What is the Treaty of Lisbon?
What is the European Union?
What is the difference between the European Union and the Council of Europe?
Why are there 12 stars on the EU flag while there 27 members in the EU?
What is Tempus?
What is Cross Border Cooperation?
What is INOGATE ?
What is TRACECA?


What is the Treaty of Lisbon?Treaty of Lisbon

The Treaty of Lisbon amends the current EU and EC treaties, without replacing them. It will provide the Union with the   legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and to respond to citizens' demands.

The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009. The occasion was marked by a ceremony in the City of Lisbon organised jointly by the Portuguese Government, the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission. The Commission  believes that the new treaty provides significant new benefits for citizens and will settle the institutional debate for the foreseeable future. This will allow the European Union to fully concentrate on managing a smooth exit from the economic   and financial crisis and pushing ahead with the 2020 strategy for greener growth.

The Treaty of Lisbon will ensure European citizens have their say in European affairs and see their fundamental rights set out in a charter. The EU will be better equipped to meet expectations in the fields of energy, climate change, cross-border crime and immigration. It will also be able to speak with a stronger voice on the international scene.

Among key improvements are:

- a more democratic and open and accountable Union – The European Parliament and national parliaments will now have a much greater say in the EU's decision-making process, and citizens will have the right to know what their Ministers are deciding at the EU level. All European citizens will be given the opportunity to influence proposed EU laws.

- a more effective Union – through effective and streamlined institutions. Including swifter, more consistent decision-making on law and order issues, giving the EU greater ability to combat crime, terrorism and human trafficking.

- more rights for Europeans – the EU's values and goals will be set down more clearly than ever before. And the charter of fundamental rights will be given the same legal status as the EU treaties themselves.

- a more prominent global actor – new posts have been created as part of work to bring more coherence between the different strands of its external policy, such as diplomacy, security, trade and humanitarian aid.

These improvements give the Union the capacity to deliver change, to make Europeans more secure and prosperous and to open up their opportunities to shape globalisation.

10 examples of benefits for European citizens

- A right for citizens to make a request to the Commission for it to propose a new initiative ("European citizens initiative")
- Better protection for citizens through the new status given to the Charter of fundamental rights
- Diplomatic and consular protection for all EU citizens when travelling and living abroad
- Mutual assistance against natural or man-made catastrophes inside the Union, such as flooding and forest fires
- New possibilities to deal with cross border effects of energy policy, civil protection and combating serious cross border threats to health
- Common action on dealing with criminal gangs who smuggle people across frontiers
- Common rules to avoid asylum shopping where multiple applications are made to different member countries
- Tackling terrorism through the freezing of assets
- More democratic approach to EU decision-making (strengthened role of European Parliament and national Parliaments)
- An ability to provide urgent financial aid to third countries

Milestones concerning the Treaty of Lisbon:

- June 2007: European Council mandate for an Intergovernmental Conference aiming at amending the existing Treaties
- July-October 2007: Intergovernmental Conference
- Approval of the Treaty approved at the informal European Council on 18-19 October 2007
- 12 December 2007: Proclamation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the Presidents of the European Parliament (EP), the Council and the Commission.
- 13 December 2007: Signature of the new Treaty in Lisbon
- December 2007 - November 2009: ratification procedures in all 27 Member States
- 1 December 2009: - entry into force of the Treaty

A copy of the Treaty of Lisbon can be found at: http://europa.eu/lisbon_treaty

What is the European Union?

The European Union (EU) is a gathering of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity. It is not a State intended to replace existing states, but it is more than any other international organisation. The EU is, in fact, unique. Its Member States have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level. This pooling of sovereignty is also called "European integration".

The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. The idea of European integration was conceived to prevent such killing and destruction in Europe from ever happening again. It was first proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in a speech on 9 May 1950. This date, the "birthday" of what is now the EU, is celebrated annually as Europe Day.

There are five EU institutions, each playing a specific role:

  • European Parliament (elected by the peoples of the Member States);
  • Council of the European Union (representing the governments of the Member States);
  • European Commission (driving force and executive body);
  • Court of Justice (ensuring compliance with the law);
  • Court of Auditors (controlling sound and lawful management of the EU budget).

These are flanked by five other important bodies:

  • European Economic and Social Committee (expresses the opinions of organised civil society on economic and social issues);
  • Committee of the Regions (expresses the opinions of regional and local authorities);
  • European Central Bank (responsible for monetary policy and managing the euro);
  • European Ombudsman (deals with citizens' complaints about maladministration by any EU institution or body);
  • European Investment Bank (helps achieve EU objectives by financing investment projects);

A number of agencies and other bodies complete the system.

The rule of law is fundamental to the European Union. All EU decisions and procedures are based on the Treaties, which are agreed by all the EU countries.

Initially, the EU consisted of just six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined in 1973, Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986, Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995. In 2004 the biggest ever enlargement took place with 10 new countries joining – Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania joined EU in 2007.The Union is today made of 27 Member states.

In the early years, much of the co-operation between EU countries was about trade and the economy, but now the EU also deals with many other subjects of direct importance for our everyday life, such as citizens' rights; ensuring freedom, security and justice; job creation; regional development; environmental protection; making globalisation work for everyone.

