What is in the Commission’s work programme for 2006?

Prosperity, solidarity, security and Europe’s place in the world are the key strategic objectives for the Commission in 2006. Better regulation and more efficient communication are the key instruments to support these goals.

In its introduction, the Commission repeats its regret that the Constitution is unlikely to be ratified in the foreseeable future and point to its “plan D” proposals to put Europe back on the rails after the two “No” votes in France and the Netherlands (see also EURACTIV 14 October 2005) .

The legislative proposals contained in the work programme flesh out the four key strategic objectives the Barroso team set out at the beginning of its mandate:


1. Prosperity

The Commission sees 2006 as “a critical year for turning words into deeds” as regards the revised Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs. Through its partnership with the member states in the form of National Lisbon Action Plans, it intends to reinvigorate the process of structural reforms Europe needs if it wants to face the challenges of globalisation. 

Concrete legislative proposals to be put forward in 2006 include:

  • establishment of a European Institute of Technology (EIT);
  • strengthening the New Approaches directives;
  • progressing on the Internal Market for Postal Services;

New communications can be expected on a “competitive automotive regulatory framework”, on defence industries and markets, on eGovernment and on Clean Coal technologies. 

The European Year of Mobility for Workers and an initiative to improve the transparency, transfer and recognition of qualifications in the Union will underpin the knowledge dimension of the Lisbon strategy.


2. Solidarity

Social justice, cohesion and safeguarding the quality of life for future generations are the goals of the second major objective. Initiatives will be taken to tackle the ageing of Europe’s population, to manage migration flows or to deal with climate change. Sustainable management of resources and building a more cohesive Europe are the other broad messages.

Some concrete legislative proposals mentioned in the communication:

  • Thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides;
  • inclusion of aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme;
  • proposal for regulation on applicable law in divorce matters;

Interesting non-legislative priorities for 2006 in this field:

  • Green paper on evolution of labour law;
  • Green paper on adaptation in climate change;
  • review of the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from cars;
  • Green paper on future maritime policy;
  • action plan on energy efficiency;
  • Green paper on secure, competitive and sustainable energy policy for Europe.


3. Security

Protecting Europe’s citizens against terrorism and international crime, securing the EU’s external borders, better law enforcement, daily protection against health risks, food scares, transport accidents, and civil disasters are the main goals under this chapter.

Specific proposals for legislative action:

  • creating European Law Enforcement Network;
  • Community code on short term visas;

Interesting non-legislative actions:

  • strategy for secure information society;
  • action plan for public private partnership for combating crime and terrorism;
  • European cybersecurity and cybercrime policy;
  • White Paper on “Better training for safer food“;
  • Green paper review of consumer protection regulatory framework;
  • protection of critical transport and energy infrastructure.


4. Europe’s role in the world

Priorities in this area include: 

  • stability and prosperity of the borders, including further enlargement prospects (Turkey and Croatia negotiations, Bulgaria/Romania decision, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina);
  • global responsibilities: delivering on Millennium goal commitments, action for Africa, reconstruction and political transition in Iraq, Middle East and other areas; 
  • globalised economy: Doha development agenda, sustainable development.

Proposed actions include amongst others:

  • EU Governance Facility for Africa;
  • Monitoring reports Bulgaria and Romania;
  • strategy paper on enlargement;
  • EU external relations strategy to counter terrorism;
  • new Neighbourhood action plans;
  • EU and China;
  • communication on external aspects of competitiveness;
  • communication on renewed market access strategy.

In a last chapter, the Commission promises to continue its drive for more effective policy delivery and better regulation. It intends to establish internally a “dedicated structure to step up implementation of better regulation principles“. As a counterpart to impact assessment it wants to do ex post evaluations to check if EU policies have achieved their objectives.

"Unlocking Europe's full potential" is the ambitious title of the work programme 2006 presented by the Commission on 25 October. The Communication on the work programme builds on the Annual Policy Strategy 2006, which was already presented in March of this year. In the 17-pages annex to the Communication, the Commission lists the priority initiatives it will undertake in 2006.

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