The principle of the free movement of goods implies that products must be traded freely from one part of the Union to another. In a number of sectors this general principle is complemented by a harmonised regulatory framework, following the “old approach” (imposing precise product specifications) or the “new approach” (imposing general product requirements). The harmonised European product legislation, which needs to be transposed, represents the largest part of the acquis under this chapter. In addition, sufficient administrative capacity is essential to notify restrictions on trade and to apply horizontal and procedural measures in areas such as standardisation, conformity assessment, accreditation, metrology and market surveillance.
The acquis under this chapter provides that EU citizens of one Member State have the right to work in another Member State. EU migrant workers must be treated in the same way as national workers in relation to working conditions, social and tax advantages. This acquis also includes a mechanism to coordinate national social security provisions for insured persons and their family members moving to another Member State.
Member States must ensure that the right of establishment of EU national and legal persons in any Member State and the freedom to provide cross-border services is not hampered by national legislation, subject to the exceptions set out in the Treaty. The acquis also harmonises the rules concerning regulated professions to ensure the mutual recognition of qualifications and diplomas between Member States; for certain regulated professions a common minimum training curriculum must be followed in order to have the qualification automatically recognised in an EU Member State. As regards postal services, the acquis also aims at opening up the postal services sector to competition in a gradual and controlled way, within a regulatory framework which assures a universal service.
Member States must remove, with some exceptions, all restrictions on movement of capital both within the EU and between Member States and third countries. The acquis also includes rules concerning cross-border payments and the execution of transfer orders concerning securities. The directive on the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing requires banks and other economic operators, particularly when dealing in high-value items and with large cash transactions, to identify customers and report certain transactions. A key requirement to combat financial crime is the creation of effective administrative and enforcement capacity, including co-operation between supervisory, law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities.
The acquis on public procurement includes general principles of transparency, equal treatment, free competition and non-discrimination. In addition, specific EU rules apply to the coordination of the award of public contracts for works, services and supplies, for traditional contracting entities and for special sectors. The acquis also specifies rules on review procedures and the availability of remedies. Specialised implementing bodies are required.
The company law acquis includes rules on the formation, registration, merger and division of companies. In the area of financial reporting, the acquis specifies rules for the presentation of annual and consolidated accounts, including simplified rules for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The application of International Accounting Standards is mandatory for some public interest entities. In addition, the acquis specifies rules for the approval, professional integrity and independence of statutory audits.
The acquis on intellectual property rights specifies harmonised rules for the legal protection of copyright and related rights. Specific provisions apply to the protection of databases, computer programs, semiconductor topographies, satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. In the field of industrial property rights, the acquis sets out harmonised rules for the legal protection of trademarks and designs. Other specific provisions apply for biotechnological inventions, pharmaceuticals and plant protection products. The acquis also establishes a Community trademark and Community design. Finally, the acquis contains harmonised rules for the enforcement of both copyright and related rights as well as industrial property rights. Adequate implementing mechanisms are required, in particular effective enforcement capacity.
The competition acquis covers both anti-trust and state aid control policies. It includes rules and procedures to fight anti-competitive behaviour by companies (restrictive agreements between undertakings and abuse of dominant position), to scrutinise mergers between undertakings, and to prevent governments from granting state aid which distorts competition in the internal market. Generally, the competition rules are directly applicable in the whole Union, and Member States must co-operate fully with the Commission in enforcing them.
The acquis in the field of financial services includes rules for the authorisation, operation and supervision of financial institutions in the areas of banking, insurance, supplementary pensions, investment services and securities markets. Financial institutions can operate across the EU in accordance with the ‘home country control’ principle either by establishing branches or by providing services on a cross-border basis.
The acquis includes specific rules on electronic communications, on information society services, in particular electronic commerce and conditional access services, and on audio-visual services. In the field of electronic communications, the acquis aims to eliminate obstacles to the effective operation of the internal market in telecommunications services and networks, to promote competition and to safeguard consumer interests in the sector, including universal availability of modern services. As regards audio-visual policy, the acquis requires the legislative alignment with the Television without Frontiers Directive, which creates the conditions for the free movement of television broadcasts within the EU. The acquis aims to the establishment of a transparent, predictable and effective regulatory framework for public and private broadcasting in line with European standards. The acquis also requires the capacity to participate in the community programmes Media Plus and Media Training.