The European Union has delivered half a century of stability, peace and prosperity. It has helped to raise living standards, built a single Europe-wide market, launched the single European currency, the euro, and strengthened Europe's voice in the world.

Unity in diversity: Europe is a continent with many different traditions and languages, but also with shared values. The EU defends these values. It fosters co-operation among the peoples of Europe, promoting unity while preserving diversity and ensuring that decisions are taken as close as possible to the citizens.

In the increasingly interdependent world of the 21st century, it will be even more necessary for every European citizen to co-operate with people from other countries in a spirit of curiosity, tolerance and solidarity.

What is the difference between the European Union and the Council of Europe?

European Union vs Council of Europe
Member States
2746 (including Azerbaijan)
Main Institutions:
  • European Council (regular meeting of the heads of the state or government from the member states)
  • European Parliament
  • Council of European Union
  • European Commission
  • Court of Justice / Court of First Instance
  • Court of Auditors
  • European Ombudsman
  • Parliamentary Assembly
  • Committee of Ministers
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • European Commissioner of Human Rights
Further Information

Why are there 12 stars on the EU flag while there 27 members in the EU?EU Flag

The EU flag is the symbol not only of the European Union but also of Europe's unity and identity in a wider sense. The circle of gold stars represents solidarity and harmony between the peoples of Europe.The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of Member States. There are twelve stars because the number twelve is traditionally the symbol of perfection, completeness and unity. The flag therefore remains unchanged regardless of EU enlargements.

What is Tempus?

Tempus (The Trans-European mobility scheme for university studies) supports the modernisation of higher education and creates an area of co-operation in countries surrounding the EU. Established in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the scheme now covers 27 countries in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

Tempus considers the cooperation of the academies of the partner-countries with European universities, that is based on sharing of experience in the field of European standards for education, elaboration of educational agendas and programmes that fits the market economy, provision of modern literature, trainings for the rising the level of teaching skills, students` study abroad, improvement of the universities` management, university reform, application and development of new informational technologies, with preparation of non-academic staff at the university basis.

Azerbaijan has participated in the Tempus programme since 1995. The Azerbaijan universities submit between 7 and 13 Tempus project proposals each year

16 universities (public and private) are alreadyinvolved in Tempus projects in different priority areas. 3 of the 6 province universities have already benefited from the Tempus projects inareas such as management, engineering and rural subjects. In total a total of 13 Tempus Joint European Projects directly targeting Azerbaijan have been financed. At present preference is given to projects involving universities fromdifferent regions of Azerbaijan. The curriculum development priority areas covered have been: engineering (in particular, oil and gas), the environmental sciences, economics, telecommunications, information technology, and EU studies.

University management projects have focused on quality assurance, self-evaluation systems, and the establishment of international relations offices. In the framework of institution building, training has been provided in the field of public administration management. As regards SCM projects, the design of quality assurance and evaluation systems is a national priority and two projects concerning the quality assurance systems and accreditation and licensing issues were selected in 2006

For detailed information see : www.tempus-az.organd http://ec.europa.eu/tempus

What is ERASMUS MUNDUS?Erasmus

Erasmus Mundus is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and to promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through cooperation with third countries. The Erasmus Mundus programmes provide support to:

  • higher education institutions that wish to set-up inter-institutional cooperation partnerships between universities from Europe and targeted Third-Countries;
  • individual students, researchers and university staff who wish to spend a study / research / teaching period in the context of one of the above mentioned joint programmes or cooperation partnerships;

The programme offers:

  • Joint masters and doctoral programmes between European and non-European universities
  • Mobility flows of students and academics between European and non-European higher education institutions (HEIs)
  • Promotion of excellence and attractiveness of European higher education system worldwide

Support is provided through three actions:
Action 1 – Joint masters and doctoral programmes including a scholarship scheme
Action 2 – Partnerships with non-European HEI including scholarships (former External Cooperation Window)
Action 3 – Promotion of European higher education

Action 1 - Joint programmes of outstanding academic quality are designed and implemented by a consortium of European universities from at least 3 different countries. Consortia may also include universities from other parts of the world. Scholarships / fellowships are open to higher education students and academics from all over the world. Programmes include obligatory study and research periods, in at least two universities, and award recognized double, multiple or joint degrees.

Action 1 provides:

  • Support for high-quality joint masters courses (Action 1A) and doctoral programmes (Action 1B) offered by a consortium of European, and possibly Third Country, higher education institutions. Other types of organisations concerned by the content and outcomes of the joint programme can participate in the consortium.
  • Scholarships/fellowships for Third Country and European students/doctoral candidates to follow these Erasmus Mundus joint masters' courses and doctoral programmes.
  • Short-term scholarships for Third Country and European academics to carry out research or teaching assignments as part of the joint masters programmes.

For Action 1 in order for a course to be recognised and hosted under the Erasmus Mundus programme, it should be offered by a Consortium of recognised higher education institutions from one of the 27 Member States of the European Union, the EEA-EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway) or of the candidate countries for accession to the EU (Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey). The 'minimum consortium' has three higher education institutions coming from three different eligible countries. After being selected under Action 1, this consortium can establish a partnership with at least one higher education institution of a third-country.

