ACE Info 1.05
English language version
Welcome to the first issue in 2005 of ACE Info, the monthly update from the Architects' Council of Europe that will give you, at a glance, information on current issues, highlighting emerging areas of activity and informing you of matters of interest in the field of architectural policy.
This issue is also available in French.
ACE POLICY ISSUES
NEW PRESIDENT TAKES UP OFFICE
Marie-Helene Lucas of the OAI in Luxembourg has taken up office as the President of the ACE for 2005. She is a practising architect, based in Luxembourg, and has been a Member of the Executive Board since January 2004. In a letter addressed to the Presidents of the Member Organisations and the delegates of the ACE, she has set two issues as her priorities for the year. The first of these is the efficient and effective management of the transition of the ACE from its present Statutes to those that will enter into force on the 1st January 2006. This will involve the reform of working structures and procedures so as to better harness the voluntary resources that are so generously put at the disposal of the ACE by its Members. The second priority will be to uphold our conviction of the importance of the central role of architecture as a contributor to the activities and development of our society and its environment. In this respect the work that is being carried out in relation to the proposal for a directive on Services in the Internal Market will command particular attention.
EUROPEAN FORUM FOR ARCHITECTURAL POLICY
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, who has just adopted an architectural policy, has included a plenary event of the Forum as part of the official programme of activities of the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union. It is scheduled to take place in Luxembourg on 28-28 June, at the same time when an informal session of the EU Council of Ministers of Culture will be taking place, also in Luxembourg. It is intended that the Ministers will review on that occasion the follow up that was given to the Council Resolution on Architectural Quality in the Urban and Rural Environments of February 2001, and will also have an encountering with the Forum. It is recalled that the Forum is an informal, inter-governmental initiative that also involves the professional and cultural organisations. The ACE is an active participant in the Steering Committee of the Forum.
SECOND READING FOR THE QUALIFICATIONS DIRECTIVE
At a meeting of the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs (IMCO) Committee of the European Parliament the rapporteur, Mr. Zappala, set out the expected timetable for the next steps in the co-decision procedure on this directive. He intends to prepare a daft report for the 7th February and to present it to the Committee at its meeting of the 22nd February with a view to the Second Reading taking place on the 22nd May 2005. The deadline for amendments has been set on 2nd of March, bearing in mind that there are strict rules for such amendments under the second reading, whereby basically no new amendments can be tabled that had not already been tabled during the first reading. The discussion also highlighted that there is a growing consensus around the text of the Common Position of the Council. This means that there is a strong likelihood that the proposal will be adopted at Second Reading.
There has also been a change of shadow rapporteur on this proposal. Barbara Weiler (PSE) has taken over from Evelyne Gebhardt (PSE) as the latter is the main rapporteur on the SIM Directive.
It is worthwhile stressing that the linkage between the Qualifications Directive and the SIM (Services in the Internal Market) Directive has been re-emphasised, notably in relation to the discussion on the country of origin principle and derogations to it.
Finally the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union has announced that reaching agreement on this proposed directive, so that it can be adopted in July 2005, is to be one of its main priorities.
DIRECTIVE ON SERVICES IN THE INTERNAL MARKET
The new Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services has addressed the European Parliament and he has expressed his support for the contents of the proposed directive on Services in the Internal Market, saying that he believes that the thrust of the proposal goes in the right direction. He underlined his desire that the adoption of the directive should be achieved in a spirit of genuine co-operation and that the negotiations would not fail to “see the wood for the trees”.
In other developments the debate around the proposed directive is gathering pace. The Council has produced a consolidated version of the proposal that already incorporates useful clarifications. The main rapporteur in the Parliament, Mrs. Gebhardt has delivered her working document to the IMCO Committee. She intends to prepare her report for the Committee to consider at its March meeting with a view to holding the First Reading before the summer recess.
The country of origin principle (COP) is the core issue under debate, as well as the scope of the Directive whose usefulness has not been questioned.
Among many others, the Assembly of the European Regions has expressed its concern about the impact of liberalising the services market in terms of social and territorial cohesion within the EU. It is calling for an impact study to be made in areas like health and education. There are several requests to exclude sectors such as, Services of General Interest, Health Services, Notaries, and Construction.
THE EUROPEAN CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM (ECTP)
Work to firmly establish the ECTP has been significantly advanced with the establishment of the Secretariat and the holding of many meetings of the various “Focus Areas” and their respective working groups. The Secretariat has set up a website for the initiative on which relevant and up to date information can be found.