The agriculture chapter covers a large number of binding rules, many of which are directly applicable. The proper application of these rules and their effective enforcement and control by an efficient public administration are essential for the functioning of the common agricultural policy (CAP). Running the CAP requires the setting up of management and quality systems such as a paying agency and the integrated administration and control system (IACS), and the capacity to implement rural development measures. Member States must be able to apply the EU legislation on direct farm support schemes and to implement the common market organisations for various agricultural products.
This chapter covers detailed rules in the area of food safety. The general foodstuffs policy sets hygiene rules for foodstuff production. Furthermore, the acquis provides detailed rules in the veterinary field, which are essential for safeguarding animal health, animal welfare and safety of food of animal origin in the internal market. In the phytosanitary field, EU rules cover issues such as quality of seed, plant protection material, harmful organisms and animal nutrition.
The acquis on fisheries consists of regulations, which do not require transposition into national legislation. However, it requires the introduction of measures to prepare the administration and the operators for participation in the common fisheries policy, which covers market policy, resource and fleet management, inspection and control, structural actions and state aid control. In some cases, existing fisheries agreements and conventions with third countries or international organisations need to be adapted.
EU transport legislation aims at improving the functioning of the internal market by promoting safe, efficient and environmentally sound and userfriendly transport services. The transport acquis covers the sectors of road transport, railways, inland waterways, combined transport, aviation, and maritime transport. It relates to technical and safety standards, security, social standards, state aid control and market liberalisation in the context of the internal transport market.
EU energy policy objectives include the improvement of competitiveness, security of energy supplies and the protection of the environment. The energy acquis consists of rules and policies, notably regarding competition and state aids (including in the coal sector), the internal energy market (opening up of the electricity and gas markets, promotion of renewable energy sources), energy efficiency, nuclear energy and nuclear safety and radiation protection.
The acquis on taxation covers extensively the area of indirect taxation, namely value-added tax (VAT) and excise duties. It lays down the scope, definitions and principles of VAT. Excise duties on tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and energy products are also subject to EU legislation. As concerns direct taxation, the acquis covers some aspects of taxing income from savings of individuals and of corporate taxes. Furthermore, Member States are committed to complying with the principles of the Code of Conduct for Business Taxation, aimed at the elimination of harmful tax measures. Administrative co-operation and mutual assistance between Member States is aimed at ensuring a smooth functioning of the internal market as concerns taxation and provides tools to prevent intra-Community tax evasion and tax avoidance. Member States must ensure that the necessary implementing and enforcement capacities, including links to the relevant EU computerised taxation systems, are in place.
The acquis in the area of economic and monetary policy contains specific rules requiring the independence of central banks in Member States, prohibiting direct financing of the public sector by the central banks and prohibiting privileged access of the public sector to financial institutions. Member States are expected to co-ordinate their economic policies and are subject to the Stability and Growth Pact on fiscal surveillance. New Member States are also committed to complying with the criteria laid down in the Treaty in order to be able to adopt the euro in due course after accession. Until then, they will participate in the Economic and Monetary Union as a Member State with a derogation from the use of the euro and shall treat their exchange rates as a matter of common concern.
The acquis in the field of statistics requires the existence of a statistical infrastructure based on principles such as impartiality, reliability, transparency, confidentiality of individual data and dissemination of official statistics. National statistical institutes act as reference and anchor points for the methodology, production and dissemination of statistical information. The acquis covers methodology, classifications and procedures for data collection in various areas such as macro-economic and price statistics, demographic and social statistics, regional statistics, and statistics on business, transport, external trade, agriculture, environment, and science and technology. No transposition into national legislation is needed as the majority of the acquis takes the form of regulations.
The acquis in the social field includes minimum standards in the areas of labour law, equality, health and safety at work and anti-discrimination. The Member States participate in social dialogue at European level and in EU policy processes in the areas of employment policy, social inclusion and social protection. The European Social Fund is the main financial tool through which the EU supports the implementation of its employment strategy and contributes to social inclusion efforts (implementation rules are covered under Chapter 22, which deals with all structural instruments).
EU industrial policy seeks to promote industrial strategies enhancing competitiveness by speeding up adjustment to structural change, encouraging an environment favourable to business creation and growth throughout the EU as well as domestic and foreign investments. It also aims to improve the overall business environment in which small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operate. It involves privatisation and restructuring (see also Chapter 8 – Competition policy). EU industrial policy mainly consists of policy principles and industrial policy communications. EU consultation forums and Community programmes, as well as communications, recommendations and exchanges of best practices relating to SMEs aim to improve the formulation and coordination of enterprise policy across the internal market on the basis of a common definition of SMEs. The implementation of enterprise and industrial policy requires adequate administrative capacity at the national, regional and local level.