Action 2 – partnerships are the basis for enhancing academic cooperation and exchanges of students and academics, contributing to the socio-economic development of non-EU countries targeted by EU external cooperation policy. Consortia must include a minimum of 5 HEI from at least 3 European countries and a number of HEI from targeted non-European regions. Special attention is given to disadvantaged groups and populations in a vulnerable situation.

Main characteristics of the programme:

  • Scholarships of varying length (3 months to 3 years)
  • Scholarships for bachelors, master, doctorate and post-doctorate students and HE staff (training, teaching, research activities)
  • Mobility not linked to specific programmes

Action 3 – projects enhance the attractiveness, profile, image and visibility of European higher education worldwide. Activities concern the international dimension of all aspects of higher education, such as promotion, accessibility, quality assurance, credit recognition, mutual recognition of qualifications, curriculum development and mobility. Activities can be implemented by mixed networks of organisations active in the field of higher education composed of at least 3 participating organisations from European countries and 2 from Third Countries.

For detailed information see http://ec.europa.eu/erasmus-mundus

What is Cross Border Cooperation?

Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) is a key priority of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) ENPI. It aims at reinforcing cooperation between member states and partner countries along the external border of the European Union.
In the perspective of reinforcing cooperation with countries bordering the European Union, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) includes a component specifically targeted at cross-border cooperation (CBC).
The CBC strategy has four key objectives:

  • Promote economic and social development in border areas
  • Address common challenges
  • Ensure efficient and secure borders
  • Promote people-to-people cooperation

Two types of programmes have been established:

  • Land border programmes between two or more countries sharing a common border (or short sea crossing).
  • Multilateral programmes covering a sea basin.

15 CBC programmes (9 land borders, 3 sea crossings and 3 sea basin programmes) have been established along the Eastern and Southern external borders of the European Union with a total funding of 1,118,434 million EUR for the 7-year period 2007-2013. The cross border cooperation will be also financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

For more information :  http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/regional-cooperation/enpi-cross-border/index_en.htm

What is INOGATE?Inogate logo

The INOGATE Programme is an international energy co-operation programme between the European Union, the littoral states of the Black & Caspian Seas and their neighbouring countries, which have agreed to work together toward achieving the following four major objectives:

  1. Converging energy markets on the basis of the principles of the EU internal energy market taking into account the particularities of the involved countries
  2. Enhancing energy security by addressing the issues of energy exports/imports, supply diversification, energy transit and energy demand
  3. Supporting sustainable energy development, including the development of energy efficiency, renewable energy and demand side management
  4. Attracting investment towards energy projects of common and regional interest.

On behalf of the European Union, the INOGATE Programme is represented by three Directorates-General of the European Commission:

On behalf of the Partner Countries, the INOGATE Programme is represented by the respective Ministries of the 12 Partner Countries in charge of energy.

The coordinating mechanism of the INOGATE Programme is the INOGATE Technical Secretariat located in Kiev.

The INOGATE Programme covers all the priority areas set out in the Energy Road Map and provides support to the Partner Countries in advancing energy co-operation. The activities undertaken in the framework of the INOGATE Programme, both by contracted INOGATE projects and via the INOGATE Technical Secretariat, include:

Information, Communication, Promotion and Networkingbetween the EU and the Partner Countries:

  • Promoting the goals and objectives of the initiative, and ensuring that both sides actively participate in dialogue
  • Networking relevant stakeholders in the Partner Countries, the EU and third parties such as donors, international financial institutions and stakeholders in the private sector
  • Organising information events
  • Providing a web portal facilitating information exchange
  • Presenting the Programme at relevant EU and third party events
  • Disseminating newsletters and other information materials

Technical supportto the Partner Countries by:

  • Devising and implementing EU-funded technical assistance projects in the areas of energy market convergence, investment attraction, energy security, energy efficiency and renewable energy sector
  • Promoting capacity building (e.g. on the principles of energy market convergence, energy regulation and sustainable development)
  • Providing supporting desk studies (e.g. benchmarking)
  • Supporting the Partner Countries in the identification of priority projects
  • Providing links to other EU-funded bilateral technical assistance support instruments (e.g. National Indicative Programmes, Twinning Programmes, TAIEX – Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument)

For more information : http://www.inogate.org/

What is TRACECA?Traceca logo

"Via est Vita" ("Road is life") as the ancient Romans used to say. The historic Great Silk Road, the shortest route from Europe to Asia passed through the territory of the southern Caucasus countries. The present Eurasian renaissance of the Silk Road is TRACECA, the TRAnsport Corridor Europe – Caucasus - Asia. This has become possible thanks to aid rendered by the European Union, which within the framework of the technical assistance to the newly independent states initialised a special project, the European Union TRACECA programme. Transportation volumes along the TRACECA corridor are increasing year by year and TRACECA is not only about realizing specific economic objectives but also contributing to the countries’ future history and culture.

TRACECA has become an integral part of economic development in its countries and a powerful instrument of mutual integration and fruitful cooperation.

For more information:http://www.traceca-org.org/