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ACE Info 4.06


English language version
The monthly electronic note from the Architects’ Council of Europe
Issue 4-06



Welcome to the fourth issue in 2006 of ACE Info, the regular update from the Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) 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.

Core Issues

Council of Ministers reach a Deal on the Services Directive

At the informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council on the 29th May 2006, EU Ministers reached political agreement on the draft directive on Services in the Internal Market.  The Ministers broadly followed the revised Commission proposal, which is largely based on the text adopted by the European Parliament in first reading.  Some changes to the scope of the Directive were agreed and there were changes introduced to the Article on Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII), which is of major importance to the architectural profession.  In-depth analysis of the impact of the proposed changes has yet to be carried out by the ACE, though first indications are that the provisions for PII will no longer come under the provisions of Article 16 on “Freedom to Provide Services”.  This would be appropriate from the point of view of the ACE, as already stated on several occasions.

The next step on the process of adoption is for the Council to adopt its Common Position and deliver it to the European Parliament for the Second Reading.  There are strict time limits on the Second Reading procedures, which means that, if the Parliament agrees with the Council text and conciliation is not needed, the Directive could be adopted before the end of the year with publication early in 2007.

Finnish Presidency Priorities

Finland will be taking over the Presidency of the EU on the 1st July 2006 for the second half of the year and it has published its agenda for priorities during its Presidency.  As a world leader in high technology industries and sustainable development, it is no surprise to see that the Finnish Presidency intends to put environmental issues high on its agenda.  The biggest areas to be targeted are international negotiations on climate change, the REACH regulation on chemical products, EU cooperation with Russia on environmental issues, the revision of the 6th Environment Action Programme and its associated Thematic Strategies.

The Finnish environment minister, Jan Erik Enestam, has publicly stated that he believes that all three pillars of the Lisbon Strategy are of equal importance and that economic progress does not necessarily conflict with sustainable development, something that Finland itself has demonstrated.  Such an approach is directly in line with the policy of the ACE and the upcoming Presidency therefore provides significant potential for the ACE to further promote its policies that strive to deliver quality in the built environment for all citizens of the EU.

The website of the Finnish Presidency is now up and running at the following address:

Transposition of the Public Procurement Directives

The EU Directives on the coordination of procedures governing public procurement (2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC) were due to be fully transposed into national law by the Member States of the EU on or before the 31st January 2006.  The ACE followed the process of the writing and adoption of these directives with particular interest as a significant amount of work undertaken by architects comes through public procurement.  It is therefore disappointing to see that the rate of transposition is very low

Architectural Policy Forum launches an EU Strategic Agenda

On 8th and 9th June an Event of the European Forum for Architectural Policies (EFAP) took place in Vienna under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency.  25 countries were represented and about 140 participants took part in the conference with as a theme “Means to improve quality”.  On that occasion, a meeting of the Steering Committee of the Forum also took place during which the creation of an International Association of the Forum was approved.  It will be established under Belgian law as a supporting organisation for the activities of the Forum, thus ensuring continuity in its operations.  The Forum itself will continue to have an informal character, with its three pillars: governments, profession and cultural institutes.  The EFAP Steering Committee also decided to launch an EU Strategic Agenda for quality in architecture, that will be promoted by six countries in a row that assume the Presidency of the EU, starting this year with Austria, followed from July by Finland and then Germany and Portugal in 2007 and Slovenia and France in 2008.  The next Forum Event is scheduled in Helsinki on 19-21 October as an official activity of the Finnish Presidency, with as a topic “Celebrating the Everyday -  Aspects of Architectural Policies”.
More information at: http://www.architecture-forum.net

ACE Matters

Joint Meeting with EFCA, FIEC and UEPC

The Secretaries General of the ACE, the European Federation for Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA), the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and the European Union of Developers and House Builders (UEPC) recently held an informal, exploratory meeting to debate the issue of liability insurance in the construction sector.  The incentive for the holding of the meeting is the text of the proposed Services Directive in relation to Professional Liability Insurance  and the potential of resurrecting some of the elements of the useful work done in GAIPEC in the early 1990’s in which liability issues were examined in detail.

