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Brussels, 24 May 2006

Q&A on the legislative package of EU programmes for the financial programming period 2007-2013

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:

  • Seventh Research Framework Programme (€ 54 582.1 million)

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.

  • Trans-European Networks for Transport and Energy: Building networks for goods, people and energy (€ 8 013 million for transport and € 155 million for energy)

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.
Compared to its initial proposal of 14 July 2005, the Commission has reduced maximum intervention rates from 30% to 20% for priority projects, and from 50% to 30% for their cross-border sections. The maximum rate of 30% will also apply to inland waterways and motorways of the sea. In the amended regulation, the definition of cross-border sections includes those with third countries to ensure the continuation of priority projects. Projects concerning transport bottlenecks have been identified as a category to receive particular attention.

The proposal includes amendments of the European Parliament, adopted during the first reading on 26 October 2005.

  • Galileo: Worldwide satellite radio-navigation for civilian use (€ 1 005 million)

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.

  • Nuclear safety – Transitory measures (decommissioning; € 1 487 million)
  • In the Accession treaty of Lithuania and Slovakia there were two protocols concerning nuclear safety. In the so called Ignalina protocol Lithuania committed to close Unit 1 of the Ignalina nuclear power plant before 2005 and Unit 2 by 31 December 2009. In the Bohunice protocol Slovakia also committed to close Unite 1 of the Bohunice V1 nuclear power plant by 31 December 2005, and unit 2 by the end of 2008. The EU supports the authorities of Lithuania and Slovakia with a programme to safely decommission the plants and reduce the social and economical impact of these measures. The total figure also covers support for Bulgaria (Kozloduy nuclear plant). Lifelong learning: For greater mobility and stronger links among education and training institutions (€ 6 970 million)

* 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.

  • Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity – PROGRESS (€ 743.3 million)

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:

  • Rural Development and Voluntary modulation (€ 88 488.5 million)

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.

  • Life+: Combating climate change and decline in Europe’s biodiversity
    (€ 2 097.9 million)

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.

  • Adjustments to the common market of fisheries products (€ 2 411.6 million)

Heading 3a: Freedom, Security and Justice:

  • European Refugee Fund (€ 699.3 million)

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.

  • European Return Fund (€ 676 million)

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).

  • External Borders Fund (€ 1 820 million)

It aims to improve control efficiency at the external border of the EU, while ensuring smooth crossing by bona fide travellers.

  • Daphne: combating violence (€ 116.9 million)

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.

  • Drugs prevention and information (€ 21.4 million)

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:

  • Public health (€ 365.6 million)

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.

  • Consumer protection (€ 156.8 million)

The programme 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.

  • YOUTH IN ACTION: active participation of youth in civic society, solidarity and dialogue (€ 885 million)

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:

  • European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI): (€ 11 967 million)

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.

  • Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation Instrument (DCECI): (€ 17 055 million)

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.

  • Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA): For candidate countries and potential candidates (€ 11 565 million)
  • Instrument for Stability (IFS): Addressing crises and challenges with a stability and security aspect (€ 5 614 million)

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 prices).
4. What does 'other expenditure' in financial programming stand for?

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 see IP/06/651.

Financial Framework Heading and Programme
Legal basis period
Global amount
(current prices in EUR million)

Codecision programmes
7th Research Framework Programme
54 582.1
Trans-European Networks - TEN Transport
8 013.0
Trans-European Networks - TEN Energy
1 005.0
Marco Polo II
Lifelong Learning
6 970.0
Erasmus Mundus
Erasmus Mundus 2
Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme
3 621.3
PROGRESS - Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity
European Year on Equal Opportunities for All in 2007
Custom 2003-2007
Custom 2008-2013
Computerisation of the excise system (EMCS)
Fiscalis 2003-2007
Fiscalis 2008-2013
Interchange of Data between Administrations, Businesses and Citizens - IDAbc
Interchange of Data between Administrations, Businesses and Citizens – IDAbc (continuation)
from 2010 onwards
Safer Internet Plus
Safer Internet Plus (continuation)
eContent Plus

Other expenditure (incl. nuclear decommissioning: 1 487)
5 492.7

a) Total amount 2007-2013: 656.4
b) Total amount 2007-2013: 358.8
c) Total amount 2007-2013: 172.3
d) Total amount 2007-2013: 215.6
e) Total amount 2007-2013: 95.0
Structural Funds
277 703.0
Cohesion Fund
69 707.0

Council's decisions
Market expenditure and direct aids (after transfer to Rural Development)
318 988.0
Rural Development
88 488.5
Common Fisheries Policy and Law of the Sea
2 411.6
European Fisheries Fund
4 339.7
Codecision programmes
2 097.9

Other expenditure

Council's decisions
Integration of third-country citizens
Fundamental rights
Criminal justice
Codecision programmes
European Refugee Fund
European Refugee Fund
European Return Fund
External Borders Fund
1 820.0
Civil justice
Drugs prevention & information

Other expenditure
1 834.1

f) Total amount 2007-2013: 699.3

Codecision programmes
Public health
Consumer Protection
Culture 2007
Media 2007
Rapid response and preparedness instrument for major emergencies

Other expenditure
1 593.9

Council's decisions
Instrument for Pre-Accession - IPA
11 565.0
Macroeconomic Assistance
Common and Foreign Security Policy - CFSP
1 980.0
EC Guarantees for lending operations
1 400.0
Emergency Aid Reserve - EAR*
1 744.0
Codecision programmes
European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument - ENPI
11 967.0
Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation Instrument - DCECI
17 055.0
Instrument for Stability - IFS
2 879.0
Humanitarian Aid
5 614.0

Other expenditure
1 179.3

* The commitment appropriations under the EAR are not included in the ceilings agreed in the Financial Framework 2007-2013. They will be entered over and above these ceilings.

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