EU Priorities 2020 Archives

  • Stakeholder consultation: A voice for civil society in Europe?

    Public Affairs 19-06-2006

    EU institutions have always sought input by national administrations, businesses and civil society groups - or lobbyists - to assist them shaping or implementing policies. The practice became compulsory in 1997 with the Amsterdam Treaty requiring the Commission to consult widely and publish documents before putting forward major new pieces of legislation. This led to the adoption of basic principles for public consultation to ensure all relevant interested parties are properly heard. Three years on, the Commission wants to take the process to the next level by making public consultations a full aspect of EU lawmaking. In doing this, the Commission hopes to bolster the EU's transparency and legitimacy and regain public trust in the European project.

  • European values and identity

    Languages & Culture 09-05-2006

    Debates about European identity have intensified in the context of EU enlargement and the Union's Constitutional and Lisbon Treaties. Although the motto "unity in diversity" is generally seen as best describing the aims of the EU, opinions differ widely as to how it should be understood. 

  • Coalitions and their influence on EU decision-making

    Public Affairs 20-04-2006

    Coalition building - or the art of setting up alliances to influence policy outcomes - has long been dominated in Brussels by trade associations representing a specific business or industrial sector. These traditional types of coalitions are generally well respected by EU institutions because of the legitimacy they gain from the volume of members they represent - whether individual companies or national trade associations. However, today, these long-established coalitions are being challenged by smaller ones led by a handful of companies who decide to break away from the pack. Inspired by NGO tactics, these often short-term and ad hoc coalitions tend to engage in a more aggressive, single-issue type of lobbying oriented almost exclusively on communication campaigns.

  • Eurobarometer


    Over the past 30 years Eurobarometer has become a point of reference on EU-wide public opinion. It was launched in 1974 to make the EU's information and communication strategy more efficient and to serve as a tool to help shape a real 'European' public opinion. The new information and communication strategy, due for adoption in June 2005, will propose an increase in the variety of Eurobarometer surveys.

  • Corporate Governance

    Social Europe & Jobs 19-10-2004

    In the wake of major corporate financing and accounting scandals in the United States, the European Commission, as part of its new regulatory framework for company law, has stepped up its efforts to make corporate affairs more transparent and give the concept of 'corporate governance' tangible substance. In May 2003, the Commission put forward its plans in an Action Plan on ‘Modernising Company Law and Enhancing Corporate Governance in the European Union – a plan to move forward’.

  • Alternative Regulation

    Public Affairs 05-10-2004

    In the White Paper and in the Better Regulation
    action plan, the Commission proposes to make greater use of
    alternatives to traditional legislation without undermining the
    provisions of the Treaty or the prerogatives of the legislator.
    It suggests that certain policy objectives can be achieved with
    the use of alternative regulations, such as co-regulation, the
    open method of coordination and voluntary sectoral

  • Dealing with corruption in Central and Eastern Europe


    The Commission has been monitoring corruption in
    the future EU Member States since the beginning of the
    enlargement process in order to allay fears of European
    citizens about ethics of governance in Central and Eastern

  • Good governance and corruption


    The EU has made fight against corruption one of
    its highest political priorities, both in its internal affairs
    and in its relations with third countries. In its relation with
    the candidate countries, the EU systematically includes
    corruption-related issues on the agenda and insists that its
    future Member States set up and implement national
    anti-corruption policies. The Union is also planning to make
    the fight against corruption an integral part of its external
    and trade policies.

  • Access to Documents

    Public Affairs 11-09-2003

    The Amsterdam Treaty introduced Article 255,
    which gives citizens a right of access to European Parliament,
    Council and Commission documents. Under this article, in May
    2001, the EU adopted a regulation on public access to European
    Parliament, Council and Commission documents.

  • Commercial exploitation of public sector information


    The Commission wants to establish a European
    framework for the commercial exploitation of public-sector
    information. This minimum harmonisation should provide a degree
    of legal certainty for the market players while leaving Member
    States free to choose how to adapt the provisions to local
    circumstances. Main issues in the debate are the level of
    harmonisation (obligation versus encouraging the re-use of the
    information, the charging principles (for free or at costs
    price), and issues of intellectual property. With this
    proposal, the Commission wants to stimulate the development of
    a European market for digital content products and wireless
    content services.

  • White Paper on European Governance


    The Commission adopted its White Paper on
    European Governance in July 2001 with the aim of establishing
    more democratic forms of governance at all levels - global,
    European, national, regional and local. The White Paper
    forwards a set of proposals focussing on the role of the EU
    institutions, better involvement, better regulation, and the
    contribution the European Union can make to world governance.
    Most of the Commission's governance reforms are to be
    implemented immediately under the exiting treaties. These
    efforts are to complement the phase of institutional reform
    launched by the Laeken Declaration of December, 2001,
    continuing with the Convention on the Future of the European
    Union, and culminating in the Intergovernmental Conference of
    2004. Some of the initiatives proposed in the Commission's
    White Paper may be taken forward in the preparation of treaty

  • Institutional reform


    On 24 April 2003, the Convention Praesidium
    proposed that the enlarged Union should have a President of the
    European Council and a Foreign Minister. Other proposals for a
    new institutional architecture of the EU include downsizing the
    Commission to 15 members, setting up a Congress of national and
    EU parliamentarians, making the number of members of parliament
    more proportional to the size of countries' populations and
    changing the qualified majority voting system so that such a
    majority shall consist of the majority of Member States,
    representing at least 60 percent of the Union's

  • Comitology


    Most EU regulation in not enacted as legislation
    by the Council and Parliament but as implementation measures
    under the executive duties of the Commission. Such regulation
    can be adopted when the Council has conferred executive powers
    on the Commission and after an implementation committee,
    composed of policy experts from the Member States, has given
    its opinion on or approved the Commission's proposed measures.
    The committee procedures are commonly referred to as
    "comitology". In the White Paper on European Governance and
    ensuing documents, the Commission calls for reform of the
    comitology procedures and makes a proposal for amendment of the
    1999 'Comitology Decision'. These changes in the comitology
    procedures are intended to be transitional in nature, pending a
    new system of delegation of implementing powers based on the
    revision of the treaties.

  • Commission Reform


    LinksDossier on the Commission's internal reform
    of its budget and planning procedures, financial control and
    staff policy.

  • Governance – Introduction [Archived]


    The term 'governance' describes the process whereby elements in society (institutions and civil society) wield power and authority and influence and enact policies and decisions concerning public life and economic and social development. At the heart of the concept of governance is the construction of effective, accountable and legitimate governing arrangements within the diverse institutional setting of the public, private and voluntary sectors.

  • Better Implementation [Archived]


    On 11 December 2002, the Commission issued a series of communications that focus particularly on the openness, effectiveness and accountability of the implementation of European legislation. The Commission has committed itself to reexamining implementation throughout 2003.

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