Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The objective of the action programme is to reinforce the effectiveness of the relevant procedures in the fields of asylum, visas, immigration and the control of external borders and assist the national administrations in the implementation of the Community legislation founded on Articles 62 and 63 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.

Abstract

The ARGO programme follows on from the Odysseus Programme which was established for the period 1998 to 2002. However, the funds allocated for the implementation of the programme, € 12 million, have been used up during the financial year 2001, which was therefore the last actual year of the Odysseus programme in its current form. When drafting the proposal the Commission took into account the third report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the ODYSSEUS programme, the conclusions of the Odysseus Conference held in November 1999 and the final report of the external evaluation of the programme delivered in March 2000.

For the purposes of this programme "national administrations" means the departments of the administrations of the Member States or other bodies delegated by those administrations which are responsible for the implementation of Community legislation.

Uniformity between the practices of the Member States when applying Community law can be obtained by strengthening co-operation and collaboration among their national administrations, and between them and the Commission. Individual action by each administration is incapable of achieving such results. A Community framework is therefore necessary for improving mutual understanding between the competent national administrations and the way they implement the relevant Community legislation, and for defining the priority areas of administrative co-operation required.

A high level of training of equivalent quality throughout the Community is needed to guarantee the success of this action programme, taking advantage of the experience gained with the Odysseus Programme. The implementation of a Community action programme constitutes one of the most effective ways of achieving these objectives and will provide a basis to the Commission for assessing whether establishing a common training institution would be a suitable way of improving the training in Community law given to the staff of the Member States.

The action programme shall contribute to the following objectives:
_ To promote co-operation between national administrations in implementing Community rules with special attention to the pooling of resources and co-ordinated and homogeneous practices;
_ To promote the uniform application of Community law in order to harmonise the decisions taken by the national administrations of any Member State, thereby avoiding malfunctioning likely to prejudice the progressive establishment of an area of freedom security and justice;
_ To improve the overall efficiency of national administrations in the carrying out of their tasks when implementing Community rules;
_ To ensure that proper account is taken of the Community dimension in the organisation of the national administrations contributing to the implementation of Community rules;
_ To encourage transparency of actions taken by the national authorities by strengthening relations between the national administrations and relevant national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Subdivision

_ Activities in the area of external borders

This programme shall support the activities of the Member States in the area of external borders intended:
- To ensure that the Member States carry out border controls in compliance with the common principles and implementing rules laid down by Community legislation;
- To provide an equivalent level of effective protection and surveillance at external borders;
- To reinforce the effectiveness of controls at border crossing points and surveillance between crossing points.

_ Activities in the area of visas

This programme shall support the activities of the Member States in the area of visas intended:
- To ensure that Member States issue visas in compliance with the common principles and implementing rules laid down by Community legislation;
- To promote an equivalent level of control and security when issuing visas;
- To promote harmonisation in the examination of visa applications, and in particular supporting documents regarding the purpose of the journey, means of subsistence and accommodation;
- To promote harmonisation of exceptions applied by Member States to certain categories of applicants for visas to facilitate controls at the external borders and freedom of movement between Member States.

_ Activities in the area of asylum

This programme shall support the activities of the Member States in the area of asylum intended:
- To promote the establishment and operation of the Common European Asylum System by supporting measures and standards leading to a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those granted asylum valid throughout the Community;
- To facilitate the determination of the State responsible for the examination of an asylum application;
- To support the approximation of rules on the recognition and content of refugee status, complemented with measures on subsidiary forms of protection offering an appropriate status to any person in need of such protection;
- To reinforce the efficiency and fairness of asylum procedure and to increase convergence in decisions dealing with asylum applications;
- To develop resettlement and entry facilities, and legal means for admission into Member States on humanitarian grounds.