The meeting concluded that there is room for further debate and possibly also for potential joint action between the represented groups and further investigation is under way and a course of action will be decided also in view of the adoption of the common position of the Council on the Services Directive.

The ACE is Critical of the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment

The ACE has prepared a statement on the recently published Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment and it has forwarded it to the Director General of the DG Environment that prepared the strategy.  In its criticism the ACE highlights the fact that the strategy does not propose any legislative actions and it concentrates on purely environmental issues such as air pollution, transport, noise etc.  The ACE firmly believes that a valuable opportunity to adopt an integrated approach to sustainable construction and, more generally, to sustainable design, management and development of urban areas for the benefit of all has been missed.

A further serious concern of the ACE lies with the fact that the recent re-organisation of the DG Environment Units has seen the abolition of the Unit on “Urban and Health” that prepared the strategy.  The fact that the strategy will now be implemented by the Unit on “Clean Air & Transport” is further proof of the narrow focus that the strategy will be given.

In a related matter, the Commission is currently running a public consultation on the 6th Environment Action Programme that the ACE intends to take part in so as to express its concerns that the Commission is not adopting an adequately integrated approach in its policy work in this area.  The ACE Statement on the Thematic Strategy will form part of its submission.  To partake in the consultation go to:

Upcoming ACE Events and Meetings

Joint Working Party with the EAAE – 19th June – Brussels
Work Group Registration and Licensing – 22nd June – Brussels
Work Group Procurement -23rd and 24th June – Budapest
Coordination Meeting for Thematic Area Access to the Profession – 30th June – Brussels
Executive Board Meeting – 30th June and 1st July – Brussels
Work Group Education – 24th July – Brussels
General Coordination Meeting – 8th September – Brussels

Other Matters

Council has Formalised the “Cohesion Legislative Package”

Following agreement on the 3rd May last in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) the Council has formalised the Cohesion Legislative Package that consists of 1) a general regulation establishing common arrangements for three sources to finance structural action from 2007-2013; 2) a regulation for each of the following – European Regional development fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund and 3) a new draft regulation on European Cross-Border Cooperation Groupings.  It will now be submitted to the Parliament for a Second Reading and it is expected that it will be adopted in July 2006.

As part of the new rules for these funds, spending on housing will be eligible in the EU-10 countries, subject to particular rules.  To be eligible for ERDF funding, spending must be in the context of an integrated urban development initiative to upgrade rundown areas or areas threatened by social exclusion.  Allocations for such funding cannot exceed 3% of the ERDF allocation to Operational Programmes concerned or 2% of the total ERDF.  Negotiations to define the exact type of interventions that can be supported are ongoing.  Urban renewal projects in the EU-15 will remain eligible for support as in the period 2000-2006.  For further information go to:

Signing of JEREMIE, JASPERS and JESSICA Agreements

On Tuesday 30th May last, the European Commission and heads of international financial institutions signed three new cohesion policy joint initiatives to deliver more investment, growth and jobs to the regions.  The launch took the form of the signing of three memoranda of understanding between EU Regional Policy Commissioner, Danuta Hübner, the President of the European Investment Bank, Philippe Maystadt and, for JASPERS, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President Jean Lemierre; for JEREMIE European Investment Fund (EIF) Chief Executive Francis Carpenter and for JESSICA, Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) Governor Raphael Alomar.

The main aims of the three initiatives are to improve the quality of projects financed by the Structural Funds and to promote recourse to financial engineering (using theoretical finance and computer modelling in decision-making), particularly to promote Public-Private Partnerships.  JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) aims to provide solutions to the financing of projects for urban renewal and development using a combination of grants and loans; JASPERS (Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions) will help the national and regional authorities to prepare large infrastructure projects and JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) will improve access to finance for micro to medium –sized enterprises.

