Archive pour la catégorie ‘Public management’

The European Parliament debate on the Hungarian law

Vendredi 13 janvier 2012

Concerns as to whether the laws implementing Hungary’s new constitution are compatible with EU rules and values were raised by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a debate on Wednesday.

The Commission’s Director General for Justice, Françoise Le Bail, said that the Commission’s evaluation of the compliance of the Hungarian laws with EU law was focusing on three issues: measures to retire judges and prosecutors at 62 years old, rather than 70, the independence of the judiciary and the independence of the data protection authority.

Replying to MEPs’ questions, Ms Le Bail explained that the retirement age measure was being checked against an EU directive on non-discrimination in employment, the independence of the judiciary one against Charter of Fundamental Rights Article 47 and the data protection authority one against the 1995 data protection directive.

Ms Le Bail said that the compatibility of some of these measures with EU law was “questionable”, and promised that the Commission would complete its analysis in time for the College of Commissioners to decide on 17 January how to proceed with respect to Hungary. The Commission is prepared to make full use of its prerogatives, which could entail the launching of infringement procedures, she added.

Risk of breach of EU values?

“We don’t have to wait to see what the Commission is doing. Parliament is entitled by the Lisbon Treaty to take action”, said Renate Weber (ALDE, RO). She recalled issues such as the Hungarian media law, the Roma in France, upon which the Commission had begun very bluntly but lost momentum thereafter, and voiced concern over Hungary’s cardinal laws, which she said “would allow legislation to be cemented for the next hundred years”.

Ms Weber added that the Commission should also test Hungary’s laws against EU Treaty Article 2, which states that the EU is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

“There is every indication that Hungary will realign its legislation according to the Commission’s evaluation”, said Frank Engel (EPP, LU), adding that “I don’t see any reason for all this hysteria”. He proposed to wait until the “regular procedure is fulfilled” before coming to any conclusion “on a decision taken by a sovereign country”.

“We needed this new constitution”, said Kinga Gál (EPP, HU), adding that “it can happen that there are mistakes, but I don’t think this can give raise to any affirmation or rumour saying that there is a breach of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary”.

“The Charter of Fundamental Rights is primarily for the EU, not necessarily legally binding in this way for Member States”, said Axel Voss (EPP, DE), adding that “this should be addressed as a regular breach of the EU Treaties”. On the independence of the data protection supervisor, he said that “it should be discussed, but not in an exaggerated fashion”. “European law must be the cornerstone of our action”, he underlined.

“Let the Commission do what it has to do”, urged Ms Gál, adding that “these issues should not be politicised” and that it is “very good” that the Commission, as guardian of the treaties, “follows this and says what needs to be changed”.

“This is about the risk of breach of fundamental rights”, argued Sophie int’Veld (ALDE, NL), adding that activating Article 7 of the Treaty, in order to assess whether there is a risk of a serious breach of EU values, “would be justified”.

“I support my group’s request for the application of Article 7. These are basic rights that should be respected by all Member States in Europe”, added Sonia Alfano (ALDE, IT).

“We are facing a drift that is worrying this House”, said Rui Tavares (Greens/EFA, PT). “A dictatorial drift”, he added. “We see again and again that citizens expect us to act on fundamental rights”, he insisted, adding that “democracy means not only that majorities rule, it is also means that majorities change”. “Would a candidate country with this kind of laws have any chance to join the EU?”, he wondered.

Mr Tavares also advocated applying Article 7, in order to determine whether there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the values on which the EU is founded. This would be an “alert procedure” for Hungary, he said.

Media law, electoral law, church law

Kinga Göncz (S&D, HU), asked the Commission what it expected the Hungarian authorities to do after the legal analysis is concluded, suggesting that a more political answer would be required, and not just a legal one. In the previous year, there had been “cosmetic changes” to Hungary’s media law, she recalled, adding that this should be avoided now. Ms Göncz also asked the Commission to analyse Hungary’s electoral law and church law.

Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (GUE/NGL, CY), asked whether the infringement of labour laws and attacks against political parties were being addressed by the Commission. Krisztina Morvai (NI, HU) also urged that the Hungarian people and workers should be heard.

