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The European Union


... exercises that legislative power in co-decision with the European Parliament (see below) ... public health, education, youth and culture, employment policy, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The European Union

The European Union
  • An Overview of the EU, the Accession Process, and
    the Status of Romania's Progress in the Accession
    Process as it Relates to the Environment

  • By Gus Kerndt
  • Ro. PCV Group 13, Env.Sector
  • Braila, Romania
  • Hm. 40-239-685-415
  • Wk. 40-329-627343

Why is the EU Important?
  • PC Romanians environmental program goal is to
    promote EU accession.
  • Many EU programs provide funds to Romanian NGOs.
  • PCV learns about a new European culture (one of
    PCs goals remember)
  • Better understand geopolitical politics.

  • Brief History of the European Union
  • Organizational Structure of the EU
  • EU Law
  • EU Budget
  • Accession Process for New Member States
  • Status of Romanian Accession Process
  • Aarhus Convention and Environmental Matters

I. Brief History of the European Union
Current Member States
  • Six countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy,
    Luxembourg and the Netherlands) joined from the
    very beginning.
  • Today, after four waves of accessions (1973
    Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom 1981
    Greece 1986 Spain and Portugal 1995 Austria,
    Finland and Sweden) the EU has 15 Member States.

Applicants to the EU
  • The EU is now preparing for the accession of 13
    central and eastern European countries and Turkey
  • Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia,
    Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania,
    Slovenia, and Slovakia will join EU in 2004.
  • Romanian and Bulgaria scheduled for accession in
  • Turkey has no dates set due to human rights

Founding Treaties for the EU
  • Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel
    Community (1951in Paris)
  • Treaty establishing the European Economic
    Community and Treaty establishing the European
    Atomic Energy Community (1957 in Rome)
  • Treaty on European Union (1992 in Maasttrict)

Amending Treaties
  • The Merger Treaty (1965 in Brussels)
  • The Single European Act (1987 in Lux)
  • The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)
  • The Treaty of Nice (2003)

II. Organizational Structure of the EU
The Three Pillars
  • The Community dimension, comprising Union
    citizenship, Community policies, Economic and
    Monetary Union, etc. (first pillar).
  • The common foreign and security policy, which
    comes under Title V of the EU Treaty (second
  • Police and judicial cooperation in criminal
    matters, which comes under Title VI of the EU
    Treaty (third pillar).

The European Union is built on an institutional
system, which is the only one of its kind in the
world. The Member States delegate sovereignty
matters to independent institutions, which
represent the interests of the Union as a whole,
its Member Countries, and its citizens.
Five institutions run the EU, each playing a
specific role
  • European Parliament (elected by the peoples of
    the Member States)
  • Council of the Union (composed of the governments
    of the Member States)
  • European Commission (executive body responsible
    for implementing policy)
  • Court of Justice (oversees compliance with the
  • Court of Auditors (oversees sound and lawful
    management of the EU budget).

Five further bodies are part of the institutional
  • European Economic and Social Committee (expresses
    the opinions of organized civil society on
    economic and social issues)
  • Committee of the Regions (expresses the opinions
    of regional and local authorities on regional
    policy, environment, and education)
  • European Ombudsman (deals with complaints from
    citizens concerning misadministration by an EU
    institution or body)

Five further bodies are part of the institutional
system (cont.)
  • European Investment Bank (contributes to EU
    objectives by financing public and private
    long-term investments)
  • European Central Bank (responsible for monetary
    policy and foreign exchange operations).

European Parliament Composition
  • 626 Members of Parliament (732 maximum after
  • Elected by people of the EU every 5 years
  • Distributed across Member States on basis of
    Population (33 for Romania)
  • Organized into 9 political groups

European Parliament Function
  • Shares power to legislate with the Council.
  • Shares budgetary power with the Council
  • Supervision over the Commission
  • by approving the nomination of Commissioners and
  • by having a right of censure over the Commission.

Council of the EU Composition
  • Consists of 15 governmental representatives of
    each Member State (
  • Appointed by the governments of each of the 15
    Member State.
  • Are politically responsible to their national
  • Presidency of Council held for 6 months on
    rotating basis by each Member State.
  • Decisions made on basis of qualified voting.

Council Qualified Voting
  • A qualified majority is the number of votes
    required in the Council for a decision to be
    adopted when issues are being debated based on
    Article 205(2) of the EC Treaty.
  • The threshold for the qualified majority is set
    at 62 votes out of 87 (71).
  • Member States' votes are weighted on the basis of
    their population and corrected in favor of
    less-populated countries as follows France,
    Germany, Italy and United Kingdom 10 votes each
    Spain 8 votes Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands
    and Portugal 5 votes each Austria and Sweden 4
    votes each Denmark, Ireland and Finland 3 votes
    each Luxembourg 2 votes.

