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5th EPP/CoR Study Trip for Masters Students of European Studies, Political Science and International Relations


Content Foreword

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Welcome

Programme

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The Committee of the Regions to the EU

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EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

The Irish Presidency of the EU

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EPP member parties in the European Union

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CoR Commissions Plenary Sessions

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Subsidiarity and proportionality principles

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The Citizens Initiative

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The European Year for Citizenship – EY2013 e-Government and e-Citizenship

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CoR Terminology

Guide to further information

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Working for the EU Notes

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The life of a CoR opinion Rapporteurs

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European People’s Party – the wider family The Cyprus Presidency of the EU

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Foreword On behalf of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions, I am delighted to be able to welcome you to this, the 5th edition of the Study Visit for Masters Students. Over the years, we have learnt that this is not only an occasion for you to visit Brussels and get a first-hand experience of EU decision-making, but it is also another opportunity for us, representatives of local and regional authorities, to listen to our constituents and the voice of our next generation. Next year will be the European Year of Citizenship. This is an ideal situation for us all to take stock and think about our role in society. As politicians, we will also use this as a time to further reflect on the work that we are doing both at home in our regions and cities and here when we travel to Brussels. As President of the EPP Group, I welcome the launching of a political debate about the future of the European project and the paths towards a more federal and political union that acts according to the competences received from its member states. I trust that the CoR can coordinate – as early as possible - the involvement of citizens from regions and cities in this debate, in which the role of EU political parties is crucial. The EPP family has already had the chance to contribute to the first discussions on this issue at the 2012 EPP Congress which was held in Bucharest on 17-18 of October. But this is not where it ends. As I am sure you know, 2014 is an election year for the European Union and I imagine that some of you will be eligible to vote for the first time. We wish to have more European issues debated, and to increase awareness of voters for the relevance of their participation in these elections. This right to vote in European elections, which derives from EU citizenship must be used and strengthened. Hopefully, your time here with the EU institutions will enable you to gather some information, contacts and reference points to ensure that you feel empowered to vote for Europe.

Michael Schneider EPP/CoR President

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Welcome As President of the Committee of the Regions, it is a pleasure to welcome you to the 5th edition of the Study Visit for Masters Students. This is an excellent opportunity to go into the European Union’s work, and particularly, into the role of the Regional and Local Authorities in the building of “a Europe for All”. 2013 will be the European Year of the Citizenship, which represents a chance for all of us to be confirmed as decisive actors of our society. The promotion of the European citizenship is fundamental in order to advance in the strengthening of the integration’s process and in the economic development based on the growth and the employment. All this process will culminate in the 2014 election of the European Parliament which will confirm the democratic character and the values as the roots of the Union. Today, Europe’s future depends, more than ever, on its citizens and on their faith in the European project; a project which promotes the multilevel governance based on an open dialogue with citizens, and especially young people. This is essential if we want a profitable future for all. I hope that this event will give you a wider vision of the European mechanism and its potential, and I wish you fruitful debates.

Ramon Luis Valcárcel Siso President of the CoR

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Programme Wednesday 28th November 2012

15:15 – 16:00 Students arrive – Welcome desk at CoR reception with information packs 16:30 - 17:30 “Regions and cities ready for the European Year 2013” CoR Forum 17:30 – 18:30 Introduction to the European Year of Citizenship, the Committee of the Regions and the EPP Group Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the CoR Carsten Lietz, Member of the Private Cabinet of Viviane Reding

JDE70 Salon VIP, 5th floor

19:00 – 20:30 Seated dinner with EPP secretariat

Thursday 29th November 2012

08:30

Pick up from hotel

09:20 – 10:20 Parallel sessions a) The Citizens’ Initiative Luc Van den Brande, Chairman of the Flemish-European Liaison Agency and member of the CoR Mário Paulo Tenreiro, Head of Unit for Relations with the European Parliament, the Committees and General Institutional Issues, European Commission

JDE 60

b) E-Government and citizenship Ursula Männle, Member of the Bavarian State Assembly and CoR Peteris Zilgalvis, Head of Unit, Sustainable and Secure Society, European Commission

JDE 61

10:30 – 12:45 EPP Group meeting

JDE62

12:45 – 14:00 Buffet lunch (with CoR members)

Atrium, 5th floor

14:30 – 15:30 Youth employment - what possibilities? Anton Rombouts, Chair of the CoR’s EDUC Commission Finn Denstad, DG Education & Culture, European Commission Koen Hendrix, European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)

JDE52

15:30 – 16:30 José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, to address Committee of the Regions Plenary Session (tbc) 16:30 – 16:45 Photo opportunity with President Barroso (tbc) 16:45 – 18:00 CoR Plenary Session, chaired by Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, President of the Committee of the Regions Opinions on the Agenda: • Common Strategic Framework, Rapporteur-general: Marek Woźniak (Marshal of the Wielkopolska region, Poland/EPP) • A European Consumer Agenda - Boosting confidence and growth, Rapporteur: Spyros Spyridon (Councillor of the Region of Attica, Greece/EPP)

European Parliament JAN

Free evening to visit the Christmas Market, Place St Catherine

Friday 30th November 2012

08:30

Pick up from hotel

09:30 – 12:00 Parliamentarium Role Play Game 12:30 – 13:00 Closing session: Looking ahead to the Irish Presidency Constance Hanniffy, Vice-President of the EPP Group in the CoR

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13:00 – 14:30 Presentation of certificates by Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the CoR, and farewell lunch

Atrium, 5th floor

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© Bureaux d’architecture Atelier Paul Noel sprl - Art & Build s.a.

The Committee of the Regions to the EU Committee of the Regions in brief The Committee of the Regions is the youngest body among the European Institutions and was set up in 1994. The decision for such an advisory body was published in the Maastricht Treaty. It is a political assembly which brings representatives of local and regional authorities together so they can voice their opinions on European Union policies. It is particularly important that regions and cities are involved in this process because approximately three quarters of European legislation is implemented at the local or regional level. The CoR therefore ensures that the European Union takes regional diversity and the impact that new legislation would have on cities and regions into account. Moreover, the members of the CoR have an important role to play in communicating the work of the European Union because they are the elected representatives at the closest level to citizens.

Presidency The CoR is steered by its Bureau which is responsible for creating and running the policy programme as well as preparing, organising and co-ordinating the opinions.

Members The Committee of the Regions is made up of 344 members and an equal number of alternate members; made up of Presidents of regional governments, Presidents and members of regional councils, Mayors and members of municipal councils from all 27 member states of the EU and 9 observers from Croatia.