For further information go to:

European Transparency Initiative

The Commission adopted, on the 3rd May 2006, on the initiative of Mr Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission in charge e.g. of administration, a Green Paper that aims to partially update the practices of lobbies and beneficiaries of Community funds.  The initiative aims to restore citizen’s confidence in the European Institutions and it is the subject of a broad public consultation that is due to finish on the 31st August 2006.  The Green Paper contains various proposals to clarify the activity of pressure groups such as the creation of an optional registration system managed by the Commission that would, among other things, mean that registered lobbyists would be automatically alerted to the opening of public consultations on draft legislation affecting their sphere of interest, the creation of a joint code of conduct to cover all lobbyists and the publication of all bodies supporting these lobbies and their financial resources.
To access the public consultation and the Green Paper go to:

Lowri Evans Appointed Deputy Director General in Charge if State Aid

The European Commission appointed, on the 10th May, Lowri Evans to the position of Deputy Director General within the DG Competition.  She will be responsible for monitoring State Aid.  Ms Evans, from the UK, has been in the position of Deputy Director General in charge of mergers since December 2005.  She has been working for the Commission since 1983 and has occupied several positions in the DG Employment before going on to be a Head of Unit in the DG Competition.  The ACE has had many contacts with her in her time at the Commission when she was responsible for the strand of work on competition policy and professional services and it wishes her success in her new post.  To see an organisational diagram of the DG Competition go to:

Public Procurement – Commission Publishes Draft Directive on Remedies

The European Commission adopted, at the beginning of May, a proposal for a directive amending existing European legislation on rejected bidders having the opportunity to appeal after failing to be awarded a contract (directive 89/655/EEC for traditional public procurement contracts and 92/13/EEC for special public procurement contracts).  It is proposing to introduce a “standstill” period of at least 10 days before a public contract can be concluded.  The aim is to improve transparency in public tenders and to encourage cross-border public markets by improving the trust of companies in the current appeals process.  The draft directive can be downloaded at:

Spain Approves National Solar Thermal Obligation

Spain has become one of the countries with the most advanced solar legislation in the world.  On the 17th March last the Spanish Government approved the new Technical Building Code (CTE, Codigo Tecnico de la Edificacion), the most significant reform of the Spanish building sector for decades.  The new CTE includes the following main areas: security of the buildings structure, fire safety, other safety and health issues, sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings.  The latter part goes far beyond the minimal level of implementation of the EC Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings and includes and obligation to cover 30-70% of the domestic hot water demand with solar thermal energy.  To read the full text of the law (in Spanish only), go to:

European Headquarters for Renewable Energy Inaugurated

On the 22nd March last, the Renewable Energy House, which hosts all major European renewable energy associations in the heart of the European Quarter of Brussels, was inaugurated by HRH Prince Laurent of Belgium, Prime Minister Guy Verhofsdadt, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and four European Commissioners (Andris Piebalgs, Stavros Dimas, Margot Wallström and Louis Michel) and Professor Arthouros Zervos, President of EREC, the European Renewable Energy Council.  The 2,000 square-metre building is a showcase for renewable energy and energy efficiency with 100% of its heating and cooling demand being met from renewable sources and its courtyard displaying a range of the latest PV technologies to produce electricity and demonstrate their integration into the fabric of the building.  For more information go to:

EC and UN-HABITAT Sign an Agreement on Promoting Sustainable Cities

The European Commission (EC) has signed an agreement with UN-HABITAT to further develop the research relationship between the two organisations.  UN-HABITAT is the UN’s human settlement programme.  The new agreement will help researchers to address issues such as urban planning and governance, housing, water management, sanitation and land use.  The results of joint research efforts will be made available to experts and policy makers working in related fields.  For further information, go to:

Graz: The World Heritage of Tomorrow

Thanks to the non-conformist attitude of the public authorities in Graz and to the ambition of the private sector entrepreneurs in Graz, this provincial Austrian city has successfully introduced some remarkable architectural projects into the heart of its historic fabric, a registered UNESCO World Heritage site.  Encouraged by the City Council, the region and city’s 40,000 students and 250,000 resident have developed an astonishing taste for modern architecture.  There are many lessons that can be learnt from this experience as the ACE strives to demonstrate what creative management of the architectural heritage means and what is meant by quality in the built environment.
For more information on the city and its architectural treasures go to:

