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European glossary of European Commission

You will find here all the keywords and definitions related to European affairs

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  • CSO

    Civil Society Organisation


    CSR is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.


    Every year a different European city is designated as the “European capital of culture”. The aim is to publicise and celebrate the cultural achievements and charms of this city and so make European citizens more aware of the rich heritage they share. The town of Liverpool has been designated for 2008.


    DCI covers three main components. The first is to provide assistance to South Africa and 47 developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Central Asia, and the Middle East. Secondly, it supports the restructuring of sugar production in 18 ACP countries. Thirdly, it runs five thematic programmes: investing in people; environment and sustainable management of natural resources including energy; non-state actors and local authorities in development; food security; as well as migration and asylum.


    Decentralisation is the process whereby management of European Union funds is delegated to the administrations of the beneficiary countries. It implies the setting up of competent infrastructures by the beneficiary countries and effective control of fund management by the European institutions.


    The deconcentration of the management of external aid towards the Delegations of the Commission is a key element of the reform of the management of external assistance. Delegations are given responsibility for key operational tasks, such as project identification and appraisal, contracting and disbursement of Community funds, and project monitoring and evaluation.


    vIt is often said that the EU's decision-making system is too remote from ordinary people, who cannot understand its complexities and its difficult legal texts. The EU is trying to overcome this “democratic deficit” through simpler legislation and better public information, and by giving civil society a greater say in European policymaking. Citizens are already represented in EU decision-making via the European Parliament.


    The staff of the Commission are organized into a number of distinct departments, known as “Directorates-General” (DGs), each of which is responsible for specific tasks or policy areas (execution of the budget, environment, enlargement,…).The administrative head of a DG is known as the 'Director-General' responsible under one of the Commissioners. Each European Commissioner is responsible for one or several DG.

  • EAP - Sixth Action programme for Environment

    A strategic framework for the Commission's environmental policy for 2002-2012. Based on the priorities of this action plan the funding instrument LIFE works towards the implementation of the environment policy with a practical approach


    Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 27 countries from central Europe to central Asia.


    The European Commission Is the politically independent institution that represents and upholds the interests of the European Union as a whole. It proposes legislation, policies and funding programmes for action and it is responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council. The Commission is the executive body of the Union, whose job it is to help the EU to attain its goals. Today, the Commission is composed of 27 Commissioners. This abbreviation also refers to the 'European Community'.

  • ECHO

    It is the European Commission Humanitariant Office. It is under the authority of DG Development and Humanitarian Aid and is in charge of managing the EU humanitarian aid throughout the world.


    The economic and social cohesion is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union. This means balanced and sustainable development, reducing structural disparities between regions and countries and promoting equal opportunities for all individuals. In practical terms it is achieved by means of a variety of financing operations, principally through the Structural Funds. Every three years the European Commission must present a report on progress made in achieving economic and social cohesion and on how the various means provided for in the Treaty have contributed to it.

  • EEA

    This abbreviation refers to the European Economic Area – which consists of the European Union and all the EFTA countries except Switzerland. The EEA Agreement, which entered into force on 1 January 1994, enables Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to enjoy the benefits of the EU's single market without the full privileges and responsibilities of EU membership.

  • EEC

    This is the abbreviation for the European Economic Community – one of three European Communities set up in 1957 to bring about economic integration in Europe. There were originally six member countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In 1993, when the Treaty of Maastricht came into force, the EEC was re-named the European Community (EC) and it forms the basis of today's European Union.

  • EFTA

    European Free Trade Association This association was created in 1960, under the leadership of the United Kingdom as a response to the birth in 1957 of the European Economic Community. The successes of the EEC and the successive EU-accession of former members of the EFTA (beginning with the UK in 1973), have greatly reduced the number of members of the EFTA. Its only members now are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.


    The European Investment Bank was created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 as the long-term lending bank of the European Union. The task of the Bank is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States.


    This is an arrangement whereby a group of EU countries (there must be at least eight of them) can work together in a particular field even if the other EU countries are unable or unwilling to join in at this stage. The outsiders must, however, be free to join in later if they wish.


    In the 1950s, the EU began with just six Member States (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands). It now has 27. Growth in EU membership is known as 'enlargement', and it has happened several times: 1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom 1981 Greece 1986 Portugal, Spain 1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden 2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia 2007 Bulgaria, Romania


    The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument is the financial instrument for the European Neigbourhood policy (ENP). It finances projects in partner countries and in Russia and offers a co-financing to reinforce good governance and an equitable economic and social development. It also supports the cross-border cooperation and cross-regional cooperation.

  • ERA

    European research area

  • ERA-NET Scheme

    It is an action conceived under FP6 and FP7 about the coordination and cooperation of national and regional research programmes as well as the mutual opening up of the national programmes. ERA-Net cover all scientific and technological fields. This action is addressed to the national and regional programme makers and managers in the Member States.

  • ERDF

    See European Regional Development Fund

  • ESF

    See European Social Fund


    It is a network created by the Commission and the national agencies for employment. More than 700 advisers across the European Economic Area provide information to jobseekers and employers.


    This is a Commission service, set up in 1973, which measures and analyses trends in public opinion in all the member states and in the candidate countries. Knowing what the general public thinks is important in helping the European Commission draft its legislative proposals, take decisions and evaluate its work. Eurobarometer uses both opinion polls and focus groups. Its surveys lead to the publication of around 100 reports every year.