This chapter covers the Trans-European Networks policy in the areas of transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructures, including the Community guidelines on the development of the Trans-European Networks and the support measures for the development of projects of common interest. The establishment and development of Trans-European Networks and the promotion of proper interconnection and interoperability of national networks aim to take full advantage of the internal market and to contribute to economic growth and the creation of employment in the European Union.
The acquis under this chapter consists mostly of framework and implementing regulations, which do not require transposition into national legislation. They define the rules for drawing up, approving and implementing Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund programmes reflecting each country’s territorial organisation. These programmes are negotiated and agreed with the Commission, but implementation is the responsibility of the Member States. Member States must respect EU legislation in general, for example in the areas of public procurement, competition and environment, when selecting and implementing projects. Member States must have an institutional framework in place and adequate administrative capacity to ensure programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in a sound and cost-effective manner from the point of view of management and financial control.
EU policies in the area of judiciary and fundamental rights aim to maintain and further develop the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice. The establishment of an independent and efficient judiciary is of paramount importance. Impartiality, integrity and a high standard of adjudication by the courts are essential for safeguarding the rule of law. This requires a firm commitment to eliminating external influences over the judiciary and to devoting adequate financial resources and training. Legal guarantees for fair trial procedures must be in place. Equally, Member States must fight corruption effectively, as it represents a threat to the stability of democratic institutions and the rule of law. A solid legal framework and reliable institutions are required to underpin a coherent policy of prevention and deterrence of corruption. Member States must ensure respect for fundamental rights and EU citizens’ rights, as guaranteed by the acquis and by the Fundamental Rights Charter.
EU policies aim to maintain and further develop the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice. On issues such as border control, visas, external migration, asylum, police cooperation, the fight against organised crime and against terrorism, cooperation in the field of drugs, customs cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters, Member States need to be properly equipped to adequately implement the growing framework of common rules. Above all, this requires a strong and well-integrated administrative capacity within the law enforcement agencies and other relevant bodies, which must attain the necessary standards. A professional, reliable and efficient police organisation is of paramount importance. The most detailed part of the EU’s policies on justice, freedom and security is the Schengen acquis, which entails the lifting of internal border controls in the EU. However, for the new Member States substantial parts of the Schengen acquis are implemented following a separate Council Decision to be taken after accession.
The acquis in the field of science and research does not require transposition of EU rules into the national legal order. Implementation capacity relates to the existence of the necessary conditions for effective participation in the EU’s Framework Programmes. In order to ensure the full and successful association with the Framework Programmes, Member States need to ensure the necessary implementing capacities in the field of research and technological development including adequate staffing.
The areas of education and training, youth, sport and culture are primarily the competence of the EU Member States. In the field of education, training, sport and youth, besides a Directive on education of the children of migrant workers and the judgments of the European Court of Justice on cases related to non-discrimination between nationals of an EU Member State and other EU nationals, the acquis mainly consists of Council Recommendations in a number of areas related to school, vocational, higher and adult education, youth volunteering and mobility, numerous Council Conclusions and Resolutions.
The governance framework for cooperation is set by a Council Resolution on a European Education Area, with regular joint reporting of the Commission and the Council. A similar framework is set by a Council Resolution on the EU Youth Strategy, also with regular reporting. The frameworks set common objectives, monitor progress through benchmarks and indicators, and the Commission facilitates various exchanges of experiences and peer learning.
As regards cultural policy, Member States need to uphold the principles enshrined in Article 167 of the TFEU and, in particular, ensure that their international commitments allow for the development and implementation of policies and instruments aiming at preserving and promoting cultural diversity. In accordance with these principles, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, ratified by the EU (and [country]), is a major element of the acquis in the field of culture. Following the 2007 European Agenda for Culture, the Commission adopted the New European Agenda for Culture in 2018 to take into account the evolution of the cultural sector. The New Agenda provides the framework for cooperation on culture at the EU level.
EU Sport Policy aims to create a European dimension in sport. Priorities for Member States and the Commission are defined in EU Sport Working Plans. The current Plan is valid from 2021 to 2024 and addresses action in three priority areas: protect integrity and values in sport; Socio-economic and environmental dimensions of sport and promotion of participation in sport and health-enhancing physical activity.