Csaba Sógor (EPP, RO), defended the media and religious laws passed by the Hungarian government. “There are nine Member States which recognise fewer churches than Hungary”, he said, adding that “in Hungary there is no state religion, as it happens in many other Member States”. He also claimed that the Club radio was not closed in Hungary.

Ana Gomes (S&D, PT), voiced concerns about the electoral laws, which could render the main political opposition party illegal, she said, adding that this debate “is not against the Hungarian people, it is for the Hungarian people”.

“What is happening in Hungary today is very serious for the European project and its universal values. This is a mutation of democracy”, said Louis Michel (ALDE, BE).

József Szájer (EPP, HU), called on the European Parliament to “make an investigation before passing any judgement, as the Commission is doing”. “What Fidesz inherited is something that needed to be restructured, we needed to create a new state that is functional”, he stressed, noting that the Hungarian parliament had passed 230 laws and 30 cardinal laws. “If there are only these 4 or 5 mistakes that we are discussing, I think we did a very good job”, he concluded.

It’s not only about Hungary

We are talking about “shared principles and values” and “Parliament cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening”, said Birgit Sippel (S&D, DE), stressing that “this is not a discussion between the Commission and Hungary only. As the EU we lose all our credibility if one of our Member States is not respecting fundamental rights”.

“This isn’t about Hungary, it is about any Member State of the EU having problems with fundamental rights. I think no other Member State would have been treated differently. The Copenhagen criteria do not disappear when a country joins the EU and Article 7 also allows the Parliament to initiate proceedings”, said Alexander Alvaro (ALDE, DE).

Sophie int’Veld (ALDE, NL), observed that “Hungary took a sovereign decision to adhere to the EU treaties” and must therefore respect them. “The situation in Hungary is exceptionally serious”, but there are other Member States not respecting fundamental rights, se said, citing the treatment of Roma people in France or that of migrants and asylum seekers in her own country.

Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL, DE), described the way in which the Roma issue had been handled as a “fiasco”, and called for action to prevent the treaties from being violated.

A strictly legal issue?

“We accept that this is not only a legal issue, it is both legal and political”, Ms Le Bail told MEPs after the debate. “What the Commission is expecting from Hungary is full compliance with EU laws, the wording and the spirit of the EU Treaties and with the Charter of Fundamental Rights”, she concluded.

Waste: factor of growth and deficit reduction

Vendredi 13 janvier 2012

According a study, compliance with European standards of waste would permit 72 million savings and the creation of 400,000 jobs.

Illegal waste operations in Member States are causing missed opportunities for economic growth, but stronger national inspections and better knowledge about waste management would bring major improvements.

Improved implementation leads to significant benefits
The study gives an in-depth analysis of the effects of better implementation and enforcement and shows that benefits would be significant. It analysed a number of case studies in Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands to demonstrate economic, financial and social benefits to Member States.

The EU’s waste management and recycling sector is very dynamic, but still offers economic opportunities with vast potential for expansion. In 2008, its €145 billion turnover represented around 1% of the EU’s GDP and 2 million jobs. Compliance with EU policy would help create a sector with 2.4 million jobs and a total annual turnover of €187 billion.

The underlying problem is that too many prices do not reflect the true cost of disposal of goods – if they did, this would help prevent waste in the first place. In addition, many Member States still lack adequate infrastructure for separate collection, recycling and recovery. An absence of systematic control and enforcement mechanisms is another hindrance, coupled with a lack of reliable data on waste management.

Four key conclusions
- The study concludes that we need to know more about waste. Better data and systematic monitoring of how the laws work in practice must be made available. There is progress here, with a specific Data Centre on Waste recently set up by Eurostat.
- Better use of the polluter pays principle, and wider use of economic instruments like raising the costs of disposal, could help ensure compliance and provide the necessary financial resources for waste management.
- Inspection and monitoring capabilities need to be strengthened in Member States. This could mean establishing an auditing capacity at EU level and, possibly, common inspection standards.
- One relatively cost-effective option to strengthen implementation monitoring at EU level could be to draw on the expertise and capabilities of the European Environment Agency (EEA). This option would carry lower administrative costs than creating a new agency dedicated to waste.

Next Steps
The study’s conclusions will be discussed and analysed by the Commission. They will serve as grounds for developing a balanced mix of legal and economic instruments as suggested in the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe and the Thematic Strategy on Waste Prevention. These strategies encourage economic and legal incentives such as landfill taxes or bans, extending “producer responsibility” schemes and introducing “pay as you throw” schemes.

