- International Monetary Fund
- Published Date:
- December 1990
Aquis communautaire: The accomplishments of the European Community to date. In this paper, it refers to the question of which EC laws and legislation will be integrated into the common legal basis of the EES.
Cabotage: Allowing a nonresident carrier to provide transport services between other states. (Usually refers to a carrier from one EC member state providing services between other member states.)
CAP: The EC’s Common Agricultural Policy.
Cassis de Dijon ruling: A 1979 decision by the European Court of Justice that established the rule that products made and marketed according to the legal requirements of one member state must circulate freely throughout the Community.
CEN/Cenelec: French acronyms for the Committee for European Standardization and the Committee for European Electrotechnical Standardization, respectively. These are the two main multinational standardization bodies for the EC and EFTA, to which all EC and EFTA member states belong. Voting is by qualified majority; however, both strive to reach a consensus before voting. EC institutions currently have special rights on the implementation of new documents. Recently, the EC and EFTA agreed to create a third, related institution; see the European Organization for Testing and Certification.
CFP: See Common Fisheries Policy.
Commission of the European Communities (or EC Commission): Executive and policy-proposing body of the Communities; its members must act independently of both the member governments and the Council of Ministers.
Committee of Central Bank Governors: Committee composed of central bank governors that makes certain decisions regarding the operations of the EMS, and that is involved in preparing all decisions and resolutions of the Council of Ministers on monetary policy.
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): The EC’s fisheries policy. It seeks to conserve fish stocks, while trying to enhance the competitiveness of the fishing industry. The CFP works to assure a sufficient supply of fish within the EC, either by buying fishing rights from third countries or by negotiating access to fishing grounds in exchange for providing market access in the EC.
Community: See European Communities.
Council of Ministers: The only Community institution whose members directly represent the member governments at the ministerial level. It reaches decisions in one of three ways: unanimously, by simple majority, or by a weighted majority according to various rules laid down in the Treaties.
Delors Initiative: In a speech to the European Parliament in January 1989, Jacques Delors, President of the EC Commission, presented the EFTA with the option of either continuing the step-by-step process of cooperation started by the Luxembourg Declaration or to strive for “… a new, more structured partnership with common decision-making and administrative institutions….” This later alternative became known as the Delors Initiative.
Delors Report: Report on the Economic and Monetary Union in the EC, submitted by a committee chaired by Jacques Delors, President of the EC Commission, to the European Council in April 1989. The report, endorsed by the Council, contains an outline of the main features of the monetary and economic union and a description of the stages that could lead to the union.
Directives: Issued by the Council of Ministers and binding as to the result to be achieved. Each member state may decide how to achieve that result, and may have to amend its own national laws or administrative practices to bring them into line with Community law.
EC: European Communities or European Community; in practice the two terms are used interchangeably.
EC credit facilities: See medium-term financial support facility, short-term monetary support facility, and very short-term financing facility (the latter limited to participants in the ERM).
Economic and monetary union (EMU): The Delors Report envisaged the EMU as including total and irreversible convertibility of currencies; the four freedoms; irrevocably fixed exchange rates, with no fluctuation margins; sufficient coordination of macroeconomic policies including binding rules for budgetary purposes and a joint competitive policy; and common structural and regional policies.
EEC: European Economic Community.
EEC Treaty: Founding document of the EEC, signed in March 1957; often called the Treaty of Rome.
EEIG: See European Economic Interest Grouping.
EES: European Economic Space.
EFTA: European Free Trade Association.
EMCF: European Monetary Cooperation Fund.
EMS: See European Monetary System.
EMU: See economic and monetary union.
EOTC: See European Organization for Testing and Certification.
Equivalent treatment: One of two interpretations of the concept of reciprocal treatment. In the case of the EC, the demand for equivalent treatment means that in order for a foreign company to operate freely in the EC, its home country must extend identical treatment to EC companies as its firms receive in the EC. See also national treatment.
Erga Omnes: Principle stipulating a certain liberalization measure to be automatically applied to all other countries.
ERM: See exchange rate mechanism.
Essential characteristics: General characteristics in terms of health, safety, or environmental standards required for goods to be sold within the EC.
Essential harmonization: Calls on the EC to establish minimum standards for the conduct of given types of business.
European Commission: See Commission of the European Communities.
European Common Margins Arrangement: Also known as the “snake,” it was the predecessor of the European Monetary System. Under this arrangement, which prevailed from April 1972 to December 1978, the EEC central banks agreed on a maximum margin of 2.25 percent among their currencies.