EU environment policy aims to promote sustainable development and protect the environment for present and future generations. It is based on preventive action, the polluter pays principle, fighting environmental damage at source, shared responsibility and the integration of environmental protection into other EU policies. The acquis comprises over 200 major legal acts covering horizontal legislation, water and air quality, waste management, nature protection, industrial pollution control and risk management, chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), noise and forestry. Compliance with the acquis requires significant investment. A strong and well-equipped administration at national and local level is imperative for the application and enforcement of the environment acquis.
The consumer protection acquis covers the safety of consumer goods as well as the protection of the economic interests of consumers in a number of specific sectors. Member States need to transpose the acquis into national law and to put in place independent administrative structures and enforcement powers which allow for effective market surveillance and enforcement of the acquis. Appropriate judicial and out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms as well as consumer information and education and a role for consumer organisations should be ensured as well. In addition, this chapter covers specific binding rules in the area of public health.
The customs union acquis consists almost exclusively of legislation which is directly binding on the Member States. It includes the EU Customs Code and its implementing provisions, the combined nomenclature, common customs tariff and provisions on tariff classification, customs duty relief, duty suspensions and certain tariff quotas, and other provisions such as those on customs control of counterfeit and pirated goods, drugs precursors, export of cultural goods as well as on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters and transit. Member States must ensure that the necessary implementing and enforcement capacities, including links to the relevant EU computerised customs systems, are in place. The customs services must also ensure adequate capacities to implement and enforce special rules laid down in related areas of the acquis such as external trade.
The acquis in this field consists mainly of directly binding EU legislation which does not require transposition into national law. This EU legislation results from the EU’s multilateral and bilateral commercial commitments, as well as from a number of autonomous preferential trade measures. In the area of humanitarian aid and development policy, Member States need to comply with EU legislation and international commitments and ensure the capacity to participate in the EU’s development and humanitarian policies. Applicant countries are required to progressively align its policies towards third countries and its positions within international organisations with the policies and positions adopted by the Union and its Member States.
The common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European security and defence policy (ESDP) are based on legal acts, including legally binding international agreements, and on political documents. The acquis consists of political declarations, actions and agreements. Member States must be able to conduct political dialogue in the framework of CFSP, to align with EU statements, to take part in EU actions and to apply agreed sanctions and restrictive measures. Applicant countries are required to progressively align with EU statements, and to apply sanctions and restrictive measures when and where required.
The acquis under this chapter relates to the adoption internationally recognised frameworks and standards, as well as EU good practice, on public internal financial control (PIFC), based upon the principle of decentralised managerial accountability. PIFC should apply across the entire public sector, and include the internal control of financial management of both national and EU funds. In particular, the acquis requires the existence of effective and transparent management systems, including accountability arrangements for the achievement of objectives; a functionally independent internal audit; and relevant organisational structures, including central co-ordination of PIFC development across the public sector. This chapter also requires an institutionally, operationally and financially independent external audit institution that implements its audit mandate in line with the standards of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and reports to the parliament on the use of public sector resources. In addition, this chapter also covers the protection of the EU’s financial interests against fraud in the management of EU funds and the protection of the euro against counterfeiting.
This chapter covers the rules concerning the financial resources necessary for the funding of the EU budget (‘own resources’). These resources are made up mainly from contributions from Member States based on traditional own resources from customs and agricultural duties and sugar levies; a resource based on value-added tax; and a resource based on the level of gross national income. Member States must have appropriate administrative capacity to adequately co-ordinate and ensure the correct calculation, collection, payment and control of own resources. The acquis in this area is directly binding and does not require transposition into national law.
This chapter covers the institutional and procedural rules of the EU. When a country joins the EU, adaptations need to be made to these rules to ensure this country's equal representation in EU institutions (European Parliament, Council, Commission, Court of Justice) and other bodies and the good functioning of decision-making procedures (such as voting rights, official languages and other procedural rules) as well as elections to the European Parliament. EU rules in this chapter do not affect the internal organisation of a Member State, but acceding countries need to ensure that they are able to participate fully in EU decision-making by setting up the necessary bodies and mechanisms at home and by electing or appointing well-prepared representatives to the EU institutions. After concluding the accession negotiations, specific rules for the interim period until accession ensure a smooth integration of the country into EU structures: an information and consultation procedure is put in place and, once the Accession Treaty is signed, the acceding country is granted active observer status in the European Parliament and Council as well as in Commission committees.
This chapter includes miscellaneous issues which come up during the negotiations but which are not covered under any other negotiating chapter. No such issues have been identified for the moment. Chapter 35 is dealt with at the end of the negoating process.