Documents considered by the Committee on 15 December 2010 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

20 Commission Work Programme



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COM(10) 623

Commission Communication: Commission Work Programme 2011
Legal base
Document originated27 October 2010
Deposited in Parliament5 November 2010
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of considerationEM of 26 November 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone
To be discussed in CouncilNo date set
Committee's assessmentLegally and politically important
Committee's decisionCleared


20.1 At the end of each year, the Commission publishes a Work Programme (CWP). The publication of the 2010 CWP was delayed by the establishment of a new Commission and was, as a consequence, less specific in its proposals than usual. This 2011 document sets out the priorities of the Commission for the forthcoming year and the major legislative and non-legislative proposals it intends to pursue. The Work Programme is built on the five main political priorities for the EU which were set out by President Barroso in the first state of the Union Address to the European Parliament on 7 September 2010. These were:

·  Dealing with the economic crisis and building the momentum of the recovery;

·  Restoring growth for jobs by accelerating the Europe 2020 reform agenda;

·  Building an area of freedom, justice and security;

·  Launching negotiations for a modern EU budget; and

·  Pulling the EU's weight on the global stage.

Annexed to the CWP are more detailed explanations of strategic and priority initiatives for 2011 and beyond.

20.2 This work programme is the first to be adopted under the new programming cycle initiated by the Political guidelines of the Commission President and set out in the Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the Commission.

Commission Communication

20.3 The CWP focuses on three priority areas: sustainable economic and financial sector reform including plans to tackle climate change; justice and home affairs, primarily to improve the functioning of the single market; and developing a cohesive external relations policy. In order to put these policies into effect, the Commission expects 2011 to see the benefits of a major reflection on how the EU can modernise its policy and financial instruments and maximise the added value of EU action.

20.4 On economic reforms, the Commission plans to focus on restoring growth through improving economic governance and coordination. The Commission's new proposals are intended to increase surveillance of fiscal policies at EU level and new enforcement mechanisms will be designed to prevent or correct excesses that could damage Europe's financial or fiscal stability. In January 201, the Commission will adopt its first Annual Growth Survey to launch the European Semester, which the Commission states will "become the central structure for the EU's common efforts to boost growth and jobs".[144]

20.5 On Financial regulation, the Commission will table early in 2011 the remaining proposals to complete its financial sector reform. There will be a particular focus on the protection of small investors and ordinary consumers. The proposals will complete the Commission's reform programme for the financial sector with the aim of having the full reform agreed by the end of 2011.

20.6 As a major attempt at integrated policy making, the Commission will set out its vision for "Resource Efficiency" as a flagship initiative in 2011. The aim is to build a framework based on resource efficiency to include the shift to a low carbon society which sets sectoral policies within a long-term sustainable framework. A particular focus will be the job-creating potential of energy infrastructure and efficiency. The Commission will continue its efforts on combating climate change both through efforts for a global agreement and through intensive work with bilateral partners on common projects in areas such as clean technologies, carbon trading and renewable energy.

20.7 The Commission wants to ensure that its growth agenda has a social dimension. To help achieve this it will bring forward a proposal to improve the implementation of the Posted Workers Directive and update the Working Time Directive. Inclusive growth will, according to the Commission's plans, necessitate the addressing of societal challenges such as the impact of an ageing population and the Commission will support "Member States' action to deliver adequate and sustainable pensions for citizens".[145]

20.8 The Commission recognises that there will be no long-term growth in Europe without a well-functioning Single Market. The Work Programme therefore proposes what the Commission calls "concrete proposals to re-launch the single market — in a Single Market Act — and in the Europe 2020 flagship initiative on Industrial Policy".[146] In the area of taxation a proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base is aimed at simplifying the tax rules and removing obstacles which companies suffer when they operate cross-border, without affecting actual tax rates.

