 308 of the EC Treaty (former Article 235) reflects the realisation by those who drafted the Treaty of Rome that the powers specifically allocated to the Community (executive powers) might not be adequate for the purpose of attaining the objectives expressly set by the Treaties themselves (competence ratione materiae). it is the principle whereby the Union does not take action (except in the areas which fall within its exclusive competence) unless it is more effective than action taken at national.05. • Economic.05. The Edinburgh European Council of December 1992 defined the basic principles underlying subsidiarity and laid down guidelines for interpreting Article 5. in particular by means of an obligation for the Union institutions to inform national parliaments at all stages of the legislative procedure. where possible. 133 . The Treaty of Amsterdam has taken up the approach that follows from this declaration in a Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality annexed to the EC Treaty. It is closely bound up with the principles of proportionality and necessity. regional or local level.2005 [Back] Subsidiarity The subsidiarity principle is intended to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made as to whether action at Community level is justified in the light of the possibilities available at national.

05. since it lays down that "If action by the Community should prove necessary to attain ." Since this provision gives the European Parliament a purely consultative role which does not take into account Parliament's current legislative powers. one of the objectives of the Community and this Treaty has not provided the necessary powers.g. On a proposal by one third of the Member States. use of Article 308 as a legal basis is often accompanied by other Treaty articles which accord Parliament a greater legislative role. its voting rights in the Council) may be suspended if it seriously and persistently breaches the principles on which the Union is founded (liberty. take the appropriate measures.2005 [Back] Sustainable development The concept of sustainable development refers to a form of economic growth which satisfies society's needs in terms of well-being in the short. acting by a majority of four fifths of its members after obtaining the assent of the European Parliament.above all - long term. and address appropriate recommendations to it. 134 . the Council. The Treaty of Nice added a preventive mechanism to this procedure. democracy. But its obligations would still be binding. Under this clause.. and the rule of law). acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament. See: • Charter of Fundamental Rights • Human rights Last updated: 04. respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. its improper use could upset the institutional balance.. To avoid this. may determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of these fundamental principles by a Member State. by the Commission or by the European Parliament.This article can be used to bridge that gap.2005 [Back] Suspension clause The suspension clause was written into the EU Treaty (Article 7) by the Treaty of Amsterdam. See: • Community powers • Council of the European Union • Delimitation of competences • Institutional balance • Subsidiarity Last updated: 04. It is founded on the assumption that development must meet today's needs without jeopardising the prospects for growth of future generations. the Council shall. some of a Member State's rights (e.05. medium and .

managed by the European Commission. transport.05. was confirmed in the Maastricht Treaty. agriculture. chemicals. See: • Competitiveness • Energy • Environment • Globalisation of the economy • Kyoto Protocol • Precautionary Principle Last updated: 04.2005 [Back] T TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office) TAIEX. It also assists the transposition and implementation of the acquis in the applicant countries. biodiversity. Some Council configurations also presented strategies for integrating the environment into their policies. work programmes and timetables were approved in the areas of water. was created in response to a proposal in the White Paper on the preparation of the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe for integration into the Union's internal market (May 1995). the energy. fisheries and economic policies. Since 1997 it has covered all the applicant countries and the whole of the Community acquis.The principle of integrating environmental concerns into the formulation and implementation of other policies. industry. oceans. internal market. It has a key role in the process of assessing whether the legislation of the applicant countries conforms with Community legislation (screening). fisheries resources. energy. and was given an external dimension by the global partnership for sustainable development which the Commission adopted in 2002. the European Union decided to review its sustainable development strategy in light of the numerous changes that had taken place since it was adopted in 2001. TAIEX deals with the public administrations in the applicant countries and the Member States and private-sector associations. A European Union strategy for sustainable development was adopted in May 2001. In 1998 the Cardiff Summit laid the foundations for coordinated action on the Community plan to integrate these environmental concerns. development. It provides the legal texts of the Community acquis and organises training seminars and visits by experts to countries which so request. which is essential if we are to achieve sustainable development. Accordingly. new objectives. This service. The European Union committed itself to achieve objectives which go even further than those set in Johannesburg by the other participants. sustainable production and consumption. the Commission's technical assistance office. was originally intended to assist and inform the countries of Central and Eastern Europe on single market legislation so as to facilitate its implementation. inter alia. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in August- September 2002. and sustainable development strategies. the Commission presented a series of communications on the integration of the environment into. When the new European Commission took up its duties in November 2004. 135 .

