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It is a key aspect of the Europe 2020 strategy, which aims to ensure ‘inclusive growth’ with high levels of employment and a reduction in the number of people living in poverty or at risk of social exclusion. Legal basis   Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and Articles 9, 10, 19, 45-48, 145-150 and 151-161 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Objectives   The promotion of employment, improved living and working conditions, proper social protection, dialogue between management and labour, the development of human resources with a view to lasting high employment and the combating of exclusion are the common objectives of the EU and its Member States in the social and employment fields, as described in Article 151 TFEU. Achievements   A. From the Treaty of Rome to the Maastricht Treaty In order to allow workers and their families to take full advantage of the right to move and seek employment freely throughout the common market, the Treaty of Rome provided for the coordination of the Member States’ social security systems. It enshrined the principle of equal pay for men and women, which was recognised by the Court of Justice as being directly applicable, and provided for the establishment of the European Social Fund (ESF) (2.3.2). Concerns about structural imbalances and uneven growth in Europe later led to a more proactive social policy at Community level. In 1974, the Council adopted the first Programme of Social Action.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

Sport   Load fact sheet in pdf format  Sport is a field in which the EU’s responsibilities are relatively new, acquired only with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009. The EU is responsible for the development of evidence-based policy, as well as fostering cooperation and managing initiatives in support of physical activity and sport across Europe. In the 2014-2020 period, a specific budget line has been made available for the first time under the Erasmus+ programme to support projects and networks in the area of sport. Legal basis   Although the Treaties did not mention a specific legal competence for sport before 2009, the Commission built up the beginnings of an EU policy for sport with the 2007 White Paper on sport and the Pierre de Coubertin action plan in 2008. With the Lisbon Treaty, the EU acquired a specific competence in the field of sport. Article 6(e) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) confers on the EU the competence to carry out actions to support or supplement the actions of the Member States in the field of sport, while Article 165(1) of the TFEU sets out the details of a sports policy, stating that the Union ‘shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function’.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

The Treaty of Lisbon transformed the MFF from an interinstitutional agreement into a legally binding act. Established for a period of at least five years, an MFF must ensure that the Union’s expenditure develops in an orderly manner and within the limits of its own resources, and sets out provisions with which the annual budget of the Union must comply, thus laying down the cornerstone of financial discipline. Legal basis   Article 312 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020[1]; Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2017/1123 of 20 June 2017 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020[2]; The Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management[3]. Background   In the 1980s, a climate of conflict in relations between the institutions arose out of a growing mismatch between resources and requirements. The concept of a multiannual financial perspective was developed as an attempt to lessen conflict, enhance budgetary discipline and improve implementation through better planning. The first interinstitutional agreement (IIA) was concluded in 1988.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

Parliament’s participation in the legislative process, its budgetary and control powers, its involvement in treaty revision and its right to intervene before the European Court of Justice enable it to uphold democratic principles at European level. Legal basis   Articles 223 to 234 and 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Objectives   As an institution representing the citizens of Europe, Parliament forms the democratic basis of the European Union. If the EU is to have democratic legitimacy, Parliament must be fully involved in the Union’s legislative process and exercise political scrutiny over the other EU institutions on behalf of the public. Constitutional-type powers and ratification powers (1.2.4)   Since the Single European Act (SEA), all treaties marking the accession of a new Member State and all association treaties have been subject to Parliament’s assent. The SEA also established this procedure for international agreements with important budgetary implications for the Community (replacing the conciliation procedure established in 1975). The Maastricht Treaty introduced it for agreements establishing a specific institutional framework or entailing modifications to an act adopted under the codecision procedure. Parliament must also give its assent to acts relating to the electoral procedure (since the Maastricht Treaty).

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

The Treaty of Lisbon   Load fact sheet in pdf format  This fact sheet presents the background and essential provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. The objective is to provide a historical context for the emergence of this latest fundamental EU text from those which came before it. The specific provisions (with article references) and their effects on European Union policies are explained in more detail in the fact sheets dealing with particular policies and issues. Legal basis   Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community (OJ C 306, 17.12.2007); entry into force on 1 December 2009. History   The Lisbon Treaty started as a constitutional project at the end of 2001 (European Council declaration on the future of the European Union, or Laeken declaration), and was followed up in 2002 and 2003 by the European Convention which drafted the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (Constitutional Treaty) (1.1.4). The process leading to the Lisbon Treaty is a result of the negative outcome of two referenda on the Constitutional Treaty in May and June 2005, in response to which the European Council decided to have a two-year ‘period of reflection’. Finally, on the basis of the Berlin declaration of March 2007, the European Council of 21 to 23 June 2007 adopted a detailed mandate for a subsequent Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), under the Portuguese presidency. The IGC concluded its work in October 2007.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