EU Sustainable Development Strategy

The EU is in the process of reviewing its sustainable development strategy that was adopted during the 2001 Gothenburg European Council.  In February 2005, the Commission took stock and confirmed that a number of unsustainable trends continue to worsen in the EU.  One controversial issue is the relationship with the Lisbon reform agenda for growth and jobs.  In June 2006, the European Council is expected to revise the strategy.

The Competitiveness Council held a political debate on the strategy on the 29th May in Brussels.  The debate was structured around a questionnaire that the Austrian Presidency had circulated ahead of the meeting.  The Member States called for a clearer alignment of the sustainable development strategy with the Lisbon Strategy and emphasised the need to put more emphasis on the role of innovation and eco-innovation to guarantee synergies between competitiveness and the environment.  For more information see:

Launch of OSHA Campaign “Safe Start”

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency will formally launch it “Safe Start” campaign at a series of events in Brussels on the 20th and 21st June next.  The campaign is dedicated to young people to ensure that they get a safe and healthy start to their working lives.  It will have two distinct elements one aimed at the workplace and one aimed at the education community.  The campaign and its theme will also be the focus of activities of European Safety Week 2006, scheduled for October.
For further information go to:

Parliament Calls for new “Transatlantic Partnership Agreement”

On the 1st June, the European Parliament adopted a series of reports on improving EU-US relations in the framework of a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement.  By taking this decision the Parliament has come out in favour of an updating of the transatlantic partnership by replacing the current New Transatlantic Agenda with a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement (TPA).  The next EU-US Summit in Vienna on the 21st June is expected to set a target of creating a barrier-free transatlantic market by 2015, although the Parliament has adopted a more ambitious target of 2010.

Further information on this initiative will be reported in future issues of the ACE Info.


None to note in this edition


Less and More – Extending the Rational in Architecture

To be held from the 28th to the 30th June in Jyväskylä, Finland, this Symposium will tackle the issue of how to extend the concept of the rational in architecture by presenting contemporary architects and artists with their works, ideas and visions.  Full details can be found at:

It is worth recalling that the City of Jyväskylä was one of the first cities in Finland to adopt an architectural policy.  Moreover, an increasing number of Finnish cities are now in the process of adopting such policies, including Helsinki, very recently. ACE Info will come back to this in a next issue.

Solar Low Energy Housing in Europe

Due to take place in Freiburg, Germany, from the 11th to the 19th August 2006, this international summer workshop is a practical and technical training workshop in English focussing on solar and low energy housing examples from Europe relevant to temperate and cold climates.  Full details can be found at:

Urban Design from Theory to Implementation

To be held in Isfahan, Iran from the 4th to the 7th September 2006, this conference presents a valuable opportunity to explore outstanding theories and practices of urban design in a global context.  Full details can be accessed at:

PLEA 2006

To be held in Geneva, Switzerland from the 6th to the 8th September 2006, this conference will examine the theme of clever design and affordable comfort as a challenge for low energy architecture and urban planning.  Full details at:

10th International Architectural Exhibition – La Biennale Di Venezia

To be held in Venice, Italy from the 10th September to the 11th November 2006, the Biennale will, as always, be a showcase for architecture with a number of important events taking place concurrently around the holding of the exhibition.  Full details about this year’s events and the exhibition can be found at:

Citizens and Mobility Management

To be held in Madrid, Spain from the 25th to the 27th September 2006, this congress will look at the issue of urban mobility and the negative effects that arise from the significant increase in urban mobility in recent decades.  Full details can be found at:

Accessibility and Tourism

To be held in Chersonissos, Crete from the 29th to the 30th September 2006, this meeting seeks to highlight the social and economic value of the accessibility of the built environment in the broader area of South Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.  Full details at:
Louis Kahn Days

