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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-04-03

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Retail investment products: Commission publishes feedback statement on call for evidence
  • [02] Internal Market: infringement proceedings against Italy, Slovakia and the United Kingdom
  • [03] Public procurement: infringement proceedings against Italy and Germany concerning waste management services
  • [04] Professional qualifications: Commission acts to ensure eight Member States implement EU laws
  • [05] Qualifications professionnelles: procédures d'infraction contre la Belgique, la République tchèque et l'Espagne
  • [06] Public procurement: Commission requests Italy to comply with Court of Justice judgement
  • [07] Banking: Commission closes case against France over law on current account interest
  • [08] Liberté d’établissement: la Commission traduit l'Espagne devant la Cour de Justice
  • [09] Libre prestation de services: procédure d’infraction l’encontre de l’Autriche
  • [10] L'Union européenne approfondit ses relations avec ses voisins et soutient leurs réformes
  • [11] Cyprus – opening of the Ledra Street crossing
  • [12] Car taxation: infringement procedure against Malta
  • [13] Direct taxation: Commission requests Hungary to end discriminative tax incentives for research and development
  • [14] VAT – Commission takes steps against Spain regarding its rules to determine the taxable amount of VAT in case of barter transactions
  • [15] EU calls for urgent action to improve working conditions for 1 million posted workers
  • [16] Antitrust: Commission presents policy paper on compensating consumer and business victims of competition breaches
  • [17] Droits portuaires: La Commission adresse un avis motivé l'Espagne
  • [18] Libre prestation de services dans le transport maritime: La Commission adresse un avis motivé la Finlande
  • [19] Telecoms Rules: Commission sends Bulgaria and Romania final warning on 112
  • [20] Commission takes Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal to the Court of Justice for infringing EU social rules on road transport
  • [21] Maritime safety: European Commission sends reasoned opinion to Italy
  • [22] River