20.9 In the area of Freedom, Security and Justice, the Communication points to gaps which the Commission regards as remaining between what the Lisbon Treaty says and the reality that citizens face in their daily lives. The Commission therefore intends to ensure that citizens' rights in the Treaties are translated into substantial protective measures, and that the Stockholm Programme[147] is implemented. Efforts in this field will cover both civil and criminal law. They will include clarifying European contract law, as well as further proposals aimed at introducing minimum standards in the field of legal assistance and aid, and a Directive on the rights of victims of crime to ensure that victims receive support when out of their home state.

20.10 The Commission will seek to work with the new External Action Service (EAS) to develop a cohesive external affairs policy. The Commission has an interest in both trade, enlargement and implementing humanitarian aid policies and is aware of the need to coordinate them with the work of the EAS. It intends to focus on developing a consistent position in international negotiations, progressing negotiations on enlargement, modernising humanitarian aid and developing a trade policy that can assist and support developing countries integrate into the global economy. As well as pursuing major bilateral agreements and maintaining pressure for a breakthrough in WTO negotiations, the Commission will present a proposal for an instrument to improve access to public procurement markets in developed and large developing economies. Progress in negotiations with candidate countries will have a special emphasis on respect for the rule of law.

20.11 The Work Programme also outlines a general approach of seeking to improve efficiency in the way the EU operates — the Budget Review[148] is cited among the means by which this will be achieved. The Commission intends move, as it says, from "input to impact" through improving the targeting of EU spending, to ensure that money is spent in ways that will clearly add value, and it will propose changes to the way EU finances are collected. The Commission also plans to continue work on reducing the regulatory burden imposed by EU legislation, and on improving the policy making process.

The Government's view

20.12 As the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) notes in his Explanatory Memorandum of 26 November 2010, the CWP covers a broad range of issues and the Government will provide detailed responses to the policy initiatives that the Commission has outlined in this document when legislative proposals are put forward. However, the Government has provided an overview of what it identifies as the key policy implications and its initial view on those implications in respect of initiatives that the Government has identified as being the most significant.


20.13 The Government notes the Commission's plans to complete the economic governance reforms it has been carrying out with a focus on improving co-ordination of macro-economic policies. The Commission is also looking at improving competition in the credit-rating industry and reducing the over reliance of financial institutions on credit-rating agencies. The Government is broadly supportive of the measures proposed as they are primarily aimed at improving the operation of the single market, improving stability in the financial sector and encouraging growth and competition. The Government also supports the introduction of guidelines for the rescue and restructuring of financial institutions and amending the Capital Requirements Directive and is keen to ensure that both initiatives improve stability and reassure investor confidence.

20.14 The Government identifies proposals to improve standardisation in the ICT sector, as worthy of particular support, in the expectation that it should present an opportunity to reduce the costs to UK ICT business of trading in other Member States.

20.15 There are two notable areas of potential concern which the Minister identifies. The first is on proposals to amend the Working Time Directive, if they were to threaten the retention of the UK's opt-out allowing individuals who choose to work longer than the 48 hour working week maximum. In addition, the Government says it will pay close attention to subsidiarity concerns in relation to the Directive. The second area of concern relates to the implementation of the Posted Workers Directive, which the Minister says could also cause concern if the measures undermined Member States' rights over their own employment law and structures.

20.16 Where the Commission is planning to put forward proposals on common rules for calculating corporate tax, the Minister states that "whilst this should in theory benefit UK corporations by reducing the costs of calculating tax in more than one Member State, the Government will examine these proposals very carefully to ensure that there is no competency creep in this area."[149] The Minister welcomes the forthcoming VAT strategy, which will set the strategic direction for VAT for the next few years, and anticipates engaging actively with the Commission green paper later this year.


20.17 The Government says that it is likely to support the drawing up of low carbon and energy roadmaps to 2050, in order to illustrate how the EU could go about achieving its climate change goals. The roadmaps will highlight the challenge of meeting the 80% to 95% Green House Gas (GHG) target for 2050. However, the EM stresses the need to be vigilant on the proposals to recast the Energy Services Directive for fear that attempts to introduce mandatory energy efficiency targets could result in less cost effective measures being implemented to tackle climate change. In the Minister's view, Member States are best placed to identify priorities for reducing GHG.