Background
The EU’s economy uses 16 tonnes of materials per person per year, of which 6 tonnes becomes waste, half of it going to landfill. Many Member States rely mainly on landfill as the preferred waste management option. This situation persists in spite of existing EU waste legislation and is unsustainable.

The Commission’s Roadmap for Resource Efficiency sets out milestones for ensuring that waste is managed as a resource by 2020 including through the revision of prevention, re-use, recycling, recovery and landfill-diversion targets, and through the development of markets for secondary and recycled materials.

The European Parliament is working on economic governance and budgetary surveillance

Mercredi 11 janvier 2012

Work began this week and could threaten the democratic legitimacy of fiscal policy.

Towards the very end of 2011 the Commission presented two further pieces of legislation to complement the economic governance “six pack”, notably by increasing Commission powers to oversee Eurozone countries’ budgetary policies and tightening such surveillance one notch further for countries receiving bailout funds. Parliament shares decision-making power with the Council for both legislative texts.

This discussion comes as the working group tasked with preparing a first draft of an international agreement to strengthen economic governance in the EU starts work. Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT) and Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE), are members of the working group.

Normal legislation, not ad hoc treaties

Jean-Paul Gauzès (EPP, FR), rapporteur for the text on surveillance of “bailout countries” said the two proposals offered an opportunity to impose stronger economic governance without working outside the normal EU arrangements (the “Community method”). “Much of what is proposed in the international treaty can be done through the ’six pack’ and these two texts. We should integrate as much of the international treaty elements as possible into these two new texts”, he said.

This view, echoed by others, builds on the opinion already voiced by the three “drafting working group” MEPs that much in the planned international agreement can in fact be accomplished through normal EU legislation.

Danger of losing democratic legitimacy

Many MEPs also highlighted the danger of entrusting broad surveillance powers to the Commission without also addressing its accountability. “We need to always keep sight of democratic legitimacy when drafting these texts”, Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT), the second rapporteur said.

Sven Giegold (Greens, DE), argued that if surveillance was to be increased, then the transparency with which the new powers were exercised also needed to be strengthened. “The legislation is useful in that it gives legality to an ongoing situation. However, I still have an issue with giving added surveillance powers to an institution which has already failed in this task”, he added.

Surveillance to promote growth, not just for austerity

The other weakness highlighted by various MEPs was that the proposed legislation was too closely focused on austerity, and not sufficiently on growth.

Ms Ferreira warned that “This proposed legislation and the international treaty risk reducing the focus of the six pack to one only based on imposing austerity”, adding that “it is important to make sure that the detailed monitoring now proposed will not hamper a country’s long term goals”.

Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE, ES) proposed that together with extra surveillance, cost benefit analyses should be carried out by the Commission to evaluate the usefulness of infrastructural investments, so as to ensure that spending went to projects with potential.

Various other MEPs aired the idea of cutting EU structural funds to excessive deficit countries, but without reaching a verdict on whether this might do more harm than good.

Next steps

The two draft reports amending the Commission proposals will be officially presented by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee draftspersons on 28 February.

European Parliament in favour of Eurozone financial transaction tax

Mercredi 11 janvier 2012

A broad agreement has emerged Monday between different parties in Parliament about this tax.

Various MEPs said that in recent months they had shifted their position in favour of a financial transaction tax. Wolf Klinz (ALDE, DE) explained that this was “because the financial sector has not learnt the lessons from the crisis”.

The shift suggests that more MEPs may favour the proposal than was the case some months ago. Only the ECR spokesperson, Czech MEP Ivo Strejček, stood by his group’s fundamental opposition to the tax.

Parliament an early mover in calls to tax financial transactions

By narrow margins, Parliament had already pronounced itself in favour of a financial transaction tax towards the end of 2010 and more specifically in March 2011. The Commission tabled its legislative proposal late in 2011.

Commission proposal a good start but fine tuning needed

Opening the discussions, Socialist rapporteur Anni Podimata (EL) broadly welcomed the Commission proposal, noting that its broad scope should capture a large majority of transactions and reduce the temptation for financial service providers to relocate outside the EU.