Political Groups In addition to forming national delegations with other members from their home country, the members of the Committee of the Regions sit in political groups, of which there are four: the European People’s Party (EPP) the Party of the European Socialists (PES) the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) the European Alliance (EA).

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Alliance des Démocrates et des Libéraux pour l'Europe

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Competencies The Treaties of the European Union oblige the European Commission and the Council of Ministers to consult the CoR whenever new proposals are made in areas which have an impact at the local and regional level. These include: ✓ employment ✓ social policy ✓ education, culture, youth and sport ✓ research and technology ✓ information society ✓ vocational training ✓ economic, social and territorial cohesion ✓ trans-European networks ✓ public health ✓ environment ✓ energy ✓ transport ✓ cross-border cooperation The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union can also consult the CoR on a formal basis if it believes that the regional element is important. In addition to these formal requests, the CoR can issue opinions from its owninitiative, as well as resolutions on EU urgent matters, in fields such as growth and jobs, the environment, agriculture, urban policy and spatial planning.

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Michael Schneider,, EPP/CoR President

EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions The political groups play a crucial role in defining the CoR’s political priorities, putting forward resolutions and organising debates during plenary sessions. Furthermore, they play a key role in electing the Committee of the Regions’ President, 1st Vice-President and the commission chairmen.

Leading force The EPP Group in the CoR was established in March 1994. After enlargement, it remains the largest of the four political groups in the CoR and has representatives from 26 member states. This makes it the driving force for strengthening and increasing the role and influence of the Committee of the Regions in the EU decision-making process. The EPP Group includes approximately 130 full members and alternates from centre-right political parties from most of the EU Member States.

Guiding principles The EPP Group in the CoR has adopted the “think globally - act locally” motto to express its wish for global policy measures to recognise regional diversity. The implementation of the principle of subsidiarity is at the top of the political priorities of the EPP Group in the CoR, which insists on a bottom-up approach for building Europe. The EPP Group aims to enable local and regional authorities to become more closely involved in framing European policies because of their proximity to EU citizens.

Presidency In July 2012, at the beginning of the new two-and-a-half year CoR mandate, Michael SCHNEIDER, State Secretary for Federal and European Affairs, Plenipotentiary of Saxony-Anhalt to the German Federal Government (DE) was elected Group President. Michel LEBRUN, Member of the Walloon Parliament in Belgium, was elected the 1st EPP Vice-President. The other Vice-Presidents were named as: Arnoldas ABRAMAVICIUS, Mayor of Zarasai District Municipality and member of the Municipal Council (Lithuania) Constance HANNIFFY, Member of Offaly County Council and President of the monitoring committee of the Border, Midland and West Regional Assembly (Ireland) Anders KNAPE, President of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and Councillor of Karlstad Municipality (Sweden) Eleni LOUCAIDES, Town Councillor of Lefkosia (Cyprus) Roberto PELLA, Councillor of the Valdengo Commune (Italy) Franz SCHAUSBERGER, Representative of the Salzburg Region to the Committee of the Regions (Austria) Marek WOZNIAK, Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region (Poland)

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Organisation of work In addition to its regular meetings on the fringes of the CoR Bureau, plenary sessions and commission meetings, the EPP Group organises extraordinary meetings, seminars and high-profile informal meetings with members of the European Commission and the European Parliament. The last extraordinary Group seminar took place in Sofia on 9 November and was dedicated to urbanisation and the challenges faced by large cities.

Political Group Meetings Prior to each Plenary Session, the political Groups meet with their members to discuss the opinions on the agenda and to decide if there are politically sensitive areas which need to be discussed and decided on as a Group. By working as a team, the political Groups are able to find consensus on the opinions and ensure that it is also in agreement with their political sensitivities.

Communication and information activities The EPP/CoR Group wants to contribute actively to the communication and information strategy and to the Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate of the EU. It therefore holds an annual Summer University for local and regional media and organises events to encourage young people to take an interest in the European project. For the past three years, we have organised competitions for young people where the prize was a fact-finding trip to Brussels and this year is our fifth annual study visit for students of European Studies, Political Science and International Relations.

2012 Summer University for local and regional media The EPP/CoR Summer University for local and regional journalists has taken place in Brussels since 2006 and is an opportunity for local and regional journalists to participate in debates on contemporary European topics with high-level representatives from the European Institutions. The Summer University aims to underline the need for a decentralised two-way approach to the EU’s communication policy in order to improve understanding of the European project. Dedicated to local television journalists, this year’s edition was concluded by the adoption of a list of recommendations for better communication: Local and regional television is one of the most popular and most trusted mediums for receiving information and represents about 40% of the total channels available in the EU. Moreover, local and regional media are able to communicate directly with citizens throughout Europe’s diverse cities and regions in a language that is appropriate to them. Through close cooperation with the European Union, these local and regional journalists can garner facts about EU policy and turn them into stories that make it possible to connect the European political dimension with the day-to-day reality of people.

2012 Study Visit for Masters Students In its 5th year, the EPP Study Visit for MA Students is once again opening its doors to welcome 30 students with an interest in European Studies, International Relations and Political Science. Following the three-day visit and meetings with members of the Committee of the Regions, European Parliament, European Commission and EPSO, participants are required to submit a 500 word paper entitled “A vision of EU citizenship in 2020: What role for regions and cities”. This will enable the EPP Group to further debate the European Year of Citizenship 2013 and to take account the views of the next generation. for Masters Students of European Studies, Political Science and International Relations

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European People’s Party – the wider family The EPP/CoR Group is a member of a wider EPP family. Today, the EPP has 74 member-parties from 40 different countries – proof of its international profile. The current EPP President, Wilfried MARTENS, was re-confirmed in this post on 18 October 2012 at the EPP Congress in Bucharest. The EPP is committed to a federal Europe, based in the principle of subsidiarity – a democratic, transparent and efficient Europe. The EPP vision is one of mutual respect, of inclusion of all free citizens, encompassing all European countries and regions, no matter how diverse. The EPP/CoR Group is a member of a wider EPP family. It also recognises the importance of local and regional authorities in its Platform Document. The chapter entitled “The Importance of the Regions” reads: The EPP supports the contribution of the Committee of the Regions as a political assembly and as an institutional body of the European Union that defends the interests of regions and cities. The Treaty of Lisbon has reinforced the role of the regions and the local authorities in the European Union and strengthened the institutional role of the Committee of the Regions throughout the legislative process. The EPP favours and fosters a strong position of the regions as a key component of the European Union to respond to the vital need for reducing the democratic deficit of the EU. They play important economic, cultural and social roles, sometimes transcending the borders of the respective Member States. We see the promotion of the regions and the local authorities and their cooperation in many aspects as an added value in the process of European integration.