the revision of the common system of taxation applicable to mergers. when the final VAT system has been decided by the Council. but the decision-making procedure for taxation requires a unanimous vote in the Council. • an act to remedy distortions in the effective taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments (Directive on the taxation of cross-border income from savings – June 2003).05. the Commission now encourages the use of the "closer cooperation" procedure introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam and developed by the Treaty of Nice. VAT and excise rates have been brought into closer alignment in the different Member States. they will be taxed in the country of origin. Various Commission proposals are currently being scrutinised by the Council. • a common system of taxation applicable to interest and royalty payments made between associated companies (Interest and Royalty Payments Directive – June 2003). Border controls on VAT were abolished with the introduction of the single market in 1993. See: 136 . See: • Community acquis • Enlargement • Incorporation of the Community acquis • Phare • Screening Last updated: 04. It also encourages the Member States to adopt recommendations aimed at eliminating harmful tax obstacles. This procedure enables the Commission to propose that a group of at least eight Member States may cooperate on a given matter after receiving the approval of the Council acting by qualified majority. The adoption of the single currency is making it increasingly urgent to establish truly common rates of VAT and common rules for corporate taxation in the European Union. divisions. there is still no genuine Community policy on taxation.2005 [Back] Taxation Despite the introduction of a single market and economic and monetary union. Up to now this has acted as a brake on the adoption of common rules for direct and indirect taxation. Specific provisions are laid down in Articles 90 to 93 of the EC Treaty. products are taxed in the country of purchase but eventually. Today. As part of a tax package aimed at countering harmful tax competition.TAIEX supplements Phare and other aid programmes since it responds to individual requests in areas of the acquis which are not covered by those programmes. In order to avoid these obstacles. Furthermore. the Council has adopted: • a Code of Conduct on business taxation (December 1997). notably the reform of the common VAT system. rather than binding legislative proposals. transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States and the revision of the Community framework on charging for the use of transport infrastructure (“Eurovignette” Directive).

In 1999. the Directive on universal service and users rights and the Directive on privacy. In 1993.2005 [Back] 137 . As of 1994. The new regulatory framework .05. The adoption of common rules allowed the conditions of access to the market for new operators to be harmonised. • Closer cooperation • Council of the European Union • Customs union • Economic and Monetary Union • European Commission Last updated: 04.is made up of five harmonising directives: the framework Directive. in the context of a developing 'Information Society'. It was extended in 1994 to satellite communications and broadcasting services and then. the Directive on authorisation. In 1988. Various initiatives were adopted on the harmonisation of mobile (single European GSM standard) and satellite communications standards. on access to the local loop. also adopted in 2002. The European Community is also actively promoting and supporting the deployment of third generation (3G) mobile communication. and the integrated services digital network (ISDN). This was accompanied by the Decision of 2002 on radio spectrum policy and the Regulation. general liberalisation of telecommunications structures was presented as the way to develop multimedia.05. In the second phase of this development. the Directive on access and interconnection. The general aim was to improve access to the information society by striking a balance between regulation of the sector and Europe's competition rules. a directive adopted in 1990 liberalised telecommunications services other than voice telephony. the European Commission began the huge task of recasting Europe's regulatory framework for telecommunications. an open telecommunications infrastructure and services network (ONP) was put in place from 1990. in 1996. a directive opened up the telecommunications terminals markets to competition. See: • eEurope • Information Society • Trans-European Networks (TEN) • Universal service Last updated: 04. At the same time.2005 [Back] Telecommunications With a view to completion of the internal market. to cable television networks and mobile communications.also referred to as the "telecoms package" . the Council of Ministers decided to fully liberalise voice telephony services by 1 January 1998. telecommunications liberalisation emerged as a priority for the European Community in 1987 (Green Paper on the development of the common market for telecommunications services and equipment).