20.18 The Government has a number of concerns. It believes that in its current form the Data Retention Directive provides sufficient flexibility for Member States to implement the legislation in accordance with their own national requirements and data protection laws. The Government will therefore look carefully at proposals to review the Directive. Nor is the Government convinced that the proposed initiative concerning confiscation is compatible with what is outlined in the Stockholm Programme. The Government also believes that proposals to establish an inventory of airport capacities may be in breach of subsidiarity.


20.19 The Commission Communication emphasises working with the EAS to develop trade and aid policies. The Government has concerns around the wording on the Commission's initiative to introduce new powers to 'take effective action' when EU companies are experiencing difficulties in securing public procurement contracts abroad lest it have the potential to be used as a used as a protectionist measure. The Work Programme also gives a push to further the enlargement process. The Government states that it is in favour of further enlargement due to the opportunities which it presents UK companies, and looks forward to the Commission's assessment of Serbia's fulfilment of the membership criteria.


20.20 The Work Programme also discusses modernising the budget's implementation to focus it on areas that can add the maximum value. The Minister states that this is in line with the Government's objective of improving efficiency and cutting waste in EU expenditure, and adds that the Commission's aim of modernising the budget will play an important role for the UK as the Government defends UK interests in the EU budget negotiation.


20.21 As in previous years, we consider that the Work Programme provides a useful summary of the Commission's priorities for the next 12 months. We therefore recommend it to the relevant Departmental Select Committees (DSCs) for their information and to indicate possible areas for future inquiry. In order to help DSCs we have provided the list of strategic proposals to be adopted by the Commission in 2011 as an Annex to this chapter. The relevant UK Government department is indicated in each case. A helpful short commentary on the what the Commission's proposals could mean for local authorities has been supplied by the Local Government Group and is also produced as a further Annex to this chapter.

20.22 The level of information provided on proposals in the Work Programme is insufficient for scrutiny at this stage. However, as each proposal comes forward it will be subject to scrutiny by the Committee in the normal way. The Minister's EM gives a helpful indication of where the Government foresees difficulty with the Commission's proposals. Particularly welcome is the indication of potential subsidiarity concerns in relation to three of the measures. We welcome the Government's decision to set aside time to debate the Commission's Work Programme in Westminster Hall. That debate will also cover any outstanding issues from the 2010 CWP, on which the Committee reported in September. In previous years the Government has provided time to debate the Commission's Annual Policy Strategy. We consider the Work Programme, however, to be a more appropriate document on which to debate Commission's future programme as it contains more information on which initiatives are likely to taken forward.

20.23 In the meantime, we are content to clear the document.

Annex 1: Summary of the strategic initiatives scheduled for adoption by the Commission under the Work Programme for 2010 and those under consideration for adoption

Note: The measures are arranged according to our assessment of which Government Department is likely to be given responsibility for them, based on our experience with similar proposals. This assessment may not always be correct and may change with circumstances.
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
HMTAnnual Growth survey Non-Legislative

Commission Communication

1st quarter 2011
HMTStrengthening economic governance follow-up Legislative 1st quarter
Financial Regulation: completing the reform
HMTAmendment to the Regulation on Credit Rating Agencies Legislative 2nd quarter
HMTLegislative initiative on a framework for bank crisis management and resolution Legislative 2nd quarter
HMTAmendments of Capital Requirements

Directives (CRD IV) (Carry-over 2010)

Legislative2nd quarter
HMTReview of the Market Abuse Directive (Carry-over 2010) Legislative1st quarter
HMTReview of the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) Legislative2nd quarter
HMTDirective on responsible lending and borrowing Legislative1st quarter
HMTLegislative proposal on access to basic banking Legislative1st quarter
Smart growth
BISCommunication on a more integrated European Standardisation system and legislative proposal on standardisation, covering inter alia the ICT sector Non legislative Commission Communication/


1st quarter
BIS/DfECommunication on Modernisation of higher education Non legislative