European Parliament In the European Parliament, the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) is led by its Chairman, Joseph DAUL. It is the strongest political party with a large majority of members and therefore the EPP Group has been on the winning side in more votes than any other group in its monthly plenary sessions.

European Commission The EPP has always been engaged in the work of the European Commission, the main European institution that drafts European Union legislation and initiates policy proposals. Under the current Commission (2010-2015), José Manuel BARROSO– a leading figure of the EPP family –holds the Presidency. In addition, 12 of the current Commissioners originate from the EPP family:

European Council Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the President of the European Council is a stable and full-time function. At their informal meeting in Brussels on 19 November 2009, EU Heads of State or Government elected Herman VAN ROMPUY as the first permanent President of the European Council. The ministers of the Member States meet within the Council of the European Union. Depending on the issue on the agenda, each country will be represented by the minister responsible for that subject (foreign affairs, finance, social affairs, transport, agriculture, etc.). This means for countries with a federal structure such as Belgium, Germany or Spain that its regional ministers can also attend and chair Council meetings. Furthermore, the EPP ministers meet regularly to align their positions. Moreover, within the context of European Summits, EPP summits are organised. Gathering together EPP heads of state, party leaders in coalition governments and in opposition, the EPP Presidency and EPP Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament, these important preparatory sessions offer EPP leaders an informal and confidential setting to air differences and seek consensus within the EPP family.

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The Cyprus Presidency of the EU During its Presidency, Cyprus will work Τowards a Better Europe, more relevant to its citizens and to the world; meaning a more effective Europe, contributing to growth and job creation. A European Union working on the basis of the underlying principle of solidarity, committing itself to a better future, promoting social cohesion and providing hope to its citizens; a European Union, with an enhanced role in the international scene. All efforts will be directed to bequeath a better Europe to the younger generations.

The priorities of the Cyprus Presidency are: Europe, more efficient and sustainable Europe, with a better performing and growth economy Europe, more relevant to its citizens, with solidarity and social cohesion Europe in the world, closer to its neighbours Regional Policy The successful management of the dossier of Cohesion Policy is a task of high priority for the Cyprus Presidency, aiming to promote the timely conclusion of the negotiations of the relevant regulations. Cohesion Policy is an important instrument aiming to stimulate development across the Union and reduce economic, social and territorial disparities between European regions. It is also an important tool for delivering the Europe 2020 Strategy, through the support of job creation, competitiveness, economic growth, improved quality of life and sustainable development. In the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2007-2013, a total of EUR 347.4 billion has been allocated for the implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy, an amount corresponding to the 35,6% of the total EU budget thereby demonstrating the importance of this investment policy at the Union’s level. Education and Youth Policies The policy area of education is an important factor for economic growth and social cohesion in the EU, as well as for the well-being of citizens. The objective of the Presidency will be to emphasize the social dimension of this field, through the modernization of education and training systems with the provision of more qualitative and equitable education. In this context an Informal Meeting of Education Ministers took place on 4 and 5 of October 2012.

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The Irish Presidency of the EU Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union begins on January 1st 2013 and runs for the first half of the year. Issues likely to figure on the Irish presidency agenda are the multi-annual financial framework, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, the economic and financial situation, employment creation and the promotion of European competitiveness. Ireland will co-operate in the context of an 18-month presidency trio with Lithuania, which will follow Ireland and then Greece in 2014.

Presidency main priority: jobs and growth The Presidency’s main overarching focus across all policy formations will be identifying and advancing legislation that can contribute to creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth in Europe and job creation. Ireland will seek to make progress on draft legislation outstanding under the current Single Market Act such as the Professional Qualifications Directive. Ireland wants to ensure that business and consumers reap the benefits of an evolving Single Market and eCommerce. During the Presidency, they will seek to spur growth in the digital economy and the Digital Single Market by working to advance agreement on issues including Intellectual Property Rights, Cyber security, e-Identification, Data Protection, and high-speed broadband rollout. The issue of skills is central to fighting unemployment and will be a focus at the February Education Council. Following the publication of the Youth Transitions package, the Presidency will focus on youth employment and mobility at the February Council with a view to agreeing a Council Recommendation on a Youth Guarantee. The Presidency website will be launched in December 2012 www.eu2013.ie will provide the latest news, information, features and videos through out Ireland’s Presidency and will keep visitors up to date on the key priorities, policy areas and meetings.

Forthcoming Presidencies

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July-December 2013

Lithuania

www.eu2013.lt

January–June 2014

Greece

www.eu2014.el

5th EPP/CoR Study Trip


EPP member parties in the European Union Austria

Finland

Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP)

Kansallinen Kokoomus (KOK)

Belgium

France

Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams (CD&V)

Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP)

centre démocrate Humaniste (cdH)

Germany

Christlich Soziale Partei (CSP)

Christlich-Soziale Union (CSU)

Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA)

Christlich Demokratische Union (CDU) Greece

Bulgaria Democratic Party (DP)

Nea Demokratia (ND)

Agrarian People’s Union (BZNS-NS) Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU-PU) Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB)

Hungary

Union of Democratic Forces (UDF)

Fine Gael (FG)

Unione Democratici per l’Europa – Alleanza Popolare (UDEUR)

Czech Republic Křesťanská a demokratická unie - Československá strana lidová (KDU-CSL)

Estonia Isamaaliit, Pro Patria Union (PPU) Res Publica (RP)

Partidul National Taranesc Crestin Democrat (PNTCD) Slovakia

Slovenská demokratická a krest’anská únia (SDKÚ) Slovenia Nova Slovenija - Krscanska ljudska stranka (NSi) Slovenska ljudska stranka (SLS) Slovenska demokratska stranka (SDS) Spain Unio Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC)

Latvia Jaunais Laiks (JL)

Kristendemokraterne (KD)

Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség (RMDSZ)

Partito pensionati (PP)

Evropští demokraté (ED)

Lithuania

Det Konservative Folkeparti (DKF)

Romania Partidul Democrat Liberal (PD-L)

Partido Popular - (PP)

Tautas Partija (TP)

Denmark

Partido Popular (CDS-PP)

Südtiroler Volkspartei (SVP)

Občanská demokratická strana (ODS) Sdružení nezávislých (SNK)

Partido Social Democrata (PSD)

Strana Madarskej koalície (MKP)

Unione dei Democratici Cristiani (UDC)

Democratic Rally of Cyprus (DISY)