Qualified Voting After Enlargement
  • More issues will be subject to qualified voting.
  • Votes increased to 345 and reallocated (14 to
  • 72 rule will apply (I think?)
  • Must reflect 62 of total population of EU .
  • Can represent a majority only of Member States.

Council of the EU Function
  • The Council is the Communitys legislative body
    for a wide range of Community issues, it
    exercises that legislative power in co-decision
    with the European Parliament (see below).
  • The Council coordinates the general economic
    policies of the Member States.
  • The Council concludes, on behalf of the EU,
    international agreements between the latter and
    one or more States or international organizations.

Council of the EU Function (cont.)
  • The Council and the European Parliament
    constitute the budgetary authority that adopts
    the Communitys budget.
  • The Council takes the decisions necessary for
    defining and implementing the common foreign and
    security policy, on the basis of general
    guidelines established by the European Council.
  • Coordinates the activities of Member States and
    adopts measures in the field of police and
    judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

Commission Composition
  • The European Commission is composed of twenty
    independent persons (two each from France,
    Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom and
    one each from all the other countries).
  • The Commission is appointed for a five-year term,
    by agreement among the Member States, and is
    subject to a vote of appointment by the European
    Parliament, to which it is answerable, before it
    can be sworn in.

Commission Composition (cont.)
  • Commission has a President and Vice President
    that has special powers in the operation of the
  • The Commissioners are assisted by an
    administration made up of directorates-general
    and specialized departments whose staff is
    divided mainly between Brussels and Luxembourg.

Commission Composition after Enlargement
  • As new countries join they will get a Commission
  • Once 27 seats are established the Council by
    unanimous decision must decide on the number of
    seats which must be less than 27 and how they are
  • President of Commission will have more power over
    other Commissioners.

Commission Function
  • Initiates draft legislation and therefore
    presents legislative proposals to Parliament and
    the Council
  • As the Union's executive body, it is responsible
    for implementing the legislation (directives,
    regulations, decisions), budget and programs
    adopted by Parliament and the Council.

CommissionFunction (cont.)
  • Acts as guardian of the Treaties and, together
    with the Court of Justice, ensures that Community
    law is properly applied.
  • Represents the EU on the international stage and
    negotiates international agreements, chiefly in
    the field of trade and cooperation.

The Commission Directorates-General
  • Each Commissioner oversees one or more Commission
    bureau called Directorates-General.
  • 36 Directorates-General, including one on
  • Function is to initiate and implement policy in
    their designated fields of expertise.

Court of Justice Composition
  • Consists of fifteen judges appointed for six year
    staggered terms by joint agreement by the
    governments of the Member States.
  • In practice one judge comes from each Member
    State, but this is not required by Treaty.
  • Assisted by 8 advocates-generals whose role is to
    give impartial opinions to the Court.
  • Also assisted by a Court of First Instance that
    deals with the competitive rule cases.

Court of Justice Function
  • Checks whether instruments of the European
    institutions and of governments are compatible
    with the Treaties, and, at the request of a
    national court, to pronounce on the
    interpretation or the validity of provisions
    contained in Community law.
  • Ensures that Community law is uniformly
    interpreted and effectively applied.
  • It has jurisdiction in disputes involving Member
    States, EU institutions, businesses, and

Court of Auditors Composition
  • Composed of fifteen members appointed for six
    years by unanimous decision of the Council after
    consulting the European Parliament.
  • Chosen from the ranks of the accounting
  • After enlargement each country will have one
    national on the court of auditors.

Court of Auditors Function
  • Audits EU revenue and expenditure to make sure it
    is lawful and proper and ensures that financial
    management is sound and submits them to Council
    and Parliament.
  • Ensures sound financial management by
    collaborating with the other EU institutions on
    accounting/finance matters.
  • Gives opinion on the adoption of financial

Economic and Social Committee Composition
  • Consists of 222 members (350 max after
    enlargement) falling into three categories
    employers, workers, and representatives of
    particular types of activity (such as farmers,
    craftsmen, the professions, consumer
    representatives, scientists and teachers,
    cooperatives, families, environmental movements).
  • Members are nominated by Member States and
    appointed for four year renewable terms by
    unanimous Council decision.

Economic and Social Committee Function
  • Advisory body only.
  • Advises the Council, Commission and Parliament.
  • Promotes involvement of organized civil society
    in the EU programs.
  • Issues opinions on matters referred to it or on
    its own initiative.

