Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 24 May 2006
1. What is meant by ‘legislative package’?
The European Union budget is mainly disbursed through programmes, which match the Union’s political objectives with its financial means. Each programme has specific objectives, duration and resources. These are indicated in a legislative text (‘legal bases’). The Commission comes forward with proposals of legal bases at various intervals in the so-called proposal ‘packages’. In certain cases, several legal bases relate to one programme. Consequently, there may be fewer programmes than legal bases.
2. Why was there a need to revise the proposals and to present new ones?
The recent agreement on the Financial Framework 2007-2013 sets the global level of commitment appropriations at € 864.3 billion (at 2004 prices). The revised and the new proposals reflect these financial adjustments and priorities agreed by the Commission, Parliament and the Council in the Interinstitutional Agreement.
For more information on the Interinstitutional Agreement, see Memo 06/204.
3. How many legal bases were adopted by the Commission today? What programmes are affected?
The current legislative package includes 26 revised and 5 new proposals, covering a large number of EU programmes and policy areas. The programmes affected under the Financial Framework headings are as follows:
Sub-heading 1a: Competitiveness for growth and employment:
The proposal provides new impetus to increase Europe’s growth and competitiveness, recognising that knowledge is Europe’s greatest resource. The programme places greater emphasis on research that is relevant to the needs of European industry, to help it compete internationally, and develop its role as a world leader in certain sectors. It will also for the first time provide support for the best in European investigator-driven research, with the creation of a European Research Council. Focus will be on excellence throughout the programme, a requirement if it is to play its role in developing Europe’s global competitiveness.
The Commission adopted changes to the
Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council laying down rules for the
granting of Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks for
transport and energy. The amount for transport is almost double of what has been
available under the current financial framework 2000-2006.
The biggest industrial project of the EU is a partnership with the private sector; currently negotiations are on-going between the Galileo Joint Undertaking and a consortium of leading European companies in spatial activities. Galileo will consist of 30 satellites which will enable maximum coverage of the Earth, and give it a competitive advantage in measuring objects in time and in space. It is expected that Galileo will create 150,000 highly qualified jobs within the EU alone. The financial burden-sharing of the deployment phase of Galileo is currently being negotiated based on a formula where one third of the deployment phase of the system is paid for by the EU and two thirds by the private sector.
* Comenius: for school partnerships and networks, and teacher exchanges. Target: involvement of 3 million pupils in the 2007-13 period.
* Erasmus: for student mobility and university cooperation. Target: 3 million student mobilities by 2012.
* Leonardo da Vinci: for placements in enterprises abroad for trainees and young workers and trainers, and cooperation projects between vocational training institutes and enterprise. Target: 80,000 placements in 2013.
* Grundtvig: for trans-national partnerships, networks and mobility in adult education. Target: 7,000 mobilities in 2013.
As from 2007, the Commission plans to
regroup the four Community Action Programmes covering anti-discrimination,
gender equality, employment incentive measures and the fight against social
exclusion which provide financial support to the EU's Social Policy Agenda. This
single programme PROGRESS will complement the European Social Fund as
well as the financial support provided for social dialogue, free movement of
workers and social studies. With less red tape, simpler rules and more
decentralisation to the Member States, it will be both easier to manage and
better equipped to tackle the challenges of globalisation, Europe's ageing
population and a bigger and more diverse Union.
Heading 2: Preservation and Management of Natural Resources:
These proposals set out how Rural Development funds will be attributed and the practical arrangements for the system of “voluntary modulation” agreed by the European Council. The Commission proposes that money transferred to Rural Development under voluntary modulation should be spent in line with the minimum spending rates for the three priorities (“axes”) set out in the RD regulation. The proposal confirms the individual national allocations of RD money agreed by the Council and that the remaining budget will be distributed using the historical allocation key.
The implementation, updating and development of Community environmental policy and legislation including the integration of the environment into other policies - the programme will focus on Combating climate change and decline in Europe’s biodiversity, promoting health and quality of life, and the sustainable management of waste and natural resources. It may also promote strategic approaches to environment policy development, communication and dissemination of best practices.
Heading 3a: Freedom, Security and Justice:
It fosters solidarity between Member States in the efforts they make in receiving asylum seekers, refugees and displaced persons and supports action to promote their social and economic integration. It may also be used to finance emergency measures to provide temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of refugees.
It aims to improve the management of the return of illegal migrants by, for example, encouraging co-operation with the countries of return (in full compliance with humanitarian principles and respect for the dignity of the person).
It aims to improve control efficiency at the external border of the EU, while ensuring smooth crossing by bona fide travellers.
The programme facilitates action against violence understood in the widest sense, from sexual abuse to domestic violence, from commercial exploitation to bullying in schools, from trafficking to discrimination-based violence against handicapped, minority, migrant or other vulnerable people. It is complementary to programmes in the Member States and promotes the exchange of good practices across the EU.
The programme: A) promotes trans-national actions to
set up multidisciplinary networks; B) facilitates the exchange of information
and the identification and dissemination of good practice; C) raises awareness
of the health and social problems caused by drug use; D) involve civil society
in the implementation and development of the EU’s Drugs Strategy and
Action plans, E) monitors, implements and evaluates the implementation of
specific actions under the Drugs Action Plans.