Portugal

Magyar Demokrata Fórum (MDF)

Forza Italia (FI)

Cyprus

Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (PSL)

Krestanskodemokraticke Hnutie Slovenska (KDH)

Italy

Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei (CVP)

Platforma Obywatelska (PO)

Magyar Polgári Szövetseg (FIDESZ)

Ireland

Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB)

Poland

Lietuvos Krikscionys demokratai (LKD) Tevynes sajunga / Lietuvos konservatoriai (TS-LK)

Sweden Moderaterna (M) Kristdemokraterna (KD) The Netherlands Christen Democratisch Appèl (CDA)

Luxembourg Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei (CSV) Malta Partit Nazzjonalista (PN)

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The life of a CoR opinion Following a request from the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament or on its own initiative, the CoR appoints a rapporteur to draft an opinion stating the views of Europe’s local and regional authorities on behalf of its members. Once this has been adopted by all members at the Plenary Session, the opinion can be sent as a response and can play a role in policy-making.

Types of opinions Generally speaking, there are four main types of opinion, which come from the Committee of the Regions: 1. Mandatory opinions These are written on legislative proposals from the European Council or the European Commission and cover an area where the Treaty obliges that the CoR is consulted. (Refer to competencies section above) 2. Optional opinions The European Council, European Parliament and/or the European Commission can ask the Committee of the Regions to produce an opinion on proposals where the Treaty does not oblige consultation, but where they see that there is an important regional or local implication. 3. Own initiative opinions The Committee of the Regions has the right to prepare an opinion on any subject where it deems it important to consider the role/impact on local and regional authorities. This enables the institution to place speciďŹ c issues of regional importance on the EU agenda. 4. Outlook opinions and reports Making use of a bilateral cooperation agreement with the Committee of the Regions, the European Commission can request the CoR to prepare a report which explores problems in a greater depth thanks to their local information resources and networks. In the same way the European Commission may request the Committee of the Regions to draw up outlook opinions in key policy areas that it wishes to develop and where it considers the Committee of the Regions has the relevant competence, knowledge and expertise. The CoR can also adopt resolutions on topical interest for the activities of the European Union. These demonstrate the concerns of local and regional authorities.

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CoR Commissions Once the Committee of the Regions has received the oďŹƒcial request, it is passed onto one of the six commissions by the CoR bureau according to its subject. The Commissions are divided into the following policy areas:

Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Aairs (CIVEX) Area of freedom, security and justice Immigration Policy, asylum and visas EU Charter of Fundamental Rights Active citizenship

Governance Better Lawmaking (& reduction administrative burdens) Implementation of the EU Treaty

Neighbourhood Policy, Eastern Partnership, EU Mediterranean Policy, and Northern Dimension Decentralised cooperation for development Enlargement

Commission for Territorial Cohesion (COTER) Urban policy Housing Transport and trans-European transport networks

Economic, social and territorial cohesion Structural Funds Spatial planning

Macro-regions Territorial cooperation including EGTC

Commission for Economic and Social Policy (ECOS) Equal opportunities Enterprise policy, competition and taxation Innovation

Employment Social policy Social protection

Economic and monetary policy Internal market WTO issues

Commission for Culture, Education and Research (EDUC) Lifelong learning and training Culture and cultural diversity Multilingualism and promotion of minority languages Research and technology

Youth Sport Education EU information and communication strategy

Information society and trans-European telecommunications networks Communications, audiovisual industry and media technologies and markets

Commission for Environment, Climate Change, and Energy (ENVE) Climate change: adaptation and mitigation Renewable Energy

Environment Trans-European Networks in the energy sector

New energy policies Space policy for territorial development (Galileo, GMES/Kopernikus and related issues)

Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) Common Agricultural Policy and rural development Fisheries Food Production

Maritime Policy

Forestry

Public Health

Civil protection

Consumer protection

Tourism

Joint Consultative Committees and Working groups Joint Consultative Committees are created between the CoR and regional and local authorities of the candidate countries for EU accession. There are currently Joint Consultative Committees with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Iceland Working groups are composed only of members of the CoR and are created directly by the CoR Bureau. Their aim is to provide knowledge and advice on enlargement and neighbourhood policies. The CoR has a WG with the Western Balkans and another on relations with Turkey

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Rapporteurs During the regular meetings of the Commissions, rapporteurs are selected by the members based on their expertise and interests. Any member that is interested in writing an opinion on a given topic liaises with the secretariat of their political group and following a vote by the Commission members, he/she is responsible for the drafting (in consultation with an expert on the subject). A careful system is followed to ensure that each of the political groups has the possibility to nominate rapporteurs regardless of their size. Once the rapporteur has a working document, he presents the main ideas to the members of the relevant Commission in order to enable them to table amendments on the text, which reflect conditions in their region and/or add new information. Each amendment is either accepted or rejected by the members of the Commission through a vote in order to produce a compromise text that is acceptable for each of the local and regional representatives.

Current Opinions led by EPP rapporteurs: Opinion

Rapporteur

EU strategy for the eradication of trafficking in human beings

Jelena Drenjanin (Huddinge, Sweden)

Strengthening EU citizenship through promotion of electoral rights

Gyorgi Gemesi (Gödöllo, Hungary)

Devolution in the EU

Franz Schausberger (Salzburg, Austria)

Enlargement Strategy 2012-2013

Luc Van den Brande (Flanders, Belgium)

Better governance for the Single Market

Markku Markkula (Espoo, Finland)

European Research Area

Grigorios Zafeiropoulos (Attica, Greece)

International cooperation in research and innovation,

Paolo Valentini Puccitelli (Lombardy, Italy)

Renewable energy policy,

Witold Stępień (Lodzkie, Poland)

Industrial policy for the space industry,

Gianfranco Vitagliano (Molise, Italy)

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Plenary Sessions Once all of the members of the Commission have agreed on the draft opinion, the 344 CoR members meet and adopt it as the opinion of the Committee of the Regions through a vote. These meetings of the CoR Plenary Assembly take place five times a year and are called Plenary Sessions. Members sit according to their political affiliation during the Plenary Session to demonstrate that the Committee of the Regions is a political organ, much like the European Parliament. Once the opinion has been accepted by all of the members, it is forwarded to the other European Union institutions for their consideration when making policies. These opinions are used to influence the policies proposed by the other European Institutions so that they are best adapted to the reality on the ground and also serve to inform policy-makers of the regional and local impact.

