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Introduction to EU law Structure – EU institutions

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1 Introduction to EU law Structure – EU institutions
EU legislation – principles Influence Accession Capacity to implement acquis Partnerships

2 1. Structure: EU Institutions
- Council of EU (ministers, topic) - European Council (heads of state) - European Parliament (732 members directly elected) European Commission (1 per state) European Court of Justice (1 per state) Court of Auditors

3 Decision-making (legislation) - 1
Involved institutions: - Council of Ministers - European Parliament - European Commission

4 Decision-making (legislation) - 2
Different procedures, depending on the issue (treaty provision used as basis) Initiative: mostly European Commission Consultation (EP can advise) Co-operation (EP can amend, art. 251 EC) Co-decision (EP can amend,reject, art. 252)

5 Decision-making (legislation) - 3
3 pillars of EU EC (used to be EEC, Euratom + ECSC also included) Common Foreign and Security Policy Justice and Internal Affairs (police and judicial cooperation in criminal affairs) Agriculture part of first pillar. Decision making in pillar 1 mostly co-decision, in others EP less involved Agriculture policy made by consultation (art. 37 sub 2 EC)

6 Decision-making (legislation) - 4
Ultimately, Members States (Council or European Council) have final say Political decisions by European Council for instance to deal with impasses

7 But After adoption of legislation it is out of political hands Court can interprete and give binding decisions on legislation (creating a consistent frame of community law)

8 2. EU Law Principles EC – EU : own system of law, special because Direct sources of rights and obligations for states and citizens (van Gend & Loos, 1962) (vs states create obligations they want) Priority (previous and later national legislation) (Costa-ENEL, 1964) (vs later legislation repeals previous legislation) Autonomous character of the law system of the EU (vs states hand over competencies they choose and choose their obligations)

9 EU Law Principles - 2 Court decides what is community law! Court (ECJ) deals with directives, regulations, treaty provisions in: Direct approach (Court of First Instance) (also: EP vs EC) Prejudicial question (referral by national court, national court acts as EU body in applying EU law)

10 Directives & Regulations (art. 249 EC)
EU Law Principles - 3 Directives & Regulations (art. 249 EC) Both are binding for member states. They commit themselves to transposing them into national law. If a state does not do this (or does it after the agreed deadline), as a citizen in court you can use them as follows: Regulation: direct transposal (literal text of regulation is binding) Depending on formulation: direct rights and obligations for citizens to use (in court) – clear, intended, target group clear Directive: state has to formulate own law in line with aim and text of directive before certain date (commitment is binding, form and methods up to Member State) In case of non-compliance and clear: can use (in court)

11 EU Law Principles – 4 Trend: EU makes policies for more and more issues, more and more intertwined (ever closer union, art. 2 EC) Court reinforces EU order: less space for national interpretations, emphasis on harmonising law (interpretation) for EU citizens (for instance: now criminal punishments for environmental tresspasses under EU jurisdiction according to Court!)

12 EU Law Principles – 5 Discussion EU/Court tends to protect weaker parties (women, employees, consumers) Court tends to use Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (Nice 2000, not binding yet – would be binding if Constition were adopted) to levy the 4 freedoms (movement of goods, services, persons, capital) (Schmidtberger) 4 freedoms are used to harmonise treatment of citizens

13 EU Law Principles – 6 Discussion Member states have less room for own policies (e.g. NL drug policy, euthanasia...) Compromises on political level undermine unity and clarity of law as applied by ECJ

14 Influence – 1 Political Parties from non-member states are members of European parties and can influence policies of those parties -> voting in EP - Lobby national parties or directly European parties Member states and candidates can influence policies Lobby national government European networks/organisations - Lobby European networks

15 Commission initiates policies
4. Influence - 2 Commission initiates policies Lobby Commission (e.g. Commissioner Environment open for NGO input) EU policies tend to favour public participation Use this as tool on national level (compliance with EU) Use legal options available to protest! For example: fundamental rights, incl. jurisprudence of ECJ and ECHR

16 Copenhagen criteria (1993)
Accession Copenhagen criteria (1993) - stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for minorities - functioning market economy - acquis and support the various aims of the European Union - public administration capable of applying and managing EU laws in practice The EU reserves the right to decide when a candidate country has met these criteria and when the EU is ready to accept the new member Accept acquis (approximation) : legislation + jurisprudence Monitored by EC, with input from new member states and other sources