She added however that transactions on EU financial products between non-EU parties would not be covered by the proposal and that the proposed rate of tax on the end of trading day transaction volume would be too low.

A necessary tax

Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP, FI), voiced the large majority view that the tax would need to be implemented by, at the very least, all the Eurozone countries.

Pascal Canfin (Greens, FR), rejected the argument that “ordinary consumers” would see the cost of the tax shifted to them, noting that the main “consumers” on financial markets are in fact high-frequency traders and banks trading for their own profit.

Jürgen Klute (GUE/NGL, DE), argued that the tax would not constitute “revenge” on the financial sector but rather make it share some of the burden of the crisis, along with all other sectors.

A damaging tax

The ECR group struck a lone chord with all its representatives warning of the dangers of the tax. “Relocation [of financial players] will take place within weeks at most”, Mr Strejcek said, adding that banks should not be penalised since it was states, not banks, which were most responsible for the crisis.

Marta Andreasen (EFD, UK) also said that she found it “incredible that we are discussing a financial transaction tax for 2014 when the Euro is burning”.

Next steps

The draft report is scheduled to be presented on 28 February, put to a committee vote in early April and a plenary one in June. Parliament has a legal right to present an opinion on the Commission proposal.

From Warsow with love

Lundi 2 janvier 2012

The calendar year ended. As usual, the rotating presidency of the EU Council has changed hands. While the Poles say goodbye, the Danes took place for the first half of 2012.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Everything good must eventually have its finale, and the six months of the first Polish Presidency of the European Union Council is finally coming to an end. For 184 days we have tried to serve the European Union and its citizens. Our holding of the Presidency came at a difficult time and one full of challenges, and we hope that we have been able to fulfil this task.

We would like to thank you sincerely for the interest and trust that you have bestowed on us by visiting the official website of the Presidency www.pl2011.eu and the good will you have shown. We express our gratitude for your support and commitment, as well as for your criticism and activity.

The year that is now coming to an end has been important for Europe. In the New Year wish all of you optimism and solidarity, and also what is expressed in the motto of our Presidency: ‘More Europe in Europe’.

Now the presidency of the EU Council passes to our friends from Denmark. And we guarantee - you can count on us. Good luck! I kan regne med os. Held og lykke!

Thank you and best regards,

The team of the Polish Presidency

The Euro-bonds to stabilize the Euro

Mercredi 21 décembre 2011

A resolution passed Tuesday by members of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs proposes the establishment of Euro-bonds in addition to measures more urgent.

At the same time the committee also approved a question to be put to the Commission at Parliament’s next plenary session on the progress of play of its green paper on Eurobonds and asking for an analysis of the reactions received so far.

Questions still open on green paper

The resolution welcomes the Commission’s consultative document on the introduction of “stability bonds” but also notes that further work is required on some issues. These would include specific ways of addressing potential moral hazard, making the system attractive for AAA countries as well as heavily indebted ones, increasing competitiveness, and introducing enforceable debt reduction systems, among others.

Eurobonds for Eurozone longevity

The resolution does not claim that Eurobonds are a quick fix for the current difficulties. It does however argue that they should be considered an important component of medium-term solutions. The resolution also acknowledges that a “necessary precondition” for the common issuance of bonds is stronger fiscal coordination aimed both at better economic governance and growth.

To tackle immediate difficulties, the resolution calls on the Commission rapidly to table proposals “to decisively address the current crisis, such as the European redemption pact proposed by the German Council of Economic Experts (…), the finalisation and ratification of a European Stability Mechanism treaty (…), eurobills as well as joint management of sovereign debt issuance”.

Next steps

This resolution and question to the Commission are expected to feature on the next plenary session agenda. With a view to this, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee is also preparing an own-initiative resolution, under the stewardship of Sylvie Goulard (ALDE, FR), providing a more detailed reaction to the Commission’s green paper.

The European Union calls for a reduction in youth unemployment

Mardi 20 décembre 2011

21% of young Europeans are unemployed, Europe demands an immediate response of the States.

The new ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’, adopted by the Commission today, calls on Member State to work on preventing early school leaving; helping youngsters develop skills relevant to the labour market; ensuring work experience and on-the-job training and helping young people find a first good job. The Commission is also urging Member States to make better use of the European Social Fund which still has €30billion of funding uncommitted to projects. In addition, the Commission has put forward a set of concrete actions to be financed directly by EU funds.