European Communities: Consists of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). The ECSC was established by the Treaty in Paris in 1951. In 1951, the EEC was established by the Treaty of Rome. At the same time, the EURATOM was established by a separate treaty. The institutional structure of the EC (organized along the lines of a national administration) consists of the EC Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice. Its member states include Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
European Company: Proposed in July 1989 as a form of EC-chartered firm. It is envisaged as a limited liability, joint stock company, headquartered in a member state, with capital exceeding ECU 100,000. While not receiving preferential treatment under national law, it is to be free of many of the constraints of functioning within its 12 distinct national legal systems by dint of its EC charter. Rules governing foreign participation are to be developed.
European Council: The heads of government of the member countries at a Paris meeting in December 1974 decided to meet regularly, accompanied by their ministers of foreign affairs, normally twice a year. These meetings have become known as the European Council.
European (or EC) Court of Justice: Assures that implementation of the EC Treaties is in accordance with the law, and assures that Community legislation is good law. It may also give preliminary rulings on questions referred to it by national courts.
European currency unit (ECU): A composite unit consisting of specified amounts of the currencies of all EC member countries. It serves as the numeraire for the ERM, as the denominator for operations in both the intervention and the credit mechanisms, as a reference point for the divergence indicator, and as a means of settlement and a reserve asset of EMS central banks. It is also used as the unit of account in other areas of the EC, for example, the budget.
European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG): A trans-EC partnership created in 1989 to expedite joint ventures between EC firms. Its legal form may vary, it has no capital requirements, and partners’ liability is unlimited. It may not employ over 500 persons and must have participants from more than one member state, although a subsidiary of a multinational firm may count toward this requirement. All profits must be transferred to its owners. Once registered in a member state, it may operate throughout the EC without further registration requirements.
European Economic Space (EES): This concept originated as part of the 1984 Luxembourg Declaration, although at the time it was left undefined. The term now refers to a zone of Western European cooperation where, to the extent possible, the four freedoms are permitted and where the institutional and administrative facilities allow a structured relationship with far-reaching and legally binding agreements. It is hoped that the agreement will extend beyond economic issues, into the areas of consumer protection, education, environment, research and development, and the social dimension. The EES originally included the EC and member states of EFTA, but recently Liechtenstein has also joined the talks (as a contracting party on the EFTA side).
European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Free trade association founded in 1960. Its membership includes Austria, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. The United Kingdom and Portugal were founding members, but they left the EFTA and joined the EC in 1973 and 1986, respectively.
European Monetary Cooperation Fund (EMCF): A fund set up in 1973 to serve as the embryo of a reserve system of the Community central banks, and to have operational responsibility in a Community currency exchange system. Its governors are those of the member states’ central banks. It uses the Bank for International Settlements as its agent.
European Monetary System (EMS): The successor of the European Common Margins Arrangement, which became operational in March 1979. Aiming at establishing a zone of monetary stability in Europe through a lasting and effective system of close monetary policy cooperation, the EMS rests on three pillars: the exchange rate mechanism, the European currency unit, and several credit facilities.
European Organization for Testing and Certification (EOTC): In May 1990, the EC and EFTA agreed to create a new testing and certification organization to work alongside the CEN/Cenelac. It will be formed in three stages, with the last taking effect on January 1, 1993.
European (or EC) Parliament: Elected by popular vote within the EC, it has advisory powers under which it delivers to the Council nonbinding opinions on Commission proposals and has supervisory powers over the Commission. It is also responsible for final approval of the EC budget, although with limited power to amend it. More recently, the Parliament acquired the power to reject or amend Council decisions pertaining to the unification of the EC market under the Single European Act.
European (or EC) Standard: Product standard set legislatively or by mandated body assuming that a product meets the essential characteristics test. A product not meeting the European Standard may still be sold within the EC if the producer can show that the product meets the essential requirements test.
Exchange rate mechanism (ERM): This mechanism has two components: The first is based on maintaining limits of fluctuations around bilateral central rates between participating countries by means of unlimited intervention on the exchanges. The second is based on the divergence indicator, whose purpose is to establish a basis for action on the part of the authorities when a currency’s rate exceeds certain limits that are fixed in terms of the ECU and that—because they are narrower than those demarcating the bilateral margins of fluctuation—will be reached before the latter.
Four freedoms: The free movement of goods, services, labor, and capital.
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): Bilateral trade agreements signed by the individual members of EFTA and the EC in 1972–73. In the FTAs, the EC and each EFTA member agreed gradually to abolish tariffs on most industrial goods, although temporary quotas were permitted on certain items and the removal of tariffs on these items was delayed. Special declarations covered selected single items, such as Austrian cheese, Icelandic fish, and Swiss watches.
FTAs: See Free Trade Agreements.
High Level Contact Group: Formed by senior officials of EFTA member states and the EC Commission in September 1984 to supervise informally progress in implementing the Luxembourg Declaration.
