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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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  • FEDERALISM

    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 It had been replaced by the EEF in the 2007-2013 programmation

  • FINAL BENEFICIARY

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

  • FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE

    The word 'perspective' here really means 'plan'. The EU has to plan its work well in advance and ensure that it has enough money to pay for what it wants to do. So its main institutions (Parliament, the Council and the Commission) have to agree in advance on the priorities for the next few years and come up with a spending plan which is called a 'financial perspective'. This financial perspective states the maximum amount the EU can spend, and what it can spend it on. In a world of rising costs, the purpose of the financial perspective is to keep EU expenditure under control.

  • FINANCIAL REGULATION

    Council regulation (EC/Euratom) N° 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 describing the whole set of rules for the management of grants and services contracts on the general EC budget.

  • FOUNDING FATHERS

    In the years following the Second World War, people like Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman dreamed of uniting the peoples of Europe in lasting peace and friendship. Over the following fifty years, as the EU was built, their dream became reality. That is why they are called the “founding fathers” of the European Union. Four freedoms:

  • FOUR FREEDOMS

    One of the great achievements of the EU has been to create a frontier-free area within which (1) people, (2) goods, (3) services and (4) money can all move around freely. This four-fold freedom of movement is sometimes called “the four freedoms”.

  • FP5/ FP6

    Fifth/ sixth Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration framework program.

  • FP7

    Seventh generation of the Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities.

  • FREE TRADE AREA

    This means a group of countries that have removed barriers to trade between them – barriers such as import tariffs and quotas. Several free trade areas have been established around the world: Mercosur in South America, Nafta in North America and EFTA in Europe, for example. The European Union is also a free trade area, but it is much more than that because it is built on a process of economic and political integration, with joint decision-taking in many policy areas.

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