For its part, the ACE is leading the work on “Urban Issues” under the Chairmanship of Adrian Joyce. This topic is seen as particularly important by the Commission as it has the potential to be the follow-up to the Fifth Framework Programme work on the City of Tomorrow. In relation to other work groups the ACE has issued a call for nominees from its Member Organisations and it has secured representation in several other themes.
It is clear that the ECTP is an initiative
that is breaking new ground in the sector as there is unprecedented co-operation
among a wide variety of actors all working towards the same aim – an improved
industry and an improved environment for all. For more see:
INTER-GROUP ON URBAN ISSUES AND HOUSING
A formal Inter-Group on Urban Issues and Housing has been established in the European Parliament. The ACE has been closely following the development of this Inter-Group as it will offer the opportunity for close dialogue and co-operation with MEP’s on matters of central interest to our profession. Whilst the formal constitutive meeting scheduled on 27 January had to be postponed because of Mr Yushenko’s address to the Parliament, it is intended that the President of the Inter-Group will be Mr. Beaupuy of the Liberal Group, (ALDE) with two Vice-Presidents Mr. Olbrycht of the Conservative Group (PPE-ED) and either Arlene McCarthy or Alain Hutchinson of the Socialist Group (PSE). Among the issues that the ACE expects the Inter-Group to debate are the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment, the integration of architectural policies into Urban and Territorial Policies and the regeneration of urban areas through the use of structural funds. More generally, the ACE is willing to further promote a holistic and integrated approach to the quality of the living environment, in line with its recently published Policy Book “Architecture & Quality of Life”.
PUBLIC PROCUREMENT DIRECTIVES
The EU Commission has recently adopted
an Action Plan on e-Procurement, which aims to improve electronic public
procurement and to move towards an international framework for e-procurement.
It can be downloaded from the following address:
Following the adoption of the new directives
on Public Procurement, the thresholds that must be applied for the call
for tenders has been published in the Official Journal (29 October 2004).
These have been reduced in order to come into line with the Government
Procurement Agreement on public procurement concluded in 1994 in the context
of the Marrakesh negotiations. They can be viewed at the following address:
Finally, the ACE Recommendations and
Guidelines for the Transposition of the directives into National Laws
has now been finalised and its dissemination to national authorities is
underway. The document, which is available in English and French, can
be downloaded from the ACE website at the following address:
NEWS FROM THE ACE NETWORK
ARCHITECTURE AND QUALITY OF LIFE – SEMINARS
Towards the end of 2004, there were two seminars organised on the theme of “Architecture and Quality of Life” – the title of the ACE Policy Book published earlier in the year. On both occasions the ACE was represented by speakers presenting both the ACE itself and information on the key issues that are being addressed by the Organisation at this time.
The first of these seminars was organised by the Architect’s Association of Thessaloniki in Greece and it took place on the weekend of the 6th and 7th November. It was well attended and was timed to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Association.
The second was held in Budapest, Hungary 0n the 10th December and was organised by the Hungarian Chamber of Architects to celebrate the publication of the ACE book in Hungarian. In both cases local architects were informed about the work of the ACE and of the relevance of striving for the adoption of architectural policies as a tool for the achievement of a higher quality of life for all citizens.
LIABILITY AND INSURANCE OF ARCHITECTS
The Conseil National de l’Ordre des
Architectes de Belgique (CNOA(B)) has recently published the results of
a study that it commissioned on the liability and insurance of architects
across Europe (EU 15). The study was carried out by an independent body
and it gives a good overview of the current state of affairs in relation
to this important topic. The ACE Special Working Group on the proposed
SIM (Services in the Internal Market) Directive will be taking account
of the content of the report in its work over the coming months. The report
can be accessed on the website of the CNOA(B) at the following address:
HONORARY MEMBERSHIP OF THE CROATIAN CHAMBER OF ARCHITECTS
On the 11th December 2004, Luciano Lazzari, President of the Order of Architects of Trieste and a member of the Italian CNAPPC delegation to the ACE, was conferred with honorary membership of the architects’ section of the Croatian Chamber of Architects and Engineers. The ceremony took place during the meeting of the Assembly of the Croatian Chamber at the National Library in Zagreb and the citation referred to in particular to the efforts of Luciano “…in promoting constructive relations between the Croatian and Italian National Chambers.”