05.2005 [Back] Title VI of the EU Treaty Introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht.contained provisions establishing cooperation on justice and home affairs. whenever possible. • the requirement for TV channels to reserve. which covers its policies and functioning. protection of minors (measures against programmes of a violent or pornographic nature) and the right of reply. provides for the elimination of the "pillar" structure. it considers that an in-depth review of the Directive could be necessary in the medium term in order to take account of technological developments and changes in the structure of the audiovisual market. the European Commission launched a wide-ranging public consultation in 2003 in order to ascertain stakeholders' opinions on the functioning of the regulatory framework created by the Directive. the TWF Directive has been undergoing a revision process. See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) Last updated: 04. See: • Audiovisual • Culture • Public service Last updated: 04. objectives and institutional provisions. contains the provisions establishing a common foreign and security policy (CFSP). more than half of their transmission time for European works ("broadcasting quotas"). 138 . the special features of decision-making procedures in this field and occasional recourse to a qualified majority will be maintained. The European Constitution. In this connection.05. Since June 2001. the TWF Directive aims to safeguard certain important public interest objectives. also known as the "second pillar". However. In the new structure the provisions concerning the CFSP will be divided between Part I. Adopted in 1989 and amended in 1997. In parallel with these basic principles.or the "third pillar" . the Commission felt that the current market situation did not require an immediate review of the Directive. Title VI of the EU Treaty . However. which covers the Union’s principles. Detailed rules on the content and frequency of television advertising have also been introduced. the Directive has two basic principles: • the free movement of European television programmes within the internal market.2005 [Back] Title V of the EU Treaty (CFSP) Title V of the EU Treaty. In the light of the results of this consultation process.Television without frontiers The Television without Frontiers (TWF) Directive is the cornerstone of audiovisual policy in the European Community. such as cultural diversity. currently being ratified. and Part III.

05.69 billion for the period 2006-2013. they are at the very heart of the eEurope "An Information Society for All" initiative. However. Trans-European Networks exist in three sectors of activity: • Transport TENs (TEN-T).The Treaty of Amsterdam has transferred a large number of fields that used to come under Title VI to a new Title IV of the EC Treaty ("Visas. waterways and sea ports. Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters remains under Title VI of the EU Treaty. asylum. does away with the third pillar. Title XV of the Treaty of Amsterdam provides the legal basis for Trans-European Networks (TEN). Strongly focused on public services. Title III. The investment needed to complete the TENs by 2020 is considerable. Accordingly. Their objectives are to establish a single energy market and achieve security of supply. Chapter IV).2005 [Back] Trans-European Networks (TEN) Since the Single European Act (1986). Beyond the EU’s border. The European Constitution. the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF). The existing provisions of the EC and EU Treaties in the field of justice and home affairs are now grouped within a single chapter (Part III. Title IV of the EC Treaty and Title VI of the EU Treaty now constitute the legal bases for an area of freedom. immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons"). goods and capital has failed to smooth out regional and national disparities within the European Union. as does Galileo. the smooth functioning of the single market has been firmly linked to the objective of economic. Intelligent transport management systems also fall into this category. Enlargement to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe has reinforced the importance of the TENs by extending their scope to the entire continent. For the period 2000-2006 a total of 4. See: • Common transport policy 139 . the interconnection and interoperability of national infrastructure networks have emerged as key factors for the coherent planning of Community territory. which is currently being ratified. • Energy TENs (TEN-E) concern the electricity and natural gas sectors. social and territorial cohesion. • Telecommunication TENs (eTEN) seek to deploy electronic services based on telecommunication networks. their efficient connection to the networks of third countries to the east (Russia and the countries of the CIS) and to the south (countries of the Mediterranean basin) will be conducive to economic development and equilibrium. with further contributions from ERDF. the Cohesion Fund. security and justice. as well as the European high-speed railway network. with major priority projects covering road and combined transport. the free movement of persons.6 billion has been earmarked for the TEN budget. security and justice • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Pillars of the European Union Last updated: 04. See: • Area of freedom. The European Commission proposes to increase the budget for TENs almost five-fold to EUR 20. Europe's future satellite radio navigation programme.