The Commission will also make funds available for technical assistance to help Member States make greater use of available EU funding - especially the European Social Fund (ESF) of which €30bn remains uncommitted to projects.

More details
The main actions financed directly by the Commission in the new ‘Youth Opportunities initiative’ are:

- using €4m to help Member States set up ‘youth guarantee’ schemes to ensure young people are either in employment, education or training within four months of leaving school.
- dedicating € 1.3 million to support the setting up of apprenticeships through the European Social Fund. An increase of 10% by the end of 2013 would add a total of 370,000 new apprenticeships.
- using €3m of the European Social Fund Technical Assistance to support Member States in the setting up of support schemes for young business starters and social entrepreneurs;
- gearing funds as much as possible towards placements in enterprises and targeting at least 130,000 placements in 2012 under ERASMUS and Leonardo da Vinci;
- providing financial assistance in 2012-2013 to 5,000 young people to find a job in another Member State through the ‘Your first EURES job’ initiative
- reinforcing the budget allocation for the European Voluntary Service in order to provide at least 10,000 volunteering opportunities in 2012;
presenting in 2012 a framework for high quality traineeships in the EU;
- ensuring around 600 further exchanges under Erasmus for entrepreneurs in 2012.
The actions proposed by the Commission will pave the way for Member States to develop further youth-related measures under the next generation of European Social Fund programmes and as part of the EU budget 2014-2020.

Background
There are 5 million unemployed young people in the EU today and 7.5 million young people between 15 and 24 are currently neither in employment nor in education or training. This concerns not only low-skilled young people having left school too early, but more and more university graduates who cannot find a first job.

The Commission wants to mobilise all actors concerned as well as available EU funding to take immediate measures that will enable smoother transitions between education and work as well as ease access to work for young unemployed across Europe. The aim is to help youngsters that are neither in education nor work to find a job, or return to training and to help those with a third level education find a first job.

The Commission will strongly support Member States in this endeavour by giving them policy guidance as well as concrete assistance. In the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, Member States are expected to address youth employment in their 2012 National Reform Programmes and youth policies and measures will systematically be addressed in the draft Country Specific Recommendations for 2012. The Commission will continue to assess and analyse measures taken by Member States to fight youth unemployment and will report on this to the informal Council of Employment and Social Ministers in April 2012.

European Commission simplifies regulation of services of general economic interest (SGEI).

Mardi 20 décembre 2011

The Commission adopted a new package of rules to introduce a diversified and proportionate approach about state aid.

Member States are largely free to define which services are of general interest. But, the Commission must ensure that public funding granted for the provision of such services does not unduly distort competition in the Internal Market.

The new rules, which replace the so-called “Monti-Kroes” Package of July 2005, clarify basic notions such as ‘economic activity’ to facilitate the application of the rules by national but also regional or local governments.

All social services become exempted from the obligation of notification to the Commission, regardless of the amount of the compensation received. The services concerned must meet “social needs as regards health and long term care, childcare, access to and reintegration in the labour market, social housing and the care and social inclusion of vulnerable groups”. Previously only hospitals and social housing were exempted. Other SGEIs are exempted provided the compensation amount is less than €15 million a year.

The Commission also proposes to set a minimum compensation amount for all other services below which the measure is deemed free of aid. The SGEI de minimis amount would be set at €500,000 over three years. This will reduce red tape for small SGEIs. A final decision will be taken in the spring.

On the other hand, in future there will be a greater scrutiny of other SGEIs involving compensation amounts of more than €15 million a year and where the potential for distortions of competition within the single market is higher. Whenever possible, the SGEI should be entrusted through an open and transparent public tender to ensure the best quality at the cheapest cost for taxpayers who pay for the services.

More information
The new package consists of four instruments that will apply to all authorities (national, regional, local) that grant compensation for the provision of SGEI:

A new Communication, clarifying basic concepts of State aid, which are relevant for SGEI, such as the notions of aid, SGEI, economic activity, convergence between public procurement procedures and absence of aid, etc.