High Level Steering Group: Formed by high-level officials of EFTA member states and the EC Commission in April 1989 to oversee the progress of the working groups created as part of the Oslo-Brussels agreements. Four of the working groups examined areas relating to the Luxembourg Declaration, including the potential for cooperation in the areas of free trade in goods, free trade in services and capital, free movement of labor, and joint cooperative projects. The other working group was a direct outgrowth of the Oslo-Brussels process and explored the institutional and legal changes needed to secure broader, institutionalized cooperation.
Home country control: Principle calling for supervision and enforcement of legislation by the authorities in the country in which a company is incorporated, rather than in the countries in which it operates. For example, a British bank operating in Italy is under the control of British rather than Italian authorities. Home country control, mutual recognition, and essential harmonization are the three principles underlying much of EC integration efforts in areas ranging from technical standards to financial services.
Internal market program: Program designed to create a single market encompassing all of the member states of the EC, to ensure the full implementation of the four freedoms. The details and timetable for completing the internal market were set out in the EC Commission’s White Paper in 1985; certain modifications have since been made.
Luxembourg Declaration: In April 1984, member states of the EC and EFTA agreed on a series of initiatives, including increased cooperation through the creation of the European Economic Space. While the EES was initially left undefined, the accord called for continued pragmatic and flexible cooperation beyond the framework of the FTAs, as well as fostering an open and multilateral trading system and combatting protectionism and encouraging free trade in Western Europe.
Medium-term financial support (MTFS) facility: Medium-term financial assistance granted by the Council to any member state experiencing or seriously threatened with balance-of-payments difficulties. Assistance is conditional, with the borrowing country having to agree to certain economic and monetary conditions. It is denominated in ECUs and repayable within a period of between two and five years.
Mutual recognition: Principle calling for all national authorities in EC member states to accept the ruling of the authorities in which a company is incorporated. See also home country control.
National treatment: A less stringent interpretation of demands for reciprocity. It calls on authorities in non-member countries to treat EC companies in a nondiscriminatory fashion in return for access to EC markets. For example, in order for U.S. banks to operate in the EC, the EC may require that the U.S. authorities treat EC banks in the same way as they treat U.S. banks. See also equivalent treatment.
Oslo-Brussels process: Started in March 1989 as a result of the Delors Initiative. It is seen as a second track for the EES negotiations, focusing on the institutional and administrative changes needed to secure a more structured relationship between the EC and EFTA as a basis for forming the EES.
Oslo Declaration: Statement by the EFTA heads of state in March 1989 reaffirming their commitment to the EES and expressing support for the Delors Initiative.
Reciprocity requirement: Calling for nonmember countries to apply nondiscriminatory treatment of EC companies in exchange for access to EC markets. The practical significance of this requirement depends on whether it calls for equivalent or national treatment.
Schengen Agreement: An agreement signed in June 1990 by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands to remove all border controls and allow people to travel freely within the five-country region. Its implementation requires parliamentary approval by each of the five signatories. Schengen is a city in Luxembourg.
Short-term monetary support (STMS) facility: To help meet financing needs arising from temporary balance-of-payments deficits caused by unforeseen difficulties or cyclical divergences. The mechanism is based on a system of debtor and creditor quotas that determine each Community central bank’s borrowing entitlement and financing obligations. These credits are granted by central banks for three months and are twice renewable.
Single Administrative Document (SAD): Agreement to replace all customs documents used in EC-EFTA trade with the single document used in intra-EC trade. The agreement came into force in January 1988.
Single European Act: Amendments to the Treaties establishing the EC seen as necessary for the implementation of the internal market program. The Act was signed by the EC member states in 1986, and took effect in July 1987. It replaced the requirement that decisions be reached unanimously with one allowing decisions to be made with a qualified majority in all areas regarding the internal market, with the exception of fiscal provisions, provisions relating to the free movement of persons, and the rights and interests of employed persons. It also enhanced the role of the European Parliament and made foreign policy cooperation a formal part of the EC’s activities.
Snake: See European Common Margins Arrangement.
Treaty of Rome: See EEC Treaty.
Value-added tax (VAT): Indirect tax levied on value added excluding the tax paid at previous stages in the production process. Thus, unlike in the case of the sales tax, cumulation of tax liability is avoided.
Very short-term financing (VSTF) facility: A very short-term credit facility that central banks participating in the ERM may grant to each other through the EMCF to permit interventions in Community currencies. Such operations are denominated in ECUs, and the debtor and creditor interest rates are equal to the rates applicable to net users and holders of ECU assets. The duration of such financing is 45 days and can be extended by three months.
White Paper: Paper issued by the EC Commission that laid out a step-by-step plan to create an integrated, coherent internal market based on the four freedoms for all of the EC by January 1,1993. The plan contained a full set of legislative proposals designed to eliminate all man-made physical, technical, and fiscal barriers that could hinder the free functioning of a single market in the EC. It also set out a full timetable for the implementation of these measures; the timetable has since been accelerated.
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