Committee of the Regions Composition
  • Consists of 222 (350 max. after enlargement)
    representatives of local and regional authorities
    (i.e., municipal and regional politicians).
  • Appointed by the Council for four year renewable
    terms on the basis of proposals from the Member

Committee of the Regions Function
  • Must be consulted by the Commission and the
    Council on topics of direct relevance to local
    and regional authorities (i.e., economic and
    social cohesion, transportation, public health,
    education, youth and culture, employment policy,
    and the environment)
  • Lobbies for the local and regional points of view
    with the other EU institutions.

European Central BankComposition
  • Run by a 6 member Executive Board.
  • Executive Board appointed by the Member States
    for a non-renewable 8 year term.
  • ECB is totally independent of the other EU

European Central BankFunction
  • Defines and implements monetary policy in the
    Euro Zone.
  • Conducts foreign exchange operations in the Euro
    Zone (i.e., Member States using Euro).
  • Issues Notes in the Euro Zone.
  • Promotes the operation of the payment system.
  • Works in close collaboration with the Member
    States national central banks.

European Investment BankComposition
  • Corporation whose shareholders are the Member
  • Member States subscribe jointly to it capital on
    sliding scale reflecting the states economic
    weight in the EU.
  • Has a Board of Governors appointed by the Member

European Investment BankFunction
  • Funds public and private projects that promotes
    the objectives of EU integration both in the EU
    countries and the Applicant Countries.
  • Raises capital for funding projects on the
    capital markets.
  • Supervises the European Investment Fund, which
    supports investment financing in SMEs.

European Ombudsman
  • Appointed by the Parliament for a renewable 5
    year term.
  • Authorized to receive and investigate complaints
    from citizens and organizations in the Member
  • Has power to make recommendations of EU
    institutions and to refer matters to Parliament.

Other Agencies
  • The EU has 13 other agencies.
  • They are setup by secondary (i.e., non-Treaty)
    legislation in order to accomplish a very
    specific technical, scientific, or managerial
    task, which is specified in the relevant
    Community act.
  • See handout for a list of these agencies.

III. EU Laws
Three Different Processes for Passing Laws
  • Council and Parliament pass laws that the
    Commission initiates the proposal on. There are
    three different ways a law is adopted
  • Assent Process
  • Consultation Process
  • Codecision Process

Three Types of EU Law
  • Primary Legislation
  • Secondary Legislation
  • Case Law

Primary Legislation
  • Primary legislation is agreed by direct
    negotiation between Member State governments.
  • These agreements are laid down in the form of
    Treaties that are then subject to ratification by
    the national parliaments.
  • The same procedure applies for any subsequent
    amendments to the Treaties.

Secondary Legislation
  • Secondary Legislation is based on treaties and
    can take different forms
  • Regulations, which are directly applicable and
    binding in all EU Member States without the need
    for any national implementing legislation.
  • Directives, which bind Member States as to the
    objectives to be achieved within a certain time
    limit while leaving the national authorities the
    choice of form and means to be used. Directives
    have to be implemented in national legislation in
    accordance with the procedures of the individual
    Member States.

Secondary Legislation (cont.)
  • Decisions, which are binding in all their aspects
    for those to whom they are addressed. Thus,
    decisions do not require national implementing
    legislation. A decision may be addressed to any
    or all Member States, to enterprises or to
  • Recommendations and opinions, which are not

Case Law
  • Judgments of the European Court of Justice.
  • Judgments of the European Court of First Instance.

IV. EU Budget
Budgeting Principals
  • Unity (all the revenue and expenditure is brought
    together in a single document)
  • Annuality (budget operations relate to a given
    budget year)
  • Equilibrium (expenditure must not exceed

Budget Process
  • For compulsory expenditures (40 of the Budget)
    under the law the Council as final say (e.g. farm
  • Fpr non-compulsory expenditures the Council and
    the Parliament must jointly approve the budget.
  • Commission proposes the draft budget.

EU Revenue Sources
  • Custom Duties on imports to EU countries.
  • Agricultural Levies on agricultural imports.
  • VAT tax of .75 on special GNP computed base (35
    of total revenue).
  • GNP based tax with rate set to balance the budget
    (50 of total revenue).
  • Budget ceiling set at 1.27 of EUs GNP

2003 EU Budget
  • Total 99.6 billion Euro
  • Agricultural Subsidies 44.7 billion (45)
  • Structural Operations 34 billion (34)
  • Internal Polices6.8 billion (7)
  • External Actions 8.4 billion (8.3)
  • Administration 5.4 billion (5)
  • Reserves .43 billion (.4)
  • Pre-Accession Aid 3.4 billion (3)

V. Accession Process
Criteria for Accession to EU
  • Political stable institutions guaranteeing
    democracy, the rule of law, human rights and
    respect for minorities
  • Economic a functioning market economy
  • Incorporation of the Community Acquis adherence
    to the various political, economic, and monetary
    aims of the European Union.

