The Commission has published its proposals which will frame cohesion policy for 2014-2020. The first part of the proposal sets out common rules governing the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The second part sets out common rules governing the three main funds delivering the objectives of cohesion policy: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF).
When adopted, the legislation package will establish a common strategic framework for the ERDF, ESF, CF, the EAFRD and EMFF. A Partnership Contract will be agreed between the Commission and each EU Member State, bringing together all the country’s commitments to delivering European objectives and targets. Before funds are paid out, authorities will have to demonstrate that satisfactory strategic, regulatory and institutional frameworks are in place to ensure the funds are used effectively. The release of additional funds will be dependent on performance. Deficiencies in macroeconomic policy (excessive budget deficits, etc.) will lead to suspension of the cohesion financing. Procedures will be simplified and computerised where possible. Eligibility rules for EU funding instruments will be harmonised.
Posted in Agriculture and Fisheries, Budget and Finance, Energy, Enterprise, Environment, EU Reform, Institutional Affairs, Regional Policy, Telecommunications, Transport
Tagged 2014-2020, CF, cohesion policy, EAFRD, EMFF, ERDF, ESF, Europe 2020, legislation, proposal, regulation, structural funds
The Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council have reached an agreement on the so-called citizens’ initiative (art. 24 TFEU). The citizens’ initiative allows one million citizens to ask the Commission to propose a new EU law. The main points:
- the admissibility check on an initiative will be made at the point of registration,
- a citizens’ committee of at least seven members coming from seven Member States should be set up to register an initiative,
- the signatories must come from a minimum one-quarter of the Member States,
- the Commission will help initiative organisers by providing a user-friendly guide and setting up a point of contact,
- if an initiative manages to collect one million signatures, a proper follow-up will be guaranteed, including a public hearing,
- Member States will choose how to verify the authenticity of signatures.
The Member States have criticized and in fact rejected a proposal by the European Commission on a new type of regulation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). According to EUobserver both pro-GMO and anti-GMO Member States have objected the newly proposed regime. The Commission proposal provides that the general approval of the GMO will still be made on EU level under current rules, but once GMOs are approved, Member States will be able to decide whether to allow the introduction of the GMOs on their territory or not.
This reaction is not surprising, but the current discord on GMOs must be managed somehow. So the Commission proposal at least provides a starting point for negotiations. Member States should also keep in mind that they need the approval of the European Parliament, where reaching a consensus will also be difficult.
Posted in Agriculture and Fisheries, Consumers' Protection, Environment, Healthcare, Internal Market
Tagged approval, European Commission, European Parliament, GMO, Member States, regime, regulation
The new Regulation (EC) No 1061/2009 establishing common rules for exports has been published in the Official Journal.
The principle set out in the regulation is that the exportation of all goods from the European Union shall be free, with the exception of the restrictions provided for in that regulation.
The new Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 on the placing on the market and use of feed has been published in the Official Journal. This means that the production, distribution and use of feed will now be regulated by a single regulation.
A graphic tool by the Financial Times explains the existing framework and proposed changes to financial regulation in the EU, US and UK.
To my best knowledge, the UK is still an EU Member State. However, it is not part of the eurozone and London is the biggest financial centre in Europe. That explains the separate heading.
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a new regulation to improve security of gas supplies in the framework of the internal gas market.
The proposed Regulation on security of gas supply provides a common indicator to define a serious gas supply disruption. This is known as N-1, i.e. the shutdown of a major supply infrastructure or equivalent (e.g. import pipeline or production facility). It requires all Member States to have a competent authority that would be responsible for monitoring gas supply developments, assessing risks to supplies, establishing preventive action plans and setting up emergency plans.