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Strategic planning and programming cycle

The Commission plans and reports on its work following an annual cycle known as the "strategic planning and programming" cycle.

The main stages of the cycle are:

  • State of the Union address by the Commission President defines priorities and strategic objectives for the following year.
  • Drafting of the Commission Work Programme for the year – on basis of a dialogue between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.
  • Other EU institutions and national parliaments also comment on the programme.
  • Commission departments (directorates-general) produce strategic and management plans showing how they will contribute to the Commission's priorities and setting clear objectives and indicators for monitoring and reporting.
  • For all major legislative and policy defining initiatives, Commission departments prepare an impact assessment to analyse the likely economic, environmental and social effects of the proposals.
  • A list of planned Commission initiatives and a list of adopted Commission initiatives  is updated regularly and sent to other EU institutions to help them organise their own activities.
  • At the end of the budget year, all departments produce an annual activity report on their performance in achieving their objectives.
  • These reports are collated in a synthesis report communicated to the European Parliament and the Council. As of 2016, the synthesis report is included in the Annual Management and Performance Report for the EU Budget.

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