Its opinions are required on the basis of a mandatory consultation in the fields established by the Treaties or a voluntary consultation by the Commission, the Council or Parliament. It may also issue opinions on its own initiative. Its members are not bound by any instructions. They shall be completely independent in the performance of their duties, in the Union’s general interest. Legal basis   Article 13(4) TEU; Articles 301-304 TFEU; and Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/1790 of 1 October 2015 appointing the members of the European Economic and Social Committee for the period from 21 September 2015 to 20 September 2020. Composition   A. Number and national allocation of seats (Article 301 TFEU) The EESC currently has 350 members, divided between the Member States as follows: 24 each for Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom; 21 each for Poland and Spain; 15 for Romania; 12 each for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden; 9 each for Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania and Slovakia; 7 each for Latvia and Slovenia; 6 for Estonia; 5 each for Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg. B. Method of appointment (Article 302 TFEU) The members of the Committee are appointed by the Council by qualified majority, on the basis of proposals by the Member States. The Council consults the Commission on these nominations (Article 302(2) TFEU).

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

Legal basis   Articles 19, 145 to 150 and 151 to 161 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Objectives   Combating poverty and social exclusion is one of the specific goals of the EU and its Member States in the field of social policy. In accordance with Article 153 TFEU, social inclusion is to be achieved solely on the basis of non-legal cooperation — the open method of coordination (OMC) — while Article 19 TFEU allows the EU to take action to fight discrimination both by offering legal protection for potential victims and by establishing incentive measures. Achievements   A. Fight against poverty and social exclusion Between 1975 and 1994, the European Economic Community conducted a number of pilot projects and programmes designed to combat poverty and exclusion. However, Community action in this area was continually being contested in the absence of a legal basis. The situation changed with the entry into force in 1999 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which enshrined the eradication of social exclusion as an objective of Community social policy. As provided for in Article 160 TFEU, a Social Protection Committee was established in 2000 to promote cooperation between Member States and with the Commission.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

An area of freedom, security and justice: general aspects   Load fact sheet in pdf format  The Lisbon Treaty attaches great importance to the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice. It introduced several important new features: a more efficient and democratic decision-making procedure that comes in response to the abolition of the old pillar structure; increased powers for the Court of Justice of the EU; and a new role for national parliaments. Basic rights are strengthened by a Charter of Fundamental Rights that is now legally binding on the EU. Legal basis   Article 3(2) TEU reads as follows: ‘The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime.’ It should be noted that this article, which sets out the EU’s key objectives, attaches greater importance to the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) than the preceding Treaty of Nice, as this aim is now mentioned even before that of establishing an internal market. Title V of the TFEU — Articles 67 to 89 — is devoted to the AFSJ.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

An area of freedom, security and justice: general aspects   Load fact sheet in pdf format  The Lisbon Treaty attaches great importance to the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice. It introduced several important new features: a more efficient and democratic decision-making procedure that comes in response to the abolition of the old pillar structure; increased powers for the Court of Justice of the EU; and a new role for national parliaments. Basic rights are strengthened by a Charter of Fundamental Rights that is now legally binding on the EU. Legal basis   Article 3(2) TEU reads as follows: ‘The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime.’ It should be noted that this article, which sets out the EU’s key objectives, attaches greater importance to the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) than the preceding Treaty of Nice, as this aim is now mentioned even before that of establishing an internal market. Title V of the TFEU — Articles 67 to 89 — is devoted to the AFSJ.

Fact Sheets on the European Union 
 

When the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union became legally binding, making health and safety policy an even more important area of EU legislation. Legal basis   Articles 91, 114, 115, 151, 153 and 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Objectives   On the basis of Article 153 TFEU, the EU encourages improvements in the working environment by harmonising working conditions in order to protect workers’ health and safety. To this end, minimum requirements are laid down at EU level, allowing Member States to introduce a higher level of protection at national level if they so wish. The Treaty also stipulates that the directives adopted must not impose administrative, financial or legal constraints which would hold back the creation and development of SMEs. Achievements   A. Institutional development Under the auspices of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) created by the Treaty of Paris in 1951, various research programmes were carried out in the field of health and safety at work. The need for a global approach to occupational safety and health became more manifest with the establishment of the EEC by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The Advisory Committee for Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work was set up in 1974 to assist the Commission. Minimum occupational health and safety requirements were needed in order to complete the European single market.