See: • Consolidation of legislation . It is linked to a variety of demands for broader public access to information and EU documents. the two institutions incorporated specific provisions on access to their documents into their rules of procedure. Council and Commission documents. On the basis of this code of conduct. greater involvement in the decision-making process and more easily readable texts (simplification of the Treaties.formal/official • Consolidation of legislation .05. defence.2005 [Back] 140 . in that it provides for two exceptions: cases in which access is automatically refused (for reasons of public security. which is not significantly different from previous texts. for example). This gives all citizens of the Union. the Council and the Commission adopted a code of conduct establishing common principles for the two institutions following a Council decision on 20 December 1993. The Treaty of Amsterdam has inserted a new Article 255 on transparency in the EC Treaty. the right of access to European Parliament.05. Complaints regarding a lack of transparency tend to reflect a general feeling that the European institutions are remote and secretive and that decision-making procedures are difficult for the ordinary European citizen to understand. This article was implemented by the Regulation of 30 May 2001. With specific reference to access to documents.2005 [Back] Transparency (access to documents) The term "transparency" is frequently used in Community language to mean openness in the working of the Community institutions. • Economic. plus all natural or legal persons residing or having their registered offices in a Member State. social and territorial cohesion • eEurope • European Investment Bank (EIB) • Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund • Telecommunications Last updated: 04. international relations) and cases in which access is refused except where there is an overriding public interest in disclosure (protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person. consolidation and better drafting of legislation).informal/declaratory • Clarity of the Treaties (simplification of the Treaties) • Democratic deficit • Governance • Recasting of legislation • Simplification of legislation • Transparency of Council proceedings Last updated: 04.

the Council adopted (in October 1995) a Code of Conduct which enables the public to gain access whenever the Council is acting in its legislative role. Under the Treaty of Amsterdam. • public access to Council minutes and the attached statements giving details of the voting. It entered into force on 1 May 1999 (the first day of the second month following ratification by the last Member State) 141 . The general public can now consult the results and explanations of Council votes and all Council statements on the application or interpretation of legislation under preparation. It states that any citizen of the European Union and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State has a right of access to European Parliament.05.Transparency of Council proceedings In the debate concerning the transparency of Council proceedings. Moreover.g. in the same way as all the other European institutions. the Council must make a register of documents available to the public and must reply to the citizens who have the right to request access to these documents. its deliberations remain secret but it holds some open debates (e. in a report concerning the internal procedure to be followed. The Council can also decide to make a debate public if the majority of its members are in favour. The plan is to make Council sessions public when it is debating and voting on draft legislation. Council or Commission documents. a new Article on transparency was written into the EC Treaty (Article 255). The practical arrangements for such access were laid down by the Permanent Representatives Committee in November 1995. On the question of public access and details of the votes cast by Member States. the Council has pursued the following policy: as a general rule. Since amending its Rules of Procedure in December 1993. See: • Coreper • Council of the European Union • Governance • Transparency (access to documents) Last updated: 04. As a result of Article 255 the Council once again amended its Rules of Procedure. attention is focused on two main points: • public access to the Council's proceedings. which is currently being ratified. but there are some exceptions. marks significant progress in terms of the transparency of the Council’s work. When legislation is adopted by codecision. on the Presidency's six-monthly work programme).2005 [Back] Treaty of Amsterdam The Treaty of Amsterdam is the result of the Intergovernmental Conference launched at the Turin European Council on 29 March 1996. It was adopted at the Amsterdam European Council on 16 and 17 June 1997 and signed on 2 October 1997 by the Foreign Ministers of the fifteen Member States. the debates following the Commission’s presentation of its draft legislation and final deliberations leading to a vote are public. The European Constitution. The Council’s Rules of Procedure state that debates are confidential.

It does not replace the other Treaties. it stands alongside them. transferring to the Communities some of the areas in the field of justice and home affairs (JHA). it will repeal and replace the Treaty of Nice. extending qualified-majority voting and enabling closer cooperation between Member States. rather. the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts.05.2005 [Back] Treaty of Nice Adopted at the Nice European Council in December 2000. creating a Community employment policy. and signed on 26 February 2001. the objective of which was to gear the working of the European institutions before the arrival of new Member States. reforming the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). which was signed in Athens in April 2003 and entered into force on the day of enlargement. It is the result of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) that began in February 2000. From the legal point of view. sets out the next steps to be taken to deepen the institutional reforms and to make sure that the Treaty of Nice is just one stage in this process. extending qualified majority voting. The main changes made by the Treaty of Nice relate to limiting the size and composition of the Commission.after ratification by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. a new weighting of votes within the Council and making the strengthened cooperation arrangements more flexible. 1 May 2004. which is currently being ratified. When the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe enters into force. • Debate on the future of the European Union • European Convention • Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) • Laeken Declaration • Treaty of Nice: a comprehensive guide Last updated: 04. The Treaty of Nice opened the way to the institutional reform needed for the EU enlargement with the accession of countries from eastern and southern Europe. Some of the provisions it contains were adapted by the Accession Treaty. the Member State which held it for the preceding six months and the Member State which will hold it for the next six months. the Treaty amends certain provisions of the EU Treaty.05. See: • Amsterdam Treaty: a Comprehensive Guide Last updated: 04. the Treaty of Nice entered into force on 1 February 2003. The European Constitution. The Declaration on the Future of the Union. annexed to the Treaty. completes the process of reforming the Union. The Troïka is assisted by the 142 .2005 [Back] Troïka The "Troïka" consists of the Member State which currently holds the Presidency of the Council.