    The term “Eurocrats” (a pun on the word “bureaucrats”) refers to the many thousands of EU citizens who work for the European institutions (Parliament, the Council, the Commission, etc.).


    This is an unofficial nickname for what is officially called “the euro area” - also often referred to as “the euro zone”.This area consists of the EU Member States that have adopted the euro as their currency. So far the countries involved are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.


    This is an unofficial nickname for what is officially called “the euro area” - also often referred to as “the euro zone”.This area consists of the EU member states that have adopted the euro as their currency. So far the countries involved are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.


    This is not really eurojargon. It is the Latin name for Europe, and it is also the name of the European Union's official website. This contains a wealth of useful information about the EU, regularly updated, and it is available in all the official languages of the EU.


    It was on 9 May 1950 that Robert Schuman (then French Foreign Minister) made his famous speech proposing European integration (see above) as the way to secure peace and build prosperity in post-war Europe. His proposals laid the foundations for what is now the European Union, so 9 May is celebrated annually as the EU's birthday.


    See EuropeAid Cooperation Office


    The EuropeAid Co-operation Office is a Commission department, created in 2001 as part of the reform of external aid management. EuropeAid manages the external aid instruments financed out of the budget of the European Communities and by the European Development Fund (EDF, see before). The office manages every stage of the cycle of projects that form part of the activities of the Directorate-General for External Relations and of the Directorate-General for Development. Pre-accession assistance programmes are not managed by EuropeAid, however.


    The European Agency for Reconstruction manages the European Union's main assistance programmes in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia including Kosovo under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999. It contributes primarily to rebuilding infrastructure, strengthening the rule of law, institutions and good governance, and developing a market economy. Created in 2000 for a period of six years, the agency's mandate was subsequently prolonged to 2008. Its initial aim was to support the reconstruction effort in Kosovo. The agency's actions are part of the Western Balkans policy, in particular the stabilisation and association process. Headquartered in Thessaloniki, it also has operational centres in Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina and Skopje.


    European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), for financing rural development and agricultural policy. Former regulation on financing the Common Agricultural Policy 2000-2006.


    See EC- European Commission


    In the 1950s, six European countries decided to pool their economic resources and set up a system of joint decision-making on economic issues. To do so, they formed three organizations: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), the European Economic Community (EEC). These three communities – collectively known as the 'European communities' – formed the basis of what is today the European Union. The EEC soon became by far the most important of the three and was eventually renamed simply 'the European Community' (EC). EC decisions are taken using the 'Community method', which involves the EU institutions. This covers everything the EU does except for those things that are decided purely by agreement between governments.


    Created by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument providing Community aid for development cooperation with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP countries) and with the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). The EDF finances any projects or programmes which contribute to the economic, social or cultural development of the countries in question. It consists of several instruments, including grants, risk capital and loans to the private sector. The EDF is funded by the Member States and does not yet come under the general Community budget.


    This means building unity between European countries and peoples. Within the European Union it means that countries pool their resources and take many decisions jointly. This joint decision-making takes place through interaction between the EU institutions (the Parliament, the Council, the Commission, etc.).


    The European Regional Development Fund is one of the two Structural Funds, financial instruments of European Union (EU) regional policy, which is intended to narrow the development disparities among European regions. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is currently the largest. Since 1975 it has provided support for the creation of infrastructure and productive job-creating investment, measures which support regional and local development, including support and services for businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


    Autonomous funding organisation for frontier research proposed by the European Commission under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (2007-2013). Frontier research is carried out by research teams competing at European level, across all scientific and technological fields.


    One of the two cohesion instruments, main source of financial support to develop employability and human resources. ESF resources are concentrated on four areas in the 2007-13 period: adaptability among workers and businesses, access to employment, reducing social exclusion, and promoting partnerships for reform. These measures will come under two of the three new objectives: "Convergence" and "Regional competitiveness and employment".


    Every year or two, the EU or the Council of Europe may draw public attention to a particular European issue by organising a series of special events in connection with it.


    This term is often used to mean a person who is opposed to European integration or who is 'sceptical' of the EU and its aims.


    The Evaluation Summary Report is a document which is sent to the coordinator of the proposal in order to let him be informed of the evaluation results. An evaluation Summary Report is sent for each submitted proposal.


    Eligible expenditures are those who can be co-financed. Under certain conditions, the following expenditures are considered eligible: - the cost of depreciation of real estate or equipment - contributions in kind - overheads - land purchase - real estate purchase Any revenue created by the project is to be deducted from the eligible expenditure amount.


    European Union’s support to third countries.


    Broadly speaking, this means any system of government where several states form a unity and yet remain independent in their internal affairs. People who are in favour of this system are often called “federalists”. A number of countries around the world – e.g. Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United States – have federal models of government, in which some matters (such as foreign policy) are decided at the federal level while others are decided by the individual states. However, the model differs from one country to another. The European Union is not based on any of these models: it is not a federation but a unique form of union in which the member states remain independent and sovereign nations while pooling their sovereignty in many areas of common interest. This gives them a collective strength and influence on the world stage than none of them could have on their own. Part of the debate about the future of Europe is the question of whether the EU should or should not become more 'federal'.

  • FIFG

    The FIFG (Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance) gathered all financial instruments relevant to fisheries. It had been replaced by the EEF in the 2007-2013 programmation


    It is the entity responsible for the carrying out of co-financed operations and the payment of the corresponding expense.

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