17 Stabilisation and Association process
Specific for Western Balkans (since 2000, Zagreb) Stabilisation and development market economy Regional cooperation Prospect of EU accession + elements of previous accession processes (since 2003, Thessaloniki)

18 Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs)
SAp Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) Gradual alignment to EU legislation in some areas Free trade area with EU Regional cooperation Cooperation with EU on justice, visa, etc Trade measures Financial assistance (CARDS)

19 SAp since Thessaloniki
European Partnerships Political Cooperation CFSP Assistance institution building Promoting economic development Opening Community programmes, incl environment

20 Accession process Europe Agreements/Association Agreements/SAAs Accession Partnerships/European Partnerships Pre-accession assistance (IPA) Co-financing from IFIs Participation in EU programmes/agencies/committees NPAA Progress Reports/Regular Reports Political Dialogue


22 Capacity to implement effectively
Adoption, application and enforcement of acquis (Copenhagen, Madrid, Luxembourg, Helsinki) Adjusting structures of administration Examples: paying agencies in frame of SAPARD: if not, no SAPARD Money & Men?

23 Empowered and accountable institutions +
(Nicolaides) Empowered and accountable institutions + Decision making independence + Performance obligations and control Execution of a task requires: Knowledge Ability Willingness

24 Knowledge Knowledge on EU law and policies, obtainable also via screening process, seminars, advice, etc Ability Committing resources, extra staff, trainings, acquaintances with MS practice (TAIEX, twinning programmes) Willingness Mostly neglected according to Nicolaides, related to institutional design

25 Willingness Effective implementation has become a “harder” requirement This is both a clarification (lessons learned) and a toughening of EU position (raising entry requirements, unilateral, no criteria for judging preparedness, bringing commitments forward in time: before accession it all has be in order) So preparedness and assessment of this may obstruct accession!

26 Willingness First time that Candidates had to show effective implementation was in fifth enlargement: 10 new MS Integration in EU further advanced, so weaknesses in administration capacity and incorrect and incomplete implementation touch at the core of EU Also within EU Commission is more and more supervising implementation

27 Willingness How does the EU deal with incorrect and incomplete implementation internally? No direct judgement of administrative capacity but indirectly

28 Publication of national records of transposition
Publication of surveys of business opinions Encouraging citizens and businesses to take action Inspections carried out by the Commission Legal proceedings against MS Evaluation by Commission of state of internal market Monitoring and coordination of national policies Peer review and pressure

29 Quality of results, not just transposition
All methods together Diverse systems in place in EU: extract basic elements

30 knowledge – ability – willingness
a. Observable or quantifiable terms b. Ability to define targets, actions needed, measuring results, assessment of achieving targets c. Conditions in which institute operates must be known d. Learning capacity e. Means for adjusting actions: resources + legal power f. Mistakes: review, evaluation, adjustment rather than pretending no mistakes will be made

31 g. No prior approval needed! (flexibility is needed within boundaries)
h. Discretion i. Coordination j. Accountability (assigned missions, safeguard against abuse): openness, transparency, explanations, standards k. Appeal & judicial control It becomes in the interest of the institute to perform as expected!

32 Effects and impacts on others
Side effects Behavioural reactions of targeted groups = reducing compliance costs + strengthening detection and raising penalties (Maybe copy existing procedures that work well)

33 Trust! EU is asking more detailed information... Expectations about future behaviour Track record Impossible to act in another way (evaluation + adjusting) (willingness!)

34 Elaborate rules Educate and guide target groups


36 Partnerships What is a partnership?
What are reasons to develop a partnership?

37 Partnerships are for Milieukontakt a more structured and formalised way of cooperating with strategically chosen organisations with a time frame of 2 to 4 years.

38 Partnership Requirements MKI
Shared mission Successful experience in cooperation Mutual trust Position of partner Concrete ideas Insight in SWOT of partners Stability and capacity Partner organisation supports broadly partnership

39 Reasons for a partnership can be:
united forces can lead to better results strengthen the organisational capacity sharing resources, time and capacity can help to realise the aims more effectively increasing the efficiency more effective lobby and better promotion of the work to learn from each others knowledge and expertise

40 What is the common ground between the network members?
What is the common ground between the network and the ministry? What can each of us bring to a partnership? What can be our role? Who is the other? What are strengths and weaknesses of the partners?

41 Why this partnership Vision/Mission Aims & Results What Duration What is needed for our partnership to work? Requirements of each of the partners for the partnership Shared principles? Communication Decision making? What are the steps to develop the partnership? MoU?

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