and by the Commission. still operate largely according to the intergovernmental method and the unanimity requirement. including matters such as taxation linked to the internal market or minimum social security standards. and as this has become more difficult in an enlarged Europe. But there are 72 circumstances in which voting will be by unanimity.2005 [Back] U Unanimity The term "unanimity" refers to the requirement for all the Member States meeting in the Council to be in agreement before a proposal can be adopted. The Troïka in its present form has been altered by the Treaty of Amsterdam and replaced by a system whereby the Presidency is assisted by the Secretary-General of the Council. asylum. What is known as a “bridge” clause allows the changeover to QMV in certain cases.Commission and represents the Union in external relations coming under the common foreign and security policy.05. the unanimity requirement has applied in a much more limited area than before. In view of the challenge posed by enlargement and the consequences in terms of unanimity. Since the Single European Act. voting by qualified majority is now the rule. As some decisions are still taken by unanimity. In the context of the first pillar. The second and third pillars. however. See: • Double majority • Common commercial policy • Community 'bridge' (Title VI of the EU Treaty) • Free movement of persons (visas. immigration and other policies) • Justice and home affairs (JHA) • Pillars of the European Union • Qualified majority • Single institutional framework • Treaty of Nice • Weighting of votes in the Council Last updated: 04. the European Constitution currently being ratified restricts the use of the procedure and makes the qualified majority the general procedure. in his capacity as High Representative for the common foreign and security policy. the Treaty of Nice has extended the scope of qualified majority voting to other areas and other provisions of Community policy and to a number of matters relating to the common foreign and security policy and the justice and home affairs policy.2005 [Back] 143 . See: • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • High Representative for the CFSP (Mr/Mrs CFSP) Last updated: 04.05.

constituencies. Greece. the Council and the Parliament finally agreed on four points which harmonise the electoral process in European elections while taking account of the current situation: • the uniform voting method is proportional representation using a list. The European Constitution. Germany. • the vote can be preferential. voting and eligibility conditions and boosting equality.2005 [Back] Universal service Universal service is a concept developed by the Community institutions. which is currently being ratified. The other Member States have a number of constituencies: Ireland. • the minimum threshold for obtaining a seat in the Parliament is 5% of votes cast. A procedure like this is important because it would ensure that different European political tendencies are more faithfully represented in the European Parliament. the United Kingdom. which passed a law in April 2003 replacing the single constituency system with eight interregional constituencies. Poland and France. whereby the whole country forms one constituency. The aim is to ensure that all users have access to quality services at an affordable price. Belgium. social and territorial cohesion 144 . After a number of debates and disagreements. this is not the currently the case. or a single. Italy. It refers to the set of general interest demands to which services such as telecommunications and the mail should be subject throughout the Community. the majority of Member States have adopted the system of a single constituency. See: • Economic. • the different (national or regional) constituencies may remain unchanged as long as they do not impede proportional representation. requires a European law or framework law to set out the measures needed to standardise the election process. the application of proportional representation. in particular concerning the dates of elections. either using a uniform procedure in each Member State or in accordance with shared principles. the number of mandates that may be held concurrently. Regional constituencies should be established at a later date in States with a population of over 20 million. In the long term the Parliament wants to move towards having a single constituency at European Union level.Uniform electoral procedure of the European Parliament The Treaty establishing the European Community requires the European Parliament to draw up proposals to allow its members to be elected by direct universal suffrage. In terms of electoral constituencies. Most of the rules concerning voting and elections remain distinct.05. as regional lists exist alongside national ones. See: • European Parliament • European political parties • Rules governing Members of the European Parliament • Treaty of Nice Last updated: 04. However. transferable vote (Ireland only).

