«EUROPE a Fresh Start Programme of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2014 Presidenza Italiana del Consiglio dell’Unione ...»
a Fresh Start
Programme of the Italian Presidency
of the Council of the European Union
2014 Presidenza Italiana
1 July to 31 December 2014
of the Council
of the European Union
a Fresh Start
Programme of the ItalIan PresIdency
of the councIl of the euroPean unIon
1 July to 31 December 2014
Table of Contents
Strategic Framework pag. 6
A. General Affairs pag. 14 Institutional Issues Europe 2020 Strategy Enlargement Regional and Territorial Policy Integrated Maritime Policy Macro-regional Strategies Atomic Questions B. Foreign Affairs pag. 20 Common Foreign and Security Policy Common Security and Defence Policy Fight Against Terrorism European Neighborhood Policy Common Trade Policy Development Humanitarian Aid C. Economic and Financial Affairs pag. 28 A new economic policy agenda Banking Union Strengthening the Regulation of Financial Markets Taxation EU Budget 2014 Pre del Cons dell’Unio D. Justice and Home Affairs pag. 32 Justice Justice for Growth Data Protection Civil Law Criminal Law Judicial Training Detention e-Justice Home Affairs Migration Border Control Asylum Security for development: Fight Against Crime Drugs Fight Against Terrorism Cybersecurity Visa policy Civil Protection Customs Cooperation E. Employment, Social Policy, pag. 43 Health and Consumer Affairs An inclusive European economy Greater Employment Opportunities – Focus on Youth Rights of Workers Social Investment Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union Equal Opportunities for Men and Women Non-discrimination Health 2014 Pre del Cons dell’Unio F. Competitiveness pag. 48 Competitiveness Single Market Intellectual Property Company Law Technical Harmonisation Industrial Policy Better Regulation Consumer Rights Customs Union Tourism Research and Innovation Space G. Transport, Telecommunications and Energy pag. 57 Transport Single Digital Market Energy H. Agriculture and Fisheries pag. 63 Agriculture Fisheries Veterinary, Food Safety and Phytosanitary Issues Forests
1. A job-friendly Europe: delivering economic growth.
In the six months marking the start of a new European political cycle, the European Union can lay the groundwork for important progress in numerous spheres. At this juncture, the main challenges continue to be: recovering from the economic and financial crisis, delivering more jobs, strengthening the fundamental rights and helping Europeans keep pace with a fast changing world. The Italian Presidency of the EU Council is determined to address these challenges and to help the EU move forward. The European elections have demonstrated that there is a widespread and still unanswered demand for change in Europe. A fresh start and a radically new willingness are needed if we are to give new impetus to the European project.
With more than 26 million unemployed in Europe, job creation is a key factor in regaining citizens’ support for the European integration process. We need to take action to establish the appropriate conditions to increase growth while providing adequate and sustainable public services and safeguarding the social cohesion necessary for economic systems to achieve enduring prosperity.
Europe needs reforms and innovation, which are major drivers of growth. This is especially true if the reform effort is wide-ranging at the national level, coincides with similar efforts in European countries and is underpinned by incentives at the European level.
The greatest challenge of the coming months will be to ensure that Europe is fully prepared to take part in the global economy. The Italian Presidency will make every possible effort to revitalise the Europe 2020 Strategy and facilitate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This line of action will hinge upon better governance of the Strategy with a view to delivering more growth and jobs. Strategic collective decisions cannot be adopted through soft coordination tools – there is a need for more effective instruments based on common action to achieve concrete and measurable results.
Our Presidency intends to promote an open debate to increase the effectiveness and relevance of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
While disillusionment with the single currency has grown in recent years, the potential of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)to deliver shared benefits and provide a healthy economic environment remains intact; and we intend to develop the economic and social dimension of EMU. The Council will therefore continue its work on deepening and strengthening EMU in accordance with the “four pillars” roadmap outlined in the four Presidents’ (of the European Council, the European Commission, the Eurogroup, and the European Central Bank) report “Towards a Genuine Economic and Monetary Union” and endorsed by the EU leaders in December 2012. The focus on structural re
forms is the cornerstone of the new vision inspiring the Presidency policy agenda. A common policy process, supported by an appropriate information strategy, will help to explain to citizens the rationale underpinning the reforms and give a European dimension to the new growth strategy. Genuine and wide-ranging reform efforts should be encouraged and underpinned by appropriate initiatives.
An effective European response to the economic and financial crisis needs to take into account the importance of the real economy and of strong manufacturing and services sectors. Fostering industrial competitiveness will be at the centre of the Presidency’s activity. Europe’s industrial sector, including the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are the true back-bone of the European economy, is a major driver for growth, output, jobs, innovation and exports. The Presidency will help draw up a framework that systematically includes the “Industrial Renaissance” in all policies impacting on competitiveness.
At a time of high unemployment in our continent, particularly among young people, one of the EU’s biggest challenges is to provide an effective response to the need for more employment opportunities. The Presidency will focus its efforts on mobility, social dialogue, job creation, the structural reform of labour markets and investment in human capital. Particular emphasis will be placed on the full implementation of on-going initiatives to fight youth unemployment, most notably through the Youth Guarantee schemes and the Youth Employment Initiative, as well as through European Social Fund (ESF) funding. In this context we will be organising the next intergovernmental summit on youth unemployment, as a follow-up to the meetings held in Berlin and Paris in 2013.