_ Activities in the area of immigration

This programme shall support the activities of the Member States in the area of immigration intended:
- To ensure that Member States issue residence and work permits in compliance with the common principles and implementing rules laid down by Community legislation;
- To promote the knowledge of the rules of residence and work permits for third country nationals;
- To encourage verification of the effects and the perception of Community immigration policy in migrants' countries of origin;
- To ensure an effective, efficient and homogeneous application of the relevant common rules and policies in relation to irregular migratory flows and illegal immigration while safeguarding a sufficient level of access to international protection;
- To enhance co-operation in the field of the return of illegal residents, including transit through other Member States.

This action programme will support the following types of actions:

_ Training actions including, in particular, the elaboration of harmonised curricula and common core-training programmes to be organised by national administrations and complementary actions aimed at making national administrations receptive to the best working methods and techniques developed in other Member States;
_ Staff exchange ensuring that the seconded staff participate effectively in the work of the host national administrations;
_ Actions promoting, on one hand, the use of computerised handling of files and procedures, including use of the most up-to-date techniques for electronic data exchange and, on the other hand, the collection, analysis, distribution and exploitation of information making the fullest use of information technology, in particular, the establishment of information points and websites;
_ Evaluation of the impact of common rules and procedures founded on Articles 62 and 63 of Treaty;
_ Actions intended to promote the development of best practices in view of improving working methods and equipment, simplifying procedures and shortening deadlines;
_ Setting up of common operative centres and of teams composed of staff drawn from two or more Member States to act, in particular, in emergency situations;
_ Studies, research, conferences and seminars involving staff of the Member States and the Commission and, where appropriate, staff of the relevant national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations;
_ Mechanisms for consulting and associating the relevant national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations;
_ Member States' activities in third countries, in particular fact-finding missions in countries of origin and transit.

Other types of administrative co-operation in the policy areas covered by Articles 62 and 63 of the Treaty, in particular joint operations and actions with a limited scope and duration, as a result of situations requiring immediate reaction, can be included in the framework of ARGO. The Annual Work Programme sets out a framework for the financing of these specific actions including objectives and evaluation criteria.

Implementation

The Commission shall be responsible for the management and implementation of the ARGO action programme, in partnership with the Member States. The Commission shall be assisted by a Committee called "the ARGO Committee", composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

To implement the programme, the Commission shall, within the scope of the general objectives set out in Article 3:
_ Prepare an Annual Work Programme comprising specific objectives, thematic priorities and, if necessary, a list of actions;
_ Evaluate and select the actions proposed by the national administrations.

The Commission shall evaluate and select actions proposed by the national administrations on the basis of the following criteria:
_ Conformity with the Annual Work Programme;
_ The European dimension of the proposed action and scope for participation by the candidate countries;
_ Compatibility with the work undertaken or planned within the framework of the Community's political priorities;
_ Complementarity to other past, present or future administrative co-operation actions;
_ The ability of the national administrations to implement the proposed action;
_ The inherent quality of the proposed action in terms of its conception, organisation, presentation and expected results;
_ Amount of the support requested under the ARGO action programme and proportionality with the expected results;
_ Impact of the expected results on the general goals and on the activities in the respective policy area.

The Commission and the Member States shall monitor and evaluate the implementation of the ARGO action programme on a continuous basis. Each year the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the programme. The report shall analyse all the progress achieved and shall be accompanied where necessary by any proposals for ensuring homogeneous application in the Member States of Community legislation founded on Articles 62 and 63 of the treaty. The Commission shall submit the first report by 31 December 2003 at the latest and the final report by 31 December 2007 at the latest.

To be eligible for co-financing under the ARGO action programme, the actions of the programme must:
_ Be proposed by the national administration of one Member State and involve:
- At least two other Member States or
- Another Member State and a candidate country, where the aim is to prepare for its accession or
- Another Member State and a third country, where this would be beneficial for the purpose of the action proposed;

_ Pursue one of the general objectives and implement one of the activities in the respective policy area.
Record Number: 709 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05