Commission Communication

3rd quarter
Sustainable growth
Low-carbon economy 2050 roadmap Non legislative

Commission Communication

1st quarter
Energy Roadmap 2050 Non legislative3rd quarter
Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe Non legislative2nd quarter
European Energy Efficiency Plan until 2020 Non legislative

Commission Communication

1st quarter
Directive on energy efficiency and savings Legislative3rd quarter
DfTWhite Paper on the future of transport (Carry-over 2010) Non-legislative1st quarter
Inclusive growth
BISLegislative initiative on Posting of Workers Legislative4th quarter
BISRevision of the Directive on Working Time (Directive 2003/88) (Carry-over 2010) Legislative3rd quarter
Revision of the State aid rules applicable to the services of general economic interest (SGEI):

i)  Framework for State aid in the for of public service compensation

ii)  Commission Decision on the application of article 106.2 TFEU to State aid in the form of public service compensation

Non legislative4th quarter
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
DWPWhite Paper on Pensions Non-legislative3rd quarter
Tapping the potential of the Single Market for growth
Legislative proposal on collective rights management Legislative1st quarter
Legislative proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) Legislative1st quarter
HMTCommunication on the future VAT strategy Non-legislative4th quarter
Follow-up to the consultation on Collective Redress Non-legislative4th quarter
Legislative proposal on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the EU Legislative4th quarter
DfTAirports package: (1) Airport capacity assessment and inventory, (2) Revision of the Slot Reegulation, (3) Revision of the Groundhandling Directive, (4) Revision of the aviation noise directive Legislative/Non-legislative

Commission Communication

2nd quarter
Pursuing the citizens' agenda: freedom, security and justice
MoJLegal instrument on European Contract Law Legislative4th quarter
MoJRegulation on improving the efficiency of the enforcement of judgments in the European Union: cross-border debt recovery Legislative2nd quarter
MoJDirective on the rights of and support to victims of crime Legislative2nd quarter
HOInitiatives on Smart Borders:

iii)  Legislative proposal to set up an Entry/Exit System (EES)

iv)  Legislative proposal to set up a Registered Traveller Programme

v)  Legislative proposal amending the Schengen Borders Code

vi)  Communication the possibility of introducing an EU ESTA


Commission Communication

2nd quarter
HOInitiatives on Protecting the Licit Economy:

vii)  Communication on a comprehensive policy against corruption

viii)  Proposal of a new legal framework on the confiscation and recovery of criminal assets