Source of the 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.
  • Is derived from various sources.

Sources of the Acquis
  • 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
  • The declarations and resolutions adopted by the
  • 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.

Chapters of the Acquis
  • The Acquis has been administrative defined into
    31 chapters.
  • Chapter 22 relates to the environment.
  • See handout entitled State of Play for list of
    all the chapters of the Acquis and how each
    Applicant Country to EU is doing in complying
    with them.

Acquis Chapter 22 Environment Components
  • Environmental impact assessments, access to
    information on environment, combating climate
  • Quality standards are set for Air, Waste
    management, Water, Nature protection, Industrial
    pollution control, Chemicals, and genetically
    modified organisms, Noise and Nuclear Safety and
    Radiation Protection (safety issues arising from
    the use of nuclear energy are part of the energy

Accession Partnership
  • The accession partnerships is a programming
    document coordinating aid provided by the
    European Community to each country in central and
    eastern Europe.
  • Set priorities for each sector in adapting to
    Community legislation.
  • Accession partnerships were negotiated between
    the Council with each of the applicant countries
    in 1998.
  • Adherence to the priorities set forth in the
    accession partnership document determines the
    Community's financial aid to the applicant..

Pre-Accession EU Aid Programs
  • Phare program finances the projects needed to
    adapt the applicant countries' administrative and
    legal systems and to develop their infrastructure
    (EUR 10.5 billion).
  • Sapard program is being set up to manage
    additional aid for agriculture (EUR 3.5 billion).
  • ISPAD program is being set up to manage
    infrastructure, especially in the fields of the
    environment and transport (EUR 7 billion).

VI. Status of Romanian Accession Process
Phare Aid to Romania
  • The Phare program allocated 1.45billion to
    Romania during the period 1990-2000, and a
    further 298.7million was allocated under the
    Phare 2001.
  • 30 used for institution building, including
  • 70 used for financing investments in various

ISPA Aid to Romania
  • The annual allocation to Romania under ISPA is
    between 208-270 million for the period
  • The sectors benefiting from ISPA are transport
    and the environment, with both sectors receiving
    around half of the annual allocation.

SAPARD Aid to Romania
  • The annual allocation to Romania under SAPARD is
    153 million for the period 2000-2006.
  • The EU Commission adopted Romania's National Plan
    for Rural Development on November 22, 2000. This
    plan will provide the framework for SAPARD
    implementation in Romania and identifies four
    main themes of intervention.

SAPARD Aid to Romania (cont.)
  • Romanias four main themes for rural development
    will be
  • Improving the competitiveness of food processing.
  • Rural infrastructure.
  • Development and diversification of the rural
  • Development of human resources.

Romanian Environmental Acquis Compliance
  • The EU report entitled "2001 Regular Report on
    Romania's Progress Towards Accession" documents
    Romania's status about complying with the acquis.
  • Results are not good

Romanian Environmental Acquis Compliance (cont.)
  •        No significant progress has been achieved
    in integration of the environment with other
    policies of other agencies.
  •         Legislation is needed on environmental
    impact assessment.
  •         Limited progress has been made on
    adopting waste management legislation.
  •         No progress has been made on adopting
    industrial pollution control and risk management

Romanian Environmental Acquis Compliance (cont.)
  •    No progress has been made in the field of
    radiation protection.
  •    Staffing for the Ministry of Water and
    Environmental Protection at the national level
    has been frozen and staffing at the county level
    in the offices of the Environmental Protection
    Inspectorates have been cut 20.
  •   The budget for the environment has been
    slightly increased, but remains extremely low at
    around 73 million euros.

VI. Aarhus Convention
Aarhus Convention Adoption
  • The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
    Convention on Access to Information, Public
    Participation in Decision-Making and Access to
    Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on
    25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus
  • Romanian adopted the Convention on June 25, 1998
    and ratified it on July 11, 2000.
  • EU has signed the convention and waiting for
    Member States to Ratify it.

Aarhus Convention Principals
  • The first pillar gives the public the right of
    access to environmental information.
  • The second pillar gives the public the right to
    participate in decision-making processes.
  • The third pillar ensures access to justice for
    the public.

Why Aarhus is Important
  • It is a sword that NGOs can use against arbitrary
    and capricious government actions.
  • A comparison to USA law It has a mix of
    components found in the following laws
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Administrate Procedure Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act.