A revised Decision, exempts Member States from the obligation to notify public service compensation for certain SGEI-categories to the Commission. The exemption is extended from hospitals and social housing to a much wider range of social services and a lower compensation threshold applies for triggering notifications for other SGEI activities. The notification threshold was lowered from €30 million to €15 million, taking account of stakeholders’ concerns that the previous ceiling withdrew very sizeable contracts in important areas of the Internal Market from the Commission’s scrutiny.

A revised Framework for assessing large compensation amounts granted to operators outside the social services field. Those cases have to be notified to the Commission and may be declared compatible if they meet certain criteria. The new rules introduce, in particular, a more precise methodology to determine the amount of compensation, a requirement for Member States to introduce efficiency incentives in compensation mechanisms, the requirement to comply with EU public procurement rules and equal treatment of providers of the same service for determining compensation. Moreover, the Commission may require Member States to adopt measures to reduce the anticompetitive effects of certain compensations that present a particularly strong potential for distorting competition in the Internal Market.

A new proposal for a de minimis Regulation, providing that compensation below a certain threshold does not fall under state aid scrutiny, is expected to be adopted in the spring of 2012, after a final round of consultation.

Background
In 2003, the European Court of Justice ruled on the assessment of public service compensations in the context of EU state aid rules (case C-280/00 Altmark Trans). To take account of this ruling, the Commission adopted the first SGEI package (also known as the “Monti-Kroes-Package”, see IP/05/937). The package entered into force in July 2005 and specified the conditions under which state aid in the form of public service compensation is compatible with the EC Treaty (now the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).

In March 2011, the Commission launched a broad debate on the review of the package, which is due to expire at the end of 2011 (see IP/11/347). In September 2011, the Commission consulted stakeholders on the proposals for new rules (see http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2011_sgei/index_en.html). The Commission received valuable contributions from Member States, European institutions and stakeholders. Subsequently, the drafts were revised to take into account stakeholders’ comments.

Denmark launches the website of his presidency which starts in January 2012

Lundi 19 décembre 2011

The Danish Minister for European Affairs launched the website of the presidency which starts January, 1st 2012 for six months.

From 1 January and for six months onwards, Denmark will lead the work of the EU Member States in the Council. Denmark will lead weekly council meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, thousands of meetings of European officials and a number of conferences and seminars in Denmark. In addition eight informal ministerial meetings will be held in Denmark.

The webpage is a central tool for the Presidency for disseminating information. Here you can find all you wanted to know about the work of the Presidency, its activities and results in various policy areas.

Eu2012.dk has news and information on the Presidency, on the EU and on Denmark. An extensive calendar gives an overview over meetings, events and cultural activities. Accreditation for meetings is through the website, where you can also find all relevant information and documents related to the meetings.

News and photos give an overview of the newest events and users can subscribe to a newsletter on the Presidency, create their own RSS-newsfeed and follow the Presidency on both twitter and on the mobile website. You will also find an extensive list of the Presidency’s spokespersons and an overview of the Danish Government.

The European Commission presents its new anti-fraud programmes.

Lundi 19 décembre 2011

The European Commission today adopted two proposals for programs Hercules III and Pericles 2020. With a budget of € 117.7 million, these programs will take place over the next programming phase.

Hercule III
The Hercule III programme is dedicated to fighting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the EU. It focuses in particular on cooperation between the Commission, via the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF), competent authorities in the Member States, and other European institutions and bodies.

The programme aims at ensuring equivalent protection in the Member States and in all EU institutions, bodies and agencies. Actions provided under the Hercule III programme include: technical and operational support for law enforcement authorities in the Member States in their fight against illegal cross-border activities, and professional training activities.

The previous Hercule programme produced important results such as 70 technical assistance projects that financed the purchase of sophisticated technical equipment for law enforcement agencies combating fraud, as well as anti-fraud training for over 5 300 law enforcement staff.

Pericles 2020
The Pericles 2020 programme is an exchange, assistance and training programme to strengthen the protection of euro banknotes and coins in Europe and worldwide.

Projects financed under the Pericles programme include, among others, a seminar on the “Community Strategy for the protection of the euro in the Mediterranean area”, a training course on money counterfeiting in Latin America and a number of staff exchanges between authorities within and outside the EU.

Next steps
The draft Regulations will be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament, with a view to adoption by the end of 2012, so that the new programme can start on 1 January 2014.