ix)  Communication on the Anti-fraud strategy

Non-legislative/ Legislative 2nd quarter
HOA new comprehensive legal framework for the protection of personal data in the EU (Carry-over 2010) Legislative2nd quarter
HOProposals to renew Civil Protection Legislation Legislative2nd quarter
Europe in the World: pulling our weight on the global stage
A comprehensive trade policy
Proposal reinforcing support to EU SMEs in markets outside the EU Non-legislative/Legislative 4th quarter
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
Initiative on the access of third country companies and goods in the EU public procurement market (MASP-Market Access Scheme for Procurement) Legislative3rd quarter
Proposal for a EP/Council Regulation applying the scheme of the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) from 1 January 2014 Legislative1st quarter
EU enlargement, neighbourhood, development policies and humanitarian aid
DFIDInitiative to modernize EU development policy Non-legislative4th quarter
DFIDModernizing Humanitarian Aid Legislative4th quarter
A modern budget for Europe's future
HMTProposal for a new Multiannual Financial Framework, including the proposals on the different policy areas Legislative/Non-legislative 2nd quarter
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
BISReview of Framework on State aid to shipbuilding Non-legislativeN/A
Commission Communication on quantification of harm in antitrust damages actions Non-legislativeN/A
BIS/DfTGuidelines on State aid to maritime transport Non-legislativeN/A
BIS/DECCGuidelines on certain State aid Measures in the context of the Greenhouse Gas Emission Allowance Trading Scheme Non-legislativeN/A
BISGuidelines for the Rescue and Restructuring of financial institutions Non-legislativeN/A
Digital Agenda
Review of the Directive on reuse of public sector information 2003/98/EC LegislativeN/A
BISCommunication on Privacy and Trust in digital Europe: ensuring citizen's confidence in new services Non-legislativeN/A
Commission Recommendation on eCall N/A
Proposal for a Council Recommendation to enhance a network and information security through standards and guidelines in public procurement N/A
BISWeb accessibility action plan Commission action N/A
Possible revision / clarification of universal service provisions in e-communications Legislative / Non-legislative N/A
BISCommunication on the collective use of radio spectrum Non-legislativeN/A
BISRevision of the e-signature Directive following an action plan on e-signatures and e-identification to facilitate the provision of cross-border public services in the Single Market Directive 1999/93 of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Community framework for electronic signatures LegislativeN/A
Mutual recognition of identification and eAuthentication LegislativeN/A
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
BISReport on the outcome of the review of the functioning of the Roaming Regulation Non-legislative / Legislative N/A
Communication on digitisation and digital preservation Non-legislativeN/A
Economic and Monetary Affairs
HMTCommunication on Public Finances in EU 2011 Non-legislativeN/A
HMTCommunication on innovative financial instruments for the new MFF Non-legislativeN/A
Education, Culture and Youth
BIS/DfECommission Communication on a New Competences Initiative Non-legislativeN/A
BIS/DfERecommendation o the promotion and validation of informal and non-formal learning N/A
DCMSUnlocking the potential of Cultural and Creative Industries Non-legislativeN/A
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Proposal for a Council Decision on Employment Guidelines LegislativeN/A
BIS/DoH(second-phase) consultation of social partners on the protection of workers' health from risks related to exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke at the workplace Non-legislativeN/A
BISProposal to amend several labour law EC Directives with a view to including seafaring workers or vessels within their scope LegislativeN/A
BIS(first-phase) consultation of the European social partners on the revision of Council Directive 2001/86/EC of 8 October 2001 supplementing the Statute for a European company with regard to the involvement of employees Non-legislativeN/A
BIS(first-phase) consultation of the European social partners on the revision of Council Directive 2003/72?EC of 22 July 2003 supplementing the Statute for a European Cooperative Society with regard to the involvement of employees Non-legislativeN/A
DECCInitiative to support the implementation of smart grids LegislativeN/A
DECCCommunication on security of energy supply and international cooperation Non-legislativeN/A
Enlargement and neighbourhood Policy
FCOEnlargement package 2011 Non-legislativeN/A
FCOCommission opinion on Serbia's application for EU membership Non-legislativeN/A
FCOAnnual European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) package Non-legislativeN/A
DEFRAReview of the list of priority substances under the Water Framework Directive LegislativeN/A
DEFRACommunication on implementing EU environmental law and policy: a common challenge Non-legislative
Health and Consumers
DoHProposal for a revision of the Decision on communicable diseases combined with an initiative on prevention and control of other serious cross border health threats at EU level (Health Security in the European Union) LegislativeN/A
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
BISReview of Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety (GPSD) LegislativeN/A
BISCommunication on Consumer Policy Strategy (2014-2020) Non-legislativeN/A
DoHProposal for a revision of the Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale LegislativeN/A