EPP opinions at the November Plenary: Common Strategic Framework Rapporteur-general:

Marek Woźniak, Marshal of the Wielkopolska Voivodship (Poland/EPP)

CdR 2027/2012 - COTER-V-032

There is a clear need for a Common Strategic Framework (CSF) 2014 to 2020 for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which establishes coordination and synergy between the activities of the CSF funds and streamlines the process of planning partnership contracts and operational programmes. Given that the Commission proposal does not have a clear legal status, the rapporteur calls for a general regulation to define the role of the CSF and the extent to which it shall be binding and supports the view that it should be considered as an annex to the general regulation. He is also adamant that the key actions must guide rather than restrict the spectrum of activities that may be financed. A lack of flexibility will limit the opportunity to adapt intervention to the varied needs of the regions. Marshal Wozniak is concerned about the lack of coherence between the main funds and the investment priorities. In this regard he proposes that the CSF set out investment priorities for all the funds and establish links and complementarity between the priorities and the funds in the individual thematic objectives. He also calls for a clearer definition of the mechanism linking support from the CSF funds with other EU policy areas and instruments/programmes, such as Horizon 2020, LIFE, Erasmus for all, CEF, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), or the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) etc.

A European Consumer Agenda Rapporteur:

Spyros Spyridon, Councillor of the Region of Attica (Greece/E/PP)

CdR 7150/2012 - NAT-V-023

Consumer expenditure, amounting to 56% of EU GDP, reflects the enormous power of the consumer to drive forward the European economy. The European Commission communication touches on a wide range of consumer protection issues including those related to food, energy, finance, transport and digital rights. Whilst generally welcoming the approach, the rapporteur calls for measures to take disadvantaged regions into account. For them, the cost and time taken to make the necessary adjustments may differ significantly from those in the other regions of Europe. He also highlights the increasing importance of the internet for such consumers. Mr Spyridon also considers it to be crucial that local and regional authorities be equipped with the right tools to defend consumer rights to the maximum of their powers. In this connection, and given the fortuitous timing of the current discussions on the multiannual financial framework for the 2014-2020 period, the CoR proposes that resources from the Structural Funds and also from the National Reform Programmes be used in order to implement the agenda. Moreover, local and regional authorities are themselves consumers of products and services. They therefore need a secure framework within which to protect their interests and those of the local communities they represent. To conclude, the rapporteur underlines that the success of the consumer agenda depends on the commitment of all stakeholders. European, national, regional and local decision makers, professionals and consumer organisations, must all work together to improve knowledge and the trust between producers and consumers. The Committee of the Regions stands ready to monitor the prompt and effective application of the European Consumers’ Agenda closely, with a view to seeing an improvement in the European public’s quality of life.

Next Plenary Session

February 2013

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Subsidiarity and proportionality principles The Committee of the Regions defends the principle of subsidiarity, established in EU law by the Treaty of Maastricht (1993). The idea of this principle is that decisions should be taken as close to citizens as possible, leaving EU action only for those cases where there is an added value. Since 1997, with the adoption of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and the role of national parliaments in the European Union have been covered by two speciďŹ c protocols. However, under the Lisbon Treaty, a further element of subsidiarity has been introduced. This means that subsidiarity and proportionality must not only be considered with regards to the European and the national level, but also the possibility of working at local and regional level will be considered if this is more beneďŹ cial. The Treaty also strengthens the role of national parliaments and the CoR in monitoring the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality from the pre-legislative stage to the phase where actions can be brought before the Court of Justice of the EU if subsidiarity has not been adhered to. The Committee of the Regions is also granted the right to initiate proceedings before the EU Court of Justice for annulment of a legislative act on grounds of subsidiarity. To take up the challenge, the Committee of the Regions has developed special tools, including a Subsidiarity Monitoring Network (SMN) and the Regional Parliamentary Exchange (REGPEX) online platform. These help the CoR monitor subsidiarity throughout the entire EU decision-making process. The CoR also seeks to develop a genuine subsidiarity culture within all spheres of governance in the EU. All its subsidiarity related activities are politically led by the SMN network coordinator, who is currently Michael Schneider, EPP Group President. www.cor.europa.eu/subsidiarity

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The European Year for Citizenship – EY2013 Introduction The better the men and women of Europe understand their rights as EU citizens, the more informed the decisions they can take in their personal lives, and the more vibrant democratic life in Europe can be at all levels. The European Year of Citizens 2013 will provide an opportunity for people throughout Europe to: ✓ learn about the rights and opportunities open to them thanks to EU citizenship – particularly their right to live and work anywhere in the EU ✓ stimulate debate about the obstacles that prevent people from fully using these rights and generate specific proposals for addressing them ✓ encourage people to participate in civic fora on EU policies and issues. The Year’s activities will be organised as much as possible at the grass-roots level, by citizens and civil society organisations themselves. Activities organised by the European Commission: ✓ a centrally managed communication campaign with a multilingual website, communication toolbox, press kit and promotional material. ✓ opening & closing conferences for the Year and thematic conferences ✓ participation in national, regional and local events across the EU. Official website of the Year: www.ec.europa.eu/citizens-2013 Target groups: ✓ EU citizens ✓ Policy makers at all levels of government ✓ Civil society organisations Budget: European Year of Citizens 2013: €1 million Preparatory actions during 2012: €750 000

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The EPP/CoR Response Freedom of movement is the most tangible expression of the benefits related to Union citizenship: it allows citizens to find work, to study and to live in any Member State, it guarantees the citizens’ rights as consumers, their rights to have access to education, to obtain recognition of their professional qualifications, to access healthcare and acquire or preserve social security rights. The rights granted to Union citizens to vote and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections in their Member State of residence provide citizens with the means to participate in the democratic life of the EU, whilst at the same time contributing to their integration into the society of the Member States of residence. European citizenship brings various national identities to coexist within the European Union regardless of the arrangements for conferring national citizenship. By involving citizens in the process of European integration, it is the very basis for building European democracy. The CoR has underscored the need to increase people’s awareness of their status as EU citizens, their rights and duties and the meaning of these rights and duties in their daily lives. The Forum organised by the Committee of the Regions, one month before the official start of the European Year 2013, will take stock of the impact of EU citizenship on local and regional policy making. Through plenary debates and parallel workshops on the main topics of the citizenship theme, politicians, experts and practitioners will discuss how regions and cities can manage the effects of free movement and voting rights, and how they can stimulate active EU citizenship in their territory. Throughout 2013, and under the patronage of the CoR president, communication activities during the European Year will be developed in the form of a campaign focusing on active information by CoR members in their constituencies through: ✓ public debates (town hall meetings); ✓ media activities involving local journalists; ✓ lectures and information visits by members to schools, universities etc.

