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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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    In order to improve the follow up of the project implementation at an organisational level, it is recommended to create a transversal team to the project: the monitoring committee. This committee is generally made up by a representative of each of the main partner organisations involved plus an external body to the project (acting as political or scientific observer).


    The EU-BALKANS Summit of Zagreb in 2000 asserted the vocation of the countries of the Balkans Region: Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, as well as the region of Kosovo to join Europe. This vocation was called back in Thessalonica in June, 2003. The opening of the negotiations with Croatia encourages these potential candidates to pursue their reforms.


    The pre-accession strategy sets out a framework for each candidate country’s accession process. The pre-accession strategy presents procedures and priorities, it lays down the instruments on which the process is based: * bilateral agreements between the European Union and the candidate countries * Accession Partnerships and National Programmes for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) * opening in Community programmes and agencies * pre-accession assistance * eventually other specific instruments designed to improve a particular area such as political dialogue.


    Pre-accession assistance is meant to provide support for the accession process contributing financial aid to the candidate countries to prepare them for accession and to benefit from Community funds. Concretely, it provides support for implementation of the accession partnership concluded with each applicant country.


    The Prefinancing is a financial advance by the European Commission in order to implement the project without delay.


    Committees gathering State Member representatives. They aim at ensuring and controlling the management and follow-up of the programmes.


    One of the Structural Funds' principles which results in multiannual development programmes, the result of a process leading to decision taken through partnership. The process has a number of stages culminating in the measures being taken over by public or private promoters.


    A project proposal designs the full application file submitted to the EC in reply to a call for proposals. A proposal is composed of administrative forms, budget forms and the technical work description. These forms are specific for each funding programme, call and for each funding scheme (only in FP7). Once the proposal accepted and selected the EC will name it "project".


    The European Union promotes regional co-operation with the aim of enhancing regional stability and security. Regional co-operation must be a factor of integration through the development of infrastructures and networks and the establishment of free trade areas between neighbouring countries.

  • SAPARD (Support for Pre-accession Measures for Agriculture and Rural Development)

    Aimed to assist the candidate countries and prepare them for participation in the common agricultural policy and internal market on the basis of a wide range of adjustment measures relating to agricultural structures and rural development. These measures formed part of the pre-accession strategy conducted under Accession Partnerships formed between the Commission and each of the candidate countries. With the accession of the first group of candidate countries, the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund have taken over, depending on the capacity of the individual beneficiary countries to use the Community grants effectively. This instrument has been replaced by the IPA in the 2007-2013 programmation.

  • SCHENGEN LAND (= the Schengen area, the Schengen countries)

    In 1985, five EU countries (France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) agreed to abolish all checks on people travelling between them. This created a territory without internal borders which became known as the Schengen area. (Schengen is the town in Luxembourg where the agreement was signed). The Schengen countries introduced a common visa policy for the whole area and agreed to establish effective controls at its external borders. Checks at the internal borders may be carried out for a limited period if public order or national security make this necessary. Little by little, the Schengen area has been extended to include every EU country plus Iceland and Norway, and the agreement has become an integral part of the EU treaties. However, Ireland and the United Kingdom do not take part in the arrangements relating to border controls and visas. You do not need a visa for travelling within the Schengen area if you are a citizen of one of the Schengen countries. If you have a visa for entering any Schengen country it automatically allows you to travel freely throughout the Schengen area, except Ireland and the United Kingdom.


    Evaluation of the compatibility of the legislation of a candidate state with the Community rules.

  • SMEs (Small and Mid-sized Enterprises)

    Enterprises corresponding to the following criteria: employ less than 250 individuals (full-time) and annual turnover not exceeding 50 Million euros or an annual balance which total does not exceed 43 Million euros. They must also respect the independence criterion.


    This means discussion, negotiation and joint action between the European social partners (see below) and discussions between these social partners and the EU institutions.


    This is jargon for the two sides of industry – i.e. employers and workers. At EU level they are represented by three main organisations: - The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), representing workers - The Union of Industries of the European Community (UNICE), representing private sector employers - The European Centre for Public Enterprise (CEEP), representing public sector employers. The European Commission consults them when drawing up proposals for social and employment legislation.

  • SPD

    It means a single document approuved by the European Commission and containing the same information to be found in a Community support framework and operational programme.


    Tool to apply the Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP) that aims to the development of scientific and technological excellence in Europe, and to enhance coordination, cooperation and valorisation of research efforts undertaken by the Member States, and to contribute to the definition and application of the other Community policies.


    The stabilisation and agreement constitutes the framework of relations between the European Union and the Western Balkan countries for implementation of the stabilisation and association process. The agreements are adapted to the specific situation of each partner country while establishing common political, economic and commercial objectives and encouraging regional co-operation. In the context of accession to the European Union, the agreement serves as the basis for implementation of the accession process.


    The Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) is the European Union's policy towards the Western Balkans, established with the aim of European integration. Western Balkan countries are involved in a progressive partnership with a view to stabilising the region and the eventual establishment of a free-trade area. The SAP sets out common political and economic goals although progress evaluation is based on countries' own merits. Contractual (Stabilisation and association agreements), economic (exceptional trade measures) and financial (CARDS) instruments support its realisation by strengthening reforms and the transition process. Regional co-operation constitutes a fundamental part of the procedure.