Communication concerning the Second EU strategy for the protection and welfare of animals (2011-2015) Non-legislativeN/A
Home Affairs
HOCommunication on the EU agenda for integration of third-country nationals, including the development of a coordination mechanism Non-legislativeN/A
HODirective on the use of Passenger Name Records for law enforcement purposes (European PNR) LegislativeN/A
HOCommunication on enhanced intra-EU solidarity Non-legislativeN/A
HMTOEuropean Terrorist Financing Tracking programme (European TFTP) LegislativeN/A
HOLegislative proposal on the establishment of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) LegislativeN/A
HOCommunication on the evaluation and future development of the Global Approach to Migration Non-legislativeN/A
HOProposal for a review of Directive 2006/24/EC (Data Retention) LegislativeN/A
HORegulation establishing a procedure for the freezing of funds of persons suspected of terrorist activities inside the EU LegislativeN/A
Industry and Entrepreneurship
BISCommunication on the strategy for the Sustainable Competitiveness of the EU construction sector Non-legislativeN/A
DoHReview of Council Directive 89/105/EEC relating to the transparency of measures regulating the pricing of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of national health insurance systems LegislativeN/A
Registration of motor vehicles previously registered in another Member State LegislativeN/A
DfTProposal for a regulation relating to the permissible sound level and the exhaust system of motor vehicles LegislativeN/A
DfTRegulation establishing a Third Party Liability regime for the EU Global Navigation Satellite Systems LegislativeN/A
DfTProposal for a Directive amending framework directive 2007/46/EC on the type-approval of motor vehicles (introducing market surveillance provisions of the new legislative framework on the marketing of products) LegislativeN/A
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
Internal Market and Services
Modernisation of the EU Public Procurement legislative framework LegislativeN/A
HMTDirective on Insurance Guarantee Schemes LegislativeN/A
BISRegulation on a European Foundation LegislativeN/A
Initiative on Concessions LegislativeN/A
Directive ensuring consistency and effectiveness of Pre-Contractual Disclosures and Ales Rules for Packaged Retail Investment Products (PRIP's) LegislativeN/A
DfE/BISGreen Paper on the professional Qualifications Directive: a way forward to a possible reform Non-legislativeN/A
BISCommunication and Report on the results of the implementation of the Services Directive and its "mutual evaluation process" Non-legislativeN/A
BISGreen Paper on a framework initiative on corporate governance Non-legislativeN/A
BISSocial Business Initiative Non-legislative / Legislative N/A
HMTEU framework for the approximation of sanctioning regimes in the financial sector LegislativeN/A
HMTSecurities Law Directive Regulation on Central Securities Depositories (CSD's) LegislativeN/A
HMTAmendment o f the UCITS Directive a s regards rules on UCITS depositaries and remuneration policies LegislativeN/A
DWPReview of Directive concerning Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) LegislativeN/A
HMTFollow-up to the Green Paper on Corporate Governance in Financial institutions LegislativeN/A
Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Proposal for a Regulation on the conflicts of laws in matters concerning matrimonial property rights, including the question of jurisdiction and mutual recognition, and for Regulation on the property consequences of the separation of couples from other types of unions LegislativeN/A
HOEU Framework for national strategies on Roma integration Non-legislativeN/A
Proposal for a Directive on Access to a Lawyer in criminal procedures LegislativeN/A
Legislative proposal amending Decision 1995/553/EC implementing the right to consular protection LegislativeN/A
Legislative proposal on improving financial compensation of consular protection in crisis situations LegislativeN/A
BISRevision of the Council Directive 90/314/EEC on Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours/ LegislativeN/A
BISCommunication on misleading and comparative advertising Directive Non-legislativeN/A
Dept. Subject Type of proposal Expected date of adoption
Communication on European Judicial Training Non-legislativeN/A
HORegulation on limitation periods on cross border road traffic accidents LegislativeN/A
HORevision of the Framework Decision on financial penalties LegislativeN/A
HOLegislative proposal on Communication with Relatives, Employers and Consular Authorities in criminal procedures LegislativeN/A
BIS(first-stage and second-stage) consultation of the European social partners on reconciliation between work, family and private life (2011) Non-legislativeN/A
Maritime affairs and fisheries
DfTProposal for a legislative action of the European Parliament and Council setting a framework for Maritime Spatial Planning LegislativeN/A
Protection of the financial interests of the EU
HMTCommunication on protection of the financial interests of the European Union, including by criminal law Non-legislativeN/A
HMTFollow-up of the Reflection paper on the reform of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) — amended proposals amending the OLAF Regulations 1073/1999 and 1074/1999 LegislativeN/A
Research and Innovation
BISEuropean Strategy and Action plan towards a sustainable bio-based economy by 2020 Non-legislativeN/A
BISCommunication on "Partnerships in Research and Innovation" Non-legislativeN/A
BISCommunication on Scientific information Non-legislativeN/A
Taxation and Customs Union
Financial sector taxation Legislative / Non-legislative N/A
HMTInitiative on cross boarder inheritance taxes Non-legislativeN/A
BIS/DFIDCommunication on Trade and Development Non-legislativeN/A
DfTProposal on security scanners LegislativeN/A
DfTPackage on a Social Maritime Agenda Legislative / Non-legislative N/A
DfTCommunication on international transport policy with regard to neighbouring countries Non-legislativeN/A
DfTStrategic Transport Technology Plan (STTP) Non-legislativeN/A
DfTe-mobility package Legislative / Non-legislative N/A