The European Parliament Response Every citizen in the European Union enjoys a set of rights under the EU treaties, including the right to move and reside freely in another member state, the right to vote and stand as a candidate in European and local elections and the right to petition the European Parliament, but EU citizens are often unaware of these rights. The European Parliament called for 2013 to be designated European Year of Citizens in order to educate the general public, in particular young people, in how they can benefit from them. “This gives a new momentum to the debate on Union citizenship at times of economic, political and social crisis and puts informed and effective exercise of all rights attached to Union citizenship at the centre of the political agenda”, commented EP rapporteur Antigoni Papadopoulou (S&D, CY), after the report was adopted with 45 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions. “Participative democracy is a very important element, also in view of the forthcoming European elections in 2014. EU citizens must be fully aware and enjoy without discrimination the broad array of rights granted to them under Union law” she added. Csaba Sógor (EPP, HU), European Parliament Shadow Rapporteur for the European Year, has announced that “despite the present situation of multiple crises, it will uplift EU citizens to take advantage of the rights and possibilities given to them by European freedom. According to statistics, one third of citizens want to exercise their rights but they still come up against barriers in the workforce, such as administrative difficulties when moving abroad or the absence of proper language skills.” He believes the year 2013 is crucial to promoting and strengthening a common European identity based on core values of the European Union.

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The Citizens Initiative Since 1 April 2012, EU citizens have been encouraged to participate directly in the development of EU policies by collecting 1 million signatures calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. What is the state of play regarding applications and what can be done to make this process easier? Do you think that this initiative will lead to more citizen-led governance?

Introduction A European citizens’ initiative is an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. It was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and to be backed by at least: ✓ one million EU citizens ✓ coming from at least 7 out of the 27 member states ✓ a minimum number of signatories is required in each member state The request must be made by a citizens’ committee made up of at least seven EU citizens who are resident in at least seven different EU Member States. Once registered, the committee will have 12 months to collect the necessary statements of support from at least seven Member States. The threshold to count as one of those seven Member States is fixed at 750 times the number of MEPs for that Member State. Anyone of voting age for European Parliament elections (currently 18 in all Member States except Austria, where it is 16) can support an initiative. The number of statements of support has to be certified by the competent authorities in the Member States. The Commission will then have three months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it. It will meet the organisers so they can explain the issues raised in their initiative in more depth. The organisers will also have the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing organised at the European Parliament. The Commission will then adopt a Communication explaining its conclusions on the initiative, what action it intends to take, if any, and its reasoning. The Regulation governing European Citizens’ Initiatives was adopted on 16 February 2011. However, at the request of Member States who needed time to put mechanisms in place for certifying statements of support, citizens could only begin to launch ECIs from 1 April 2012. Ten initiatives have been registered so far with one withdrawing its request. Among the issues included are: ✓ Responsible waste management ✓ Common education goals ✓ Phasing out animal testing ✓ Voting rights for EU citizens living in another member state ✓ Protection of human embryos in research, development aid and public health ✓ Access to water ✓ Roaming fees ✓ Increased mobility ✓ EU climate and energy package www.ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/initiatives/ongoing

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The EPP/CoR response The EPP Group welcomes the adoption of this regulation, which activates the right of citizens to participate directly in the democratic life of the Union. Indeed, it represents a milestone in the consolidation of the principles of democracy in the EU. Local and regional authorities are showing great interest in the establishment of the citizens’ initiative because it can be instrumental in bringing the EU closer to its citizens and increasing the EU’s legitimacy. Despite the fact that the citizens themselves are in the “driver’s seat” when it comes to this initiative, the Committee of the Regions will offer support without trying to steer it in one direction or another. The CoR is therefore committed to raising awareness and spreading information about the ECI. The CoR and its members will also assist in the follow up and evaluation of successful citizens’ initiatives. In this way, the CoR hopes to contribute to the success of this new tool.

The European Parliament Response The European Parliament has made sure that the procedure is as simple and citizen-friendly as possible to enable the widest audience to use it. Georgios Papastamkos MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for the ECI, said: “The establishment of the European Citizens’ Initiative constitutes an innovative participatory instrument of the EU. It certainly raises the expectations for European public opinion, but it can still have an unpredictable impact on the rule-making function of the EU. Τhe ECI contributes to the creation of a European public sphere which is built from the bottom up. It is thanks to the substantial contribution of the EP that the ECI has become friendlier, simple and less bureaucratic for European citizens.”

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e-Government and e-Citizenship The EU right to move and reside anywhere within the EU and the increasing presence of the Internet calls for new generation of e-Government and e-Citizenship. For many young people the Internet is not just the future, but a reality that they cannot imagine living without. However, the freedom to cross boundaries means it is time to also consider such sensitive issues such as e-Health, e-Signatures and e-Identification. What is the EU currently doing to enhance civic participation through the Internet and what do you think could be proposed for policies across these fields?

Introduction A new generation of open, flexible and collaborative e-Government services is needed to empower European citizens and businesses, to improve their mobility within the internal market of the 21st century and to ensure that public services can serve an economy which relies on the networks of the future. The European Commission aims to support this development with its e-Government Action Plan 2011-2015: the provision of a new generation of e- Government services for businesses and citizens. The Action Plan identifies four political priorities based on the Malmö Declaration, agreed on 18 November 2009 at the 5th Ministerial e-Government Conference in Malmö, Sweden. ✓ Empower citizens and businesses ✓ Reinforce mobility in the Single Market ✓ Enable efficiency and effectiveness ✓ Create the necessary key enablers and pre-conditions to make things happen This Action Plan contributes to a knowledge based, sustainable and inclusive economy for the European Union, as set forth in the Europe 2020 Strategy. It supports and complements the Digital Agenda for Europe.