    Any person or organisation with an interest in or affected by EU legislation and policymaking is a 'stakeholder' in that process. The European Commission makes a point of consulting as wide a range of stakeholders as possible before proposing new legislation or new policy initiatives.


    These financing instruments for the regional policy support actions which aim is to reduce the inequality of development between regions. For 2007-2013 period there are two Structural funds: 1/The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (FEDER) 2/The European Social Fund (ESF) intervenes for training actions and the fight against unemployment. Together with the Cohesion Fund they contribute to the European objective of territorial, economic and social cohesion. A total of 308 billion € will be allocated to financing regional policy between 2007 and 2013 to work towards the three new objectives: 1- Convergence, 2- Regional Competitiveness 3- Employment and Territorial Cooperation. These objectives supersede the former Objectives 1 , 2 and 3 for the 2000-2006 programming period.


    Individual or enterprise to whom/which the fabrication of part of a product or service is entrusted.


    The “subsidiarity principle” means that EU decisions must be taken as closely as possible to the citizen. In other words, the Union does not take action (except on matters for which it alone is responsible) unless EU action is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level.


    Direct payment that is not refundable nor of commercial nature. It is paid out by a public institution to support the implementation of a project that is involved in a political strategy.


    Document confirming that a project is subsidised by the European Commission. It is to be signed by all the implied parties (European Commission and beneficiaries. For information purpose the European Commission proposes a Standard contract.


    Meetings of the European Council (see above) are sometimes referred to as European (or EU) 'summit' meetings, because they bring together the EU's heads of state or government. Some countries are represented by their Prime Minister, others by their President, some by both. It depends on their Constitution.


    This literally means 'at a level above national governments' – as distinct from 'intergovernmental' which means 'between governments'. Many EU decisions are taken at 'supranational' level in the sense that they involve the EU institutions, to which EU countries have delegated some decision-making powers. Do not confuse this term with 'transnational'.


    Launched by the EC in 1991, the Tacis Programme provides grant-financed technical assistance to 13 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan), and mainly aims at enhancing the transition process in these countries. It has been replaced by the ENPI in the 2007-2013 new programmation.


    Created by the European Commission in order to provide a technical support to the countries, which are candidate to accession, in their integration of the acquis communautaire. In 2007 the services are open to all countries covered by the Neighbourhood policy, including Russia.


    External structure with a diversity of legal status (Foundation, Office, Assembly, University) that furnish a permanent support to the European Commission by conducting a European programme after a call for tender.

  • TED (Tenders electronic daily)

    It is a internet version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities. This data base of the European call for tenders diffuses calls for tender relating to the public procurements for works, service, supply etc. It enables seeking an notice of contract using a search engine.


    This phrase simply means a non-EU country. The meaning is clearest when we are speaking about relations between two EU Member States (or between the EU institutions and a Member State) and another country - literally a third country - that is outside the European Union.

  • ToR (Terms of References)

    or call for tender : it is a public or private procedure by which a purchaser (adjudicator) puts in competition potential suppliers (tenderers) on a contract of great scale. The invitation to tender can be published at the local, European or international level. It can relate to the realization of a project of industrial nature (construction of a factory, of an airport...) or on the supply of current system or consumer goods in great quantities.


    Company that consists of less than 40 employees and whose turnover amounts to 10 million euro.


    This word is often used to describe cooperation between businesses or organisations based in more than one EU country. Part of the EU's purpose is to encourage this cross-border or 'transnational' cooperation.


    This word is often used to describe cooperation between businesses or organisations based in more than one EU country. Part of the EU's purpose is to encourage this cross-border or 'transnational' cooperation.


    Partnership between several actors of different states that work across national boundaries. Almost every EU funding programme requires a transnational element of some kind as a way of achieving cooperation between Member States.


    The term 'transparency' is often used to mean openness in the way the EU institutions work. The EU institutions are committed to greater openness. They are taking steps to improve public access to information, and they are working to produce clearer and more readable documents. This includes better drafting of laws and, ultimately, a single, simplified EU Treaty.


    This refers to the theoretical possibility that, in future, a particular “core” group of EU Member States may decide to move faster than others along the road of European integration. It is already possible for a group of EU countries to work together more closely than others under an arrangement known as “enhanced co-operation”.


    The ultra peripheral regions represent seven areas: the Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique and Reunion as well as the Azores, the Canaries and Madeira.


    When taking decisions on some issues, the Council of the European Union has to be in unanimous agreement – i.e. all countries have to agree. Any disagreement, even by one single country, will block the decision. This would make progress very difficult in a Union of 27 countries, so the unanimity rule now applies only in particularly sensitive areas such as asylum, taxation and the common foreign and security policy. In most fields, decisions are now taken by qualified majority voting.


    White Papers are Commission-published documents, which contain proposals of Community actions in a certain domain. They sometimes prolong the Green Papers, which aim to launch a consulting process at the European level.


    The Work Programme indicates for each European funding the expected results, the financial instrument and generally a calendar for the following call for proposals.

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