RE-ORGANISATION OF THE DG INTERNAL MARKET
Following the start of the mandate
of the Barroso Commission there has been some significant re-organisation
of the Directorate General Internal Market. First of all its name has
been changed to the Directorate General Internal Market and Services and
a new Directorate on “Services” has been established. The Director of
the Services Directorate is Guido Berardis and the Heads of the four Units
are Margot Froehlinger (services I, Jean Bergevin (services II), Ole Guldeberg
(services III) and Joerg Reinbothe (postal services). This Directorate
General is dealing with two of the proposed directives that are of central
importance to the ACE – the Qualifications Directive and the Directive
on Services in the Internal Market. Unit I has overall responsibility
for the proposed Directive on Services in the Internal Market. The full
organisational chart can be downloaded from:
SECTOR REVIEW – SWEDEN
The Swedish Association of Architects
and Consulting Engineers (STD) has published the 2004 issue of the detailed
annual sector survey and market review of the Swedish Consulting Engineering
and Architectural groups as well as an international outlook. It can be
downloaded from the following address:
EUROPEAN COMPANY STATUTE IN FORCE
The European Company Statute became
available for use on the 8th October 2004, thirty years after
it was first proposed by the Commission. However, as only 6 (Belgium,
Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) of the 28 EU and EEA Member
States has implemented the regulation at national level its use will be
delayed. Under the Statute a European Company (or Societas Europeae –
SE) can be set up by the creation of a holding company or a joint subsidiary
or by the merger of companies located in at least two Member States or
by the conversion of an existing company set up under national law. An
SE can operate throughout the EU with one set of rules and a unified management
and reporting system. It obeys the rules of the country where it is headquartered,
meaning that it does not need to establish branches in each country where
it wishes to do business. Further information can be found at:
REVISED EUROPEAN URBAN CHARTER
The Council of Europe has announced
that the revision of the European Urban Charter is now complete. The document
and further information can be accessed at:
This newly formed organisation (established
in January 2004) is an association of relevant, competent, independent
and highly experienced third party product certification bodies, testing
laboratories and inspection bodies in construction. Its aim is to provide
a point of reference for the Members dealing with the needs of the building
and construction industry, including all certification, testing and inspection
of design services, products, buildings and construction. The ACE has
been approached to become part of the Advisory Board but no decision has
been taken as yet. Further information can be found at:
EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2005
The city of Cork in Ireland is to be
the European City of Culture 2005. A wide variety of events have been
planned for the year as the designation will, in the words of Commissioner
Jan Figel, “…bring a huge impact on its social and economic life, since
it generates a great interest throughout the EU and beyond”. More information
THE COMMISSION ADOPTS NEW APPROACH
The new Barroso Commission has set up five groups of Commissioners to prepare college decisions. The five groups are:
1. The Lisbon Strategy Group – Chaired
by Jose Manuel Durao Barroso
These groups will each meet on a regular basis to ensure that the work of the Commission is properly and thoroughly prepared ahead of the taking of decisions.
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE (EESC)
The work programme for the two-year mandate of the new President of the EESC has received wide approval from all sectors represented in the Committee. The main items to be tackled by the Committee will include the involvement of civil society in the Lisbon strategy, involvement of civil society in “Communicating Europe” with particular reference to the proposed Constitution and the establishment of a “Civil Society Prize”.
The presidency of Group III of the EESC has been taken up by Staffan Nilsson (SE). This follows the move of Mrs. Sigmund to the Presidency of the EESC. Moreover, the EESC has established a group that is charged with contacts with Civil Society and it is expected that closer links with the liberal professions will be established over the next few months.
FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME FOR COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION
DG Enterprise of the Commission has
launched a consultation on its proposed framework programme for competitiveness
and innovation. This could offer the construction sector an opportunity
to get to grips with some of the issues that it is facing in the coming
decade or so. It can be accessed at:
THE EUROPEAN ECO-LABEL
The European Eco-Label, the official
European mark for greener products, is experiencing a growing success:
the sales of eco-labelled products increased by over 150% in 2004 to almost
500 million Euro of ex-factory sales. The criteria for the award of the
label aim at reducing the environmental impacts of the products and protecting
the health of users, while guaranteeing a high level of performance. For
further information see:
The proceedings of the first Urban
Regeneration Conference that was held in Poznan, Poland on the 20th
May 2004 has now been published. The conference was very successful at
raising awareness and knowledge of this important topic and several speakers
were representing the ACE at the event. Copies can be purchased from the
publisher by going to their website at:
THE ESPON NETWORK – MAPS OF NEW EUROPE
The European Spatial Observatory Network
(ESPON) has published a selection of new European maps entitled “Diversity
within the European Territory”. The maps give information on a variety
of issues including demographics, urban-rural typology and world economic
potentials. To download the publication go to:
EUROPEAN BUSINESS – FACTS AND FIGURES
The European Commission has published
a book entitled “European Business – Facts and Figures” that provides
a standard set of information for industrial and services activities in
the European Union. The cost of the book is EUR50 and an order form can
be requested from:
UIA WORLD CONGRESS – ISTANBUL
Time is short and the UIA World Congress
of architects is just six months away. Subscriptions are still at a discount
rate, but only for a short time. You are invited to look at the programme
and events that are planned for this Bazaar of Architectures at:
10TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE – ENERGIE CITES
On the 7th and 8th
of April 2005, Energie Cites will be holding its 10th Annual
Conference on the theme of “Assessing Local Energy Policies?”. It will
be held in Clermont-Ferrand in France. Further details can be found at
the following website:
WORLD ENERGY SUSTAINABLE DAYS 2005
This years World Energy Sustainable
Days will be held in Wels, Austria from the 1st to the 5th
March. There will be a combination of events over the five days including
the European Pellets Conference, the Innovative Public and Commercial
Buildings Conference and the Energy Sustainable Days Conference. There
is also a major trade show dedicated to renewable energy sources and energy
efficiency at the time and place. For full details go to:
The International conference entitled
“Passive Low Energy Cooling for the Built Environment” will be held on
Santorini Island, Greece from the 19th to the 21st
May 2005. Full details and online registration forms are available at:
EUROFINS SYMPOSIUM – DENMARK 8TH FEBRUARY 2005
New German requirements on the emission
of volatile organic chemicals from construction products were published
in the summer of 2004. This symposium will describe the new requirements
and highlight how they may become the benchmark for similar requirements
across the EU. Full details and registration available at:
REVALUING CONSTRUCTION 2005 – ROTTERDAM 22ND AND 23RD MARCH
This is the only event in 2005 that
will bring together speakers from governments, clients and construction
firms from around the world to present what they are doing to create greater
value from construction activities and a higher performing industry. Full
EUROPEAN URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING AWARDS EXHIBITION
The winning entries from the 2004 awards
are currently being exhibited at the Slovak Architects Society Gallery
in Bratislava. The exhibition will run to the end of January 2005. Further
information on the awards is available on the website of the European
Council of Town Planners at:
THE HOLCIM AWARDS
This is a global initiative of the
Holchim Foundation for Sustainable Construction based in Switzerland.
Total prize money is USD2 million and the deadline for submissions is
the 31st March 2005. There will be awards in five regions in
2005 and a global award in 2006. Entries can only be made online, where
full details are given:
EUROPEAN COMMISSION HOMEPAGE
SEARCH PAGE FOR COMMISSION DOCUMENTS
THE BARROSO COMMISSION:
WEBSITE OF THE LUXEMBOURG PRESIDENCY
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING WEBSITE
COAC INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS DATABASE:
CNAPPC DATABASE – ARCHIEUROPE:
WEBSITE OF THE EUROPEAN CONSTRUCTION
EU IMPACT ASSESSMENT IN PRACTICE
In the website addresses given in ACE Info for the documents of the EU, you will frequently see the following near the end of the address: “_en”. These two letters define the language of the document (English in the case of “en”) and you can usually change these two letters in order to bring you to a different language version as follows:
The editorial board for the compilation of ACE Info is:
The ACE President: Marie-Helene Lucas
The Secretary General of the ACE: Alain Sagne
Senior Advisor to the ACE: Adrian Joyce
ACE Info is normally issued around the second Wednesday of each month. You are free to circulate the document as widely as you wish, to translate its contents for use in your publications and to refer to the information it contains once you credit the ACE as the origin.
If you wish to receive ACE Info
regularly and you are not on the mailing list, you can register online
If you have information that you wish to have included in the next issue then e-mail it (in English or French please) to [email protected] Deadline for submissions is the first Friday of each month.
The editorial board wishes to acknowledge the sources of information for this issue of ACE Info which include FEANI, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.
[email protected] – Comments and contributions welcome