Heading 3b: Citizenship:
The proposal foresees three broad objectives: improving citizens’ health security, promoting health to improve prosperity and solidarity and improving knowledge on health. The programme addresses key concerns such as healthy ageing, health inequalities across the EU, gender health issues and cross-border issues including patient mobility. The Action Programme is the means by which the EU can implement its aim to “protect and improve public health” by financially supporting projects in the Member States that seek to address these issues.
is the means by which the EU can implement its aim to “contribute to
protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, and promoting
their right to information and education”. It enables the EU to support
consumer organisations, to enforce EU consumer legislation, and to financially
support projects in the Member States that contribute to these aims. The
programme for 2007-2013 will have two main objectives: to ensure high levels of
consumer protection, through effective representation of consumer interests, and
to ensure that consumer protection rules are effectively applied, i.e. through
enforcement, cooperation, information, education and redress.
The programme will primarily aim to promote young people’s experience of European citizenship by offering them ways and means to make citizenship more concrete, through various forms of active engagement at European level, as well as at national and local levels. It should seek to promote solidarity among young people, in order to strengthen social cohesion in the Union and to promote mutual understanding in different countries. It should also promote the sense of initiative, the creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit of young people and to make it possible for them to acquire the competences essential to their personal and professional development.
Finally, it should contribute to developing the quality of support systems for youth activities and the ability of youth organisations to foster youth activities and to promote European cooperation on youth policy. The avowed aim is to maximise the impact of Community action at national, regional and local levels, whilst fully abiding by the principle of subsidiarity. In order to achieve these aims, the programme will have five separate and mutually complementary strands.
Heading 4: The EU as a Global Player:
This instrument covers countries targeted by the European Neighbourhood Policy i.e. the countries of the south and eastern Mediterranean, the Western NIS and the countries of the southern Caucasus. This instrument will also support the EU’s strategic partnership with Russia. It aims to build, together with partner countries, a secure, stable and prosperous neighbourhood on the basis of shared values and common interests, thus preventing the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours.
This instrument covers, in particular, all countries, territories and regions that are not eligible for assistance under either the Pre-Accession instrument or the ENPI. Its purpose is to support development cooperation, economic cooperation, financial cooperation, scientific and technical cooperation and any other form of cooperation with partner countries and regions, thereby helping developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and so reduce poverty.
As well as the legislative proposals of the DCECI and the ENPI, the financial stability for two other instruments - the stability and the pre-accession instrument - have also been modified to reflect the agreement on the future financing framework. The stability instrument is designed to provide a response to crisis situations and certain long-term trans-regional challenges. The instrument for pre-accession will be the sole instrument under which assistance will be provided for both the candidate countries and the potential candidate countries.
Annex I provides a complete overview of the EU programmes in
the new Financial Framework and the global amounts allocated to them (in current
This groups together commitments for European agencies, other actions (e.g. nuclear decommissioning) and smaller programmes.
5. The Commission adopted this package. Does this mean it is now part of EU legislation?
Not yet. The Commission’s endorsement of these legal bases is only a first step in the Union’s decision procedure. By adopting these, the Commission submits these texts for the approval of the Council and Parliament. This legislative package nearly completes the work that needs to be done at this stage by the Commission regarding the EU programmes for 2007-2013. More than 40 pieces of legislation will need to be formally approved by the Council or jointly by the Council and the Parliament.
6. Who will adopt these legal bases? And how will it happen?
A large number of legal bases will be decided jointly by the Council and the European Parliament, through what’s called the co-decision procedure. In this procedure, the Commission submits the proposal time to both institutions at the same. After receiving the Parliament’s opinion, the Council approves the text, with or without any modifications. If the Parliament has no objections or amendments to the Council’s text, then the text is formally adopted. In case of any amendments, however, the Council has to pronounce itself again. If outstanding issues still remain, the text is worked on by a conciliation committee, composed of representatives from both institutions and the Commission. At all stages of these negotiations, both institutions need to agree on a common text for its adoption into law. If they do not agree, the text is not adopted.
The 7th Research Framework Programme; Trans-European Networks; Structural Funds; Youth; Media; Public Health and European Neighbourhood and Partnership are among the programmes which will be adopted through the co-decision procedure.
Others legal bases, mainly those related to expenditure in agricultural markets, pre-accession and certain areas of freedom, security and justice, will be decided by the Council, after consulting the Parliament. In the consultation or assent procedures, the Parliament may express an opinion and the Council may decide to take it into account.
The choice of the decision procedure is determined by the powers entrusted by the EU treaties to each institution in connection with the policy area in question. Each legal basis mentions the source where this power is derived, i.e. article in the Treaty, and the decision procedure to be applied.
7. Is there enough time to adopt the new legal bases so that the activities can start on time?
By submitting the revised package quickly, the Commission has given the Council and the Parliament the necessary time to adopt all these legal bases. In fact, discussions between the two institutions have already started and the revised proposals are necessary to complete these discussions. The Commission is confident that all the proposals can be adopted by the end of 2006 at the latest.
8. What else needs to be done?
The way EU funds are used and managed is governed by a certain set of rules called the Financial Regulation. The current Financial Regulation (adopted in 2002) is being reviewed to make the rules and procedures simpler, more effective and more transparent. Following consultation with the other EU institutions, the Commission presented its amendments to the Financial Regulation on 18 May 2006. The amendments now need to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament.
The new rules should also be in place by 2007, when the programmes under the 2007-2013 Financial Framework start.
For more on amendments to the Financial Regulation proposed by the Commission