To be held in Kuressaare on Saaremaa island in Estonia from the 6th to the 7th October 2006 this event will celebrate the life of Louis Kahn and include a screening of the film “My Architect” on his life as seen through the eyes of his son who will be present at the event.  Full details can be found at:


To be held in Brussels, Belgium from the 11th to the 14th October 2006, this European Symposium research in architecture urban and landscape design will be dedicated to the theme “Architecture and heritage”.  Full details can be found at:

Calls for Papers

The ACE frequently receives notifications of “Calls for Papers” for conferences and seminars worldwide.  You may have written a thesis or doctorate paper that you would like to present or you may have an idea that you wish develop and to share with a wider audience – here is your chance:

Universal Design of Buildings: Tools and Policy – 16th and 17th November 2006

Full background details on this international conference (to be held in Bruges, Belgium) can be found at the web address below.  A call for the submission of papers for the conference has been made with a deadline of the 25th July 2006:

5th International Conference on Arch Bridges – 12th to 14th September 2007

Full background details on this international conference (to be held in Madeira, Portugal) can be found at the web address below.  A call for the submission of papers for the conference has been made with a deadline of the 31st July 2006:

Velo-city 2007 – From Vision to Reality

Full background details on this international conference (to be held in Munich, Germany) can be found at the web address below.  A call for the submission of papers for the conference has been made with a deadline of the 11th August 2006:

Advancing Public Procurement – Practices Innovation and Knowledge Sharing 21st to 23rd September 2006

Full background details on this international conference (to be held in Rome, Italy) can be found at the web address below.  A call for the submission of papers for the conference has been made with a deadline of the 31st October 2006:


ThyssenKrupp Headquarters Building – Essen, Germany

A worldwide, open two-stage international competition for the design of a new headquarters building on an inner-city site of 15 hectares has been announced by the ThyssenKrupp Group.  Registration for Stage one is online and open until the 30th June 2006 at the following site:

7th OISTAT Architecture Competition 2007

This is an international ideas competition on the design of buildings containing performance spaces aimed at students and emerging practitioners, which is organised every four years.  Registration is open at the moment and the date for submissions is 16th February 2007.  Full details can be found at:

Europa Nostra Competition – Call for Entries

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced the call for entries for the 2006 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and the 2006 Europa Nostra Awards.  Total prixe money is 60,000 euro.  Full details can be found at:

Useful links

European Commission homepage

Search page for Commission documents

The Barroso Commission:

Website of the Austrian Presidency

European Forum for Architectural Policies

Sustainable building website

Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) international relations database:

Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti, Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori (CNAPPC) database - ArchiEuro:

Website of the European Construction Technology Platform:

EU Impact Assessment in Practice

Consult a list of impact assessments that the EU has carried out on various legislative packages at:

Register of Expert Groups of the European Commission:

ArchiEuropa website – comparative information on practice of architecture:

Summary of current competitions:

ACE Website

Useful tip:

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:

French _fr  

German _de

Danish _da  Swedish _sv
Italian _it    Spanish _es Greek _el Dutch _nl
Portuguese _pt   Finnish _fi  Czech _cs Maltese _mt
Estonian _et  Latvian _lv   Lithuanian _lt Polish _pl
Hungarian _hu  Slovene _sl Slovak _sk  

Editor’s note

The editorial board for the compilation of ACE Info is:

The ACE President:                                   Jean-François Susini
The ACE Vice President                           Luciano Lazzari
The Secretary General of the ACE:         Alain Sagne
Senior Advisor to the ACE:                       Adrian Joyce

ACE Info is issued on a regular basis, with about ten editions per year.  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 at:

If you have information that you wish to have included in the next edition then e-mail it (in English or French please) to [email protected].  The deadline for submissions is the first Friday of each month.


The editorial board wishes to acknowledge the sources of information for this edition of ACE Info which include URBACT, FOCOPE, the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, the European Renewable Energy Council, the OSHA, the European Urban Knowledge Network, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.

[email protected] - Comments and contributions welcome

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