General Scope The Action Plan aims at maximising the complementarities of national and European policy instruments. Its actions support the transition of e-Government into a new generation of open, flexible and collaborative seamless e-Government services at local, regional, national and European level that will empower citizens and businesses. There are strong political and economic reasons for European collaboration in e-Government. Joint action and knowledge sharing at EU level contributes to overcoming the current economic crisis, by using public resources more efficiently. The Commission’s main mission is to optimise the conditions, for the development of cross-border e-Government services provided to citizens and businesses regardless of their country of origin. This includes the development of an environment which promotes interoperability of systems and key enablers such as e-Signatures and e-Identification. Services accessible across the EU strengthen the digital single market and complement existing legislation in domains like e-Identification, e-Procurement, e-Justice, e-Health, mobility and social security, whilst delivering concrete benefits to citizens, businesses and governments in Europe. The successes and potential of e-Government are already clearly visible with several EU countries ranking amongst the world leaders. Electronic invoicing in Denmark saves taxpayers €150 million and businesses €50 million a year. If introduced all over the EU, annual savings could add up to over €50 billion. Disabled people in Belgium can now obtain benefits over the Internet in seconds, whereas previously this took 3 or 4 weeks. Such time savings and convenience can become widespread and benefit all citizens in Europe in many public services. However, concerns exist regarding Electronic identification (eID) technologies and the security of electronic transactions (in both the public and private sectors). Today the most common way to authenticate such transactions is by means of passwords, but more secure solutions protecting privacy are increasingly needed. Europe needs better administrative cooperation to develop and deploy cross-border public online services, including practical e-Identification and e-Authentication solutions. for Masters Students of European Studies, Political Science and International Relations

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Digital Agenda Goals: ✓ increase the use of e-Government services to 50% of EU citizens and 80% of EU businesses by 2015 ✓ ensure that a number of key public services are available online so that entrepreneurs can set up and run a business from anywhere within the EU independently of their original location ✓ ensure that citizens can more easily study, work, reside and retire anywhere within the EU

The EPP/CoR response The EPP Group rapporteur, Ján Oravec (SK/EPP), Mayor of Štúrovo, welcomed the European e-Government Action Plan 2011-2015. The plan’s priorities – cross-border services, user empowerment, re-use of public sector information (PSI), e-Participation, an online single market, green government and interoperability – are all domains in which regions and local authorities are simultaneously actors, providers and beneficiaries. He also welcomed the efforts of European administrations to empower citizens and businesses through e-Government services, as well as increased access to public information and improved transparency. The Committee of the Regions endorses endeavours to raise public participation in the political process, improve mobility within the single market and cut red-tape for the public. The EPP Group believes that the Action Plan can significantly help bridge the digital divide and achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, while at the same time helping to fulfil a number of the key social, cultural and economic needs of the European public. However, it is important to remember that local and regional authorities have the main responsibility to ensure affordable broadband access in areas where the market fails, in providing pilot projects for bridging the e-Accessibility gap, and in developing new approaches of citizen-centred public e-services.

The European Parliament response The EPP Working Group “Internet Today and Tomorrow” was set up by decision of the Group Presidency on 11 May 2010. The intention of the Presidency was to elaborate an EPP Group strategy with regard to the Group’s Internet policy. In their final paper “A Fair Internet for All”, they opted for the evolution of a user-oriented approach to the Internet. The Internet constitutes an exceptional platform for innovation, economic growth, job creation and social communication. It has become the central nervous system of our information economy and society. With clear opportunities and challenges, there is an evident need for a political debate, as a matter of interest for citizens, businesses and States. For policy-makers, the main challenge is how to approach these issues preserving the extraordinary potential and the freedom of the Internet without impeding innovation. For us, the EPP Group, the question is to present what we stand for in a coherent and consistent manner. Private users’ expectations focus on an open Internet which is easily accessible and where there is certainty about the way their personal information is managed. Users and not platforms or networks are the owners of personal information and they must be in full control of the information they provide. For example, social networks must inform users about the purpose and different ways in which they intend to process members’ data. Their strategy proposes 10 key actions: ✓ Clarify international jurisdiction; ✓ Guarantee search neutrality; ✓ Ensure net neutrality; ✓ Clarify and harmonise data protection rules; ✓ Ensure users’ rights in social networks; ✓ Guarantee user anonymity; ✓ Prohibit data profiling; ✓ Create a European Cloud ✓ Effectively protect IPR online ✓ Establish safeguards for quality journalism. Concerning e-Government the European Parliament has stated that local, regional and national governments, as well as the EU institutions, are making an effort to put their information on the web and to make it easier for citizens to cope with administrative procedures. For example, several governments have made it possible to fill in tax returns through the internet. This e-government is intended to bring the institutions closer to the citizen. E-government risks creating a new divide, between those who have access to information technology and those who don’t. Other sensitive questions concern the security of government information systems.

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CoR Terminology Absorption (absorptive) capacity – the ability of a country or organisation to receive aid and use it effectively Amendment – A change to the wording of an opinion Accession – process of joining the EU Acquis communautaire – French term meaning “that which has been agreed upon” and communautaire meaning “of the community” is the rights and obligations that EU countries share. Applicant country – a country that has applied to join the European Union Barcelona Process – also known as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is policy of the European Union towards the Mediterranean countries. Its purpose is to strengthen links between the EU and partner countries, whilst also encouraging closer ties among Mediterranean countries. Benchmarking – measuring how well one country, business, industry, etc. is performing compared to other countries, businesses, industries, and so on Best practice – the option which works best and can be applied in other situations according to national and local circumstances Candidate Country – a country that has applied to join the European Union and that has officially been accepted as a candidate for accession (Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey). Charter of Fundamental Rights – Following the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1998, the European Council decided to draft a Charter of Fundamental Rights to raise awareness of the rights at EU level. Commission – In addition to the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions has 6 thematic working groups which are referred to as ‘commissions’ Competences – where the powers and responsibilities in a specific area lie. Copenhagen criteria – the three criteria set for allowing a candidate country to join the EU. First, it must have stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for minorities. Second, it must have a functioning market economy. Third, it must take on board all the acquis communautaire and support the various aims of the European Union. In addition, it must have a public administration capable of applying and managing EU laws in practice. Cultural capital – European cities are designated as the “European capital of culture” to publicise and celebrate the cultural achievements and charms, and to raise awareness of different European heritage. In 2012 the cultural capitals are Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia).