Annex 2: Local Government Group, European Commission work programme 2011

November 2010

This LG Group briefing analyses EU initiatives set out in the 2011 European Commission Work Programme which could affect councils in coming years from a funding, cost, or regulatory point of view. Some proposals are carried over from the 2010 programme.

Spending pressures continue to have a significant impact on local councils. We need to make sure any new legislative proposals, whether from Whitehall or Brussels that might affect local services, do not put excessive pressure on our member authorities.

LG Group seeks to ensure that the EU legislates only when absolutely necessary, with a minimum of bureaucratic rules and a maximum of consultation, forewarning and financial assistance, leaving it to local councils and the UK government to work out the detail.

We are pleased to feed local government views to the Commons' European scrutiny committee and the Lord EU committee. We have submitted an earlier draft to the FCO European team in anticipation of them working on the explanatory memorandum.
EU proposal and what could it mean for councils When
Review of the EU budget (2014-2020) including structural funds is crucial to councils as they can currently benefit from the £7 bn EU regeneration and skills funding which comes to the UK. The LGA seeks a more coherent, locally responsive and accessible EU future funding package. This is a live issue, and the LGA has taken clear lead in the debate. Concrete spending proposals expected from June 2011
Working time directive review: will affect services provided by local authorities (care homes, and fire services etc). While ensuring the health and safety of our workforce, we expect to lobby to keep the 48 hour opt-out; ensure not all on-call time is classed as working time; and that compensatory rest is taken in a flexible way. LGE currently influencing pre-legislative phase through social partners. Expected Autumn 2011 Joint work with LG Employers
Review of EU procurement rules: welcomed by councils, since current rules are uncoordinated and create some legal uncertainties on the ground. The LGA will lobby to ensure the review simplifies legislation, separating mandatory from voluntary rules. Expected autumn 2011
New rules on VAT affecting public authorities: councils'

ability to claim back VAT from government for goods/services they buy for the public sector (crèches etc) may be threatened by a common EU approach for public bodies in the EU. This must remain a national competence.

Expected 2012
Review of the Market in Financial Instruments Directive: local authorities should continue to be classified as 'professional' investors rather than 'retail' to continue to invest public funds. In line with the principle of subsidiarity, national and local government should decide if local authorities should assess and manage financial risk, taking into account national regimes to ensure prudential borrowing/investments. Expected spring 2011
Initiative on concessions: depending on the scope, it may affect councils' franchise arrangements (leisure centres, toll bridges, bus franchises, waste concessions). We will lobby for light touch regulation. Expected 2011
New Directive on water efficiency in buildings: this is expected to set binding thresholds — this will have a significant cost to councils who own significant numbers of municipal buildings and social housing. Expected 2012
New Directive on energy efficiency and savings: proposals are expected to highlight the public sector's exemplary role; it could be accompanied by national energy efficiency targets. Expected autumn 2011
EU environmental legislation: although non legislative, the European Commission will look at ways to enhance EU environment law compliance and strengthen inspections. Since councils implement EU environment rules, LGA will need to influence this process and work closely with Whitehall. Expected 2011
Simplification of EU waste/recycling laws: many of these laws are implemented by councils, and the review is welcome. It is expected to cover directives on End-of-life Vehicles, Batteries and Packaging. The review should not add to councils existing duties. Expected 2012

144   See paragraph 2, page 4 of the Communication. Back

145   Ibid page 6. Back

146   Ibid page 6. Back

147   A five-year plan with guidelines to improve cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs, Council Document 14449/09. Back

148   COM(10) 700. Back

149   Minister's Explanatory Memorandum, para 29. Back

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