Tomorrow’s jobs require higher quality, and more labour-market-relevant, skills, as well as more flexibility. The Presidency will strive to advance the Europe 2020 Strategy’s educational agenda, with a focus on youth empowerment and employability. The Presidency will also pay special attention to the issue of integrating education and training systems with the labour market by enhancing work-based learning pathways (such as apprenticeships, traineeships, etc.). The Council will continue to ensure that the appropriate follow-up is in place for the initiatives presented in the social investment package and to work towards the modernization and reform of public employment services. In line with the Presidency’s overarching priorities and with the Europe 2020 Strategy, the educational agenda will focus on the issues of youth employability, lifelong learning, and competence and skills acquisition, with a particular focus on scientific thematic areas.
More and better jobs can be created by improving the overall business environment for European companies. With this aim in mind, the Presidency will promote an effective use of EU instruments such as the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Research and innovation are the pillars of sustainable growth. Therefore, the performance of Eu
rope’s public and private research systems is a key driver for the competitiveness of European industry and for creating new jobs and technology-based entrepreneurship. To this end, it is important to make the best possible use of Horizon 2020 and of the European Structural and Investment funds.
Internet and digital communication technologies are other powerful tools to modernize our economy and our working environments. This can be achieved by moving towards a true Single Market for electronic communications and on-line services; boosting digital infrastructure and using the public administration as an instrument to provide innovative digital services; promoting long term projects such as cloud computing and open data; and investing in digital skills. In this framework, we will be organising a high-level event on digital developments, entitled “Digital Venice”.
The Italian Presidency will also pursue a more effective funding framework for innovation through Horizon 2020, the biggest ever EU Research and Innovation program, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over the 7 years from 2014 to 2020, and through European Structural and Investment funds and EIB initiatives.
To establish a sound European framework for growth and development, we will need to handle the existing relationships between industrial policy, energy costs and the commitment to deal with climate change in an effective manner. We must continue to treat climate and industrial policy in a coherent and comprehensive framework. In this context, it is of the utmost importance to build a more environmentally friendly, cost-effective and secure energy sector. The Council will promote increased diversification of supply and routes and a European external energy policy focused on energy security. The completion of the single market for energy will also contribute to further growth and jobs creation, while ensuring greater efficiency with true competition in the retail market, effective interconnections of transmission grids and measures to allow investment in new technologies and prevent the risk of “carbon leakage”.
The Italian Presidency aims to reach an agreement on the new climate and energy framework at the European Council in October 2014. It will ensure that the post-2020 EU is on track to meet its climate objectives, also in view of the United Nations Climate summit in September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) Conferences of the Parties in 2014 and 2015. More growth can also be achieved by integrating the environmental sustainability objectives with the wider economic governance cycle of the Union, and thus turning these objectives into concrete opportunities for long-term recovery and the creation of more green jobs. At the same time, agriculture can offer new opportunities for employment, especially for young people, through investments in domains such as the agro-food industry, agro-tourism and restoration and landscape preservation initiatives.
Special efforts will be made to complete the proposals put forward in the Single Market Act II.
The Italian Presidency program will also be focusing on a new “Approach to the Internal Market” (AIM), since the European Union now needs a strongly integrated economic platform and a coherent set of policies. Our Presidency will therefore launch a debate on the role of the internal market for growth, innovation and jobs within the framework of the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Tourism and Culture are key factors for economic development and growth in Europe. As far as tourism is concerned, the Presidency is committed to develop an all-encompassing strategy in order to reinforce Europe’s brand positioning, including as the world’s number one destination for both cultural and sustainable tourism. We will need to ensure that proper attention is paid to the cultural and creative sectors in the implementation of the whole spectrum of EU programmes and instruments within the 2014–2020 multiannual financial framework.
2. Moving Europe closer to its citizens: an area of democracy, rights and freedom The European Union is recovering from the economic and financial crisis that started at the end of the last decade. Against the background of growing disillusionment with the European integration project, a rapid return to the normal functioning of the EU institutions and smooth cooperation between them will be vital in responding to the challenges ahead. The Union needs to consolidate the policies which have enabled it to overcome the crisis thus far. If we are to take this consolidation process forward and tackle the current political, economic and social challenges, there is a clear need for a united, active and efficient European Union which is able to take swift and targeted decisions. The Italian Presidency will oversee this transition with the aim of paving the way to a fruitful dialogue and partnership between the institutions during the new legislature.
Well-functioning European institutions are important in pursuing the goal of a more effective Union.
The Presidency will encourage collective thinking on how to improve European governance. Member States and the European institutions will be encouraged to express their views with the aim of shaping a new, shared vision of the EU: strongly oriented to growth, competiveness and innovation;
more integrated in areas such as EMU and the Single market; more democratic, accountable and closer to its citizens; more strongly grounded in the principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality and therefore less intrusive in domains which can be more effectively dealt with at the Member State, regional or local level.
Acknowledging the importance of migratory issues, the Presidency will ensure that citizens remain at the core of EU concerns. To develop the area of freedom, security and justice under the new Strategic Guidelines adopted by the European Council in June 2014, we will need to improve and strengthen the integrated management of the external borders in full compliance with the fundamental rights. In this context, the Presidency will support the strengthening of the Schengen acquis,