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Directorate General (DG) – departments of the European Commission or European Parliament responsible for specific tasks or policy areas Economic, social and territorial cohesion – is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union. The aim is balanced development throughout the EU, reducing structural disparities between regions and promoting equal opportunities for all. In practical terms, this is achieved by means of a variety of financing operations, principally through the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund Enlargement – growth in EU membership – from 6 to 27 Member States Europe 2020 Strategy - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (2010) European development fund – is the main instrument for cooperation with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and with the Overseas Countries and Territories European semester – A six-month period during which the Member States budgetary and structural policies will be reviewed to reinforce economic coordination; strict coordination between EU monitoring of macroeconomic and fiscal policies and policies addressing structural problems is at the core of the new approach to economic policy coordination adopted by the EU, in place since January 2011. The European Council each March will identify the main economic challenges facing the EU and give strategic advice on policies. Each July, on the basis of the programmes submitted in April, the European Council will provide policy advice before member states finalise their budgets for the following year. Free movement of people, goods, services and money – an objective of the EU to allow these freedoms to cross borders Green Paper – a document published by the European Commission to stimulate discussion on given topics at European level Intellectual property – ownership of ideas through patents, copyright or related rights for literary and artistic works Kyoto Protocol – Adopted in December 1997, is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with binding targets for industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions Laeken Declaration – a statement committing the Union to becoming more democratic, transparent and effective (December 2001) Lisbon Strategy – the goal to become “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion” by 2010 Member State – a country belonging to the EU National delegation – the Members coming from a specific Member State, regardless of political persuasion, make up a national delegation and work together to ensure that the opinion of their country is reflected National Reform Programmes – The EU-level targets were translated into national targets in all EU countries, reflecting different situations and circumstances. At the end of April 2011, EU national governments submitted National Reform Programmes (NRPs), which illustrate how they will implement Europe 2020 at national level. The European Commission and the European Council assess the NRPs, the annual implementation reports, issue guidelines, country-specific recommendations on macroeconomic and fiscal policies and also on ways which demonstrate the best pursuit of the new strategy. The Commission assesses progress on both economic policy coordination and country achievements for publication each January. Neighbourhood Policy – policy which aims to avoid dividing lines between the EU and neighbouring countries by enhancing stability, security and well-being. It builds on shared values: democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy and sustainable development. “Open Days” – annual week of cities and regions in Brussels where stakeholders can network and discuss matters of local and regional importance 24

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Opinion – A report drafted by the Committee of the Regions to express its views on a given topic Outermost regions - regions with low population density and considerable distance from mainland Europe (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Réunion, the Canaries, the Azores and Madeira) Plenary Session – Meeting of all 344 members of the Committee of the Regions which takes place five times a year Political coordinator – representative of the political Group responsible for a specific policy area Political Group secretariat – responsible for coordinating the work of the CoR and representing Members in Brussels, as they predominantly reside in their regions/cities in the Member States Presidency of the Council of the European Union – each Member State holds the Presidency for a period of six months and the order of rotation is fixed by the Council of the European Union. The current Presidency is Hungary (until 1 July 2011 and will be followed by Poland). Rapporteur – person responsible for drafting the opinion. Schengen – a territory without internal borders (almost every EU country - excluding Ireland and the UK - plus Iceland and Norway). The agreement was signed in Schengen (Luxembourg) in 1985. Simplified procedure – if an opinion is unanimously adopted at Commission, there is a simplified procedure in the Plenary Session meaning that no amendments can be added. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – companies whose headcount or turnover falls below certain limits. Stakeholder – person or organisation with an interest in a specific area/field. Structural funds and cohesion fund – The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund are the financial instruments of EU regional policy, which aims to narrow disparities between regions and Member States. The Funds pursues the goal of economic, social and territorial cohesion. Subsidiarity – principal whereby action is taken at the lowest possible level and closest to citizens Sustainable development – This concept refers to a form of development, which meets present-day needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own requirements. Third country – a country not belonging to the EU Transparency – openness and visibility Treaty of Lisbon – a set of rules to provide the EU with modern institutions and optimised working methods to tackle both efficiently and effectively today’s challenges in today’s world. The Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. Unanimity – agreed by everyone White Paper – document from the European Commission outlining legislative developments at the European level

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Guide to further information Committee of the Regions http://www.cor.europa.eu

EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions www.epp.cor.europa.eu

European Parliament http://www.europarl.europa.eu

EPP Group in the European Parliament www.eppgroup.eu

European Commission http://ec.europa.eu

Hungarian Presidency of the EU www.eu2011.hu

Council of the EU http://www.consilium.europa.eu

European Economic and Social Committee http://eesc.europa.eu

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© Bureaux d’architecture Atelier Paul Noel sprl - Art & Build s.a.

Working for the EU The EU institutions employ over 40 000 men and women from the 27 EU member countries. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) organises ‘open competitions’ to select personnel for permanent and non permanent positions. Besides permanent staff, the EU also employs contractual agents and temporary staff, offers traineeships and maintains databases of area experts. EPSO is the first port of call for anyone wanting to work for the EU. Its website explains the selection process and gives advice on preparing for competitions. www.europa.eu/epso

Traineeships at the EU institutions Seven institutions, including the Committee of the Regions also take on trainees for three to five months. Known as stagiaires, the trainees can be students, university graduates or linguists, and are given tasks similar to those of lowergrade administrators. Selection is organised by the institutions themselves. Committee of the Regions University graduates (5 month traineeship) Who can apply: university graduates who completed at least three years of studies When and where: 16 February – 15 July or 16 September – 15 February, Brussels Application deadlines: 30 September or 31 March Grant: currently €1,000/month How to apply: www.trainee.cor.europa.eu

Council of the European Union University graduates Who can apply: EU nationals who have completed at least the first cycle of university studies When: 1 February - 30 June or 1 September - 31 January Application deadline: 31 August of the year preceding the traineeship How to apply: www.consilium.europa.eu/contacts/traineeships-office

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European Commission University graduates Who can apply: candidates who have obtained a university degree completing at least three years of university studies When: summer traineeship: 1 March – 31 July, winter traineeship: 1 October – 28 February Where: Brussels, Luxembourg, Member States capitals; two placements in Commission Delegations in non-Member States Application deadlines: summer traineeship: 1 September, winter traineeship: 31 January Grant: Around €1,071.19/month (March 2010) How to apply: www.ec.europa.eu/stages/information/traineeship_en.htm

European Economic and Social Committee University graduates or equivalent level (6 month traineeship) Who can apply: young university graduates who completed at least three years of studies When: 16 February – 15 July or 16 September – 15 February Where: Brussels Application deadlines: 30 September or 31 March How to apply: www.trainee.eesc.europa.eu

European Parliament University graduates Who can apply: university graduates Starting dates and application deadlines (in brackets) : 1 March (15 October), 1 October (15 May) Traineeship duration: 5 months Where: Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, information offices in Member States and applicant countries Grant: €1,190.71/month (2010) if based in Brussels or Luxembourg How to apply: www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/007cecd1cc/Traineeships.html

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Notes

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EPP Secretariat in the Committee of the Regions Rue Belliard 101, 1040 BRUSSELS Tel: +32.2.282.22.50 Fax: +32.2.282.23.29 e-mail: epp@cor.europa.eu Visit our Web site: http://web.cor.europa.eu/epp

EPP Study Visit 2012  

Guide for participants at the EPP study visit 2012

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