should apply until 31 October 2009. enshrined in the Nice Treaty.2005 [Back] V 'Variable-geometry' Europe 'Variable-geometry' Europe is the term used to describe the idea of a method of differentiated integration which acknowledges that there are irreconcilable differences within the integration structure and therefore allows for a permanent separation between a group of Member States and a number of less developed integration units. the weighting of votes is the result of a compromise between Member States which. Under the new weighting system. The number of votes of the most populous countries has thereby been increased further relative to the others in order for the legitimacy of the Council's decisions to be maintained in terms of demographic representation. A decision must have at least 232 votes out of 321 to be adopted. those with medium-sized populations will have between 7 and 14 otes and the "small countries" will have 3 or 4 votes. came into force on 1 November 2004 and. since it has given legitimacy to the decisions taken. With a view to enlargement.2005 [Back] W Weighting of votes in the Council When a decision is taken by qualified majority in the Council. with an adjustment which leads to relative over- representation of the countries with a small population. See: • Closer cooperation • Single institutional framework Last updated: 04. One factor determining the number of votes a Member State has is the size of its population. the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) implemented a revision of the scale of weightings to ensure that the relative weight of the "small" and "medium-sized" countries is not out of proportion to the size of their population. in normal circumstances. the Member States with the largest populations will have 27 or 29 votes. • General-interest services • Public service • Public service charter • Services of general economic interest Last updated: 04. With the current distribution of votes it is impossible for the "large" countries to combine to put the "small" countries in a minority and vice versa.05.05. This system has worked well so far. differ in various respects. The new system of weighting. The purpose of the system is to ensure that decisions taken by qualified majority have the broadest possible support. 145 . although equal in law.

such as the police detachment in Mostar or cooperation with the police in Albania. Ireland and Sweden . refers to NATO as the foundation of the collective defence of those States which are members of it and the forum for its implementation. ten are full Member States.05. were hived off to the Union on 1 January 2002. while the remaining five . Latvia. Denmark. Of the EU-15 countries. See: • Collective defence • Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) • European security and defence identity • European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) • 'New-look' NATO 146 . Lithuania. Observers and Associate Partners. the paragraph concerned was deleted by the Treaty of Nice.2005 [Back] Western European Union (WEU) Set up in 1948 by the Treaty of Brussels. Norway. a primary responsibility of the WEU. Finland. the Security Studies Institute and the Satellite Centre. In the Treaty of Amsterdam the WEU was defined as an integral part of the development of the Union because it gave the EU operational capability in the field of defence.The European Constitution. Iceland. It consists of 28 countries with four different statuses: Member States. Poland and Turkey. The WEU's subsidiary bodies. However. The six Associate Members are the Czech Republic. Estonia.have observer status. Collective defence. However. The transfer of the WEU's operational capabilities to the Union attests to this. currently being ratified. does away with the system of weighting votes in the Council and replaces it with a new definition of qualified-majority voting. and there are seven Associate Partners: Bulgaria. Romania. Slovakia and Slovenia. Associate Members. The European Constitution.Austria. it now seems to have abandoned that role in favour of developing the Union's own structures and capabilities in the sphere of the European security and defence policy (ESDP). The WEU did indeed play a major role in the first Petersberg tasks. Hungary. See: • Composition of the European Commission • Double majority • Enlargement • Ioannina compromise • Qualified majority • Reinforced qualified majority • Unanimity Last updated: 04. the WEU is a European organisation for the purposes of cooperation on defence and security. which is currently being ratified by the Member States. The Treaty of Nice also deleted from the Treaty on European Union a number of provisions concerning relations between the WEU and the Union. now falls within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) sphere of competence.

it can become the action programme for the Union in the area concerned. Examples include the White Papers on the completion of the internal market. on growth.2005 [Back] White Paper Commission White Papers are documents containing proposals for Community action in a specific area. See: • Council of the European Union • European Commission • Green Paper Last updated: 04.05.2005 [Back] 147 . • Petersberg tasks Last updated: 04.05. competitiveness and employment and the approximation of the laws of the associated states of Central and Eastern Europe in areas of relevance to the internal market. In some cases they follow a Green Paper published to launch a consultation process at European level. When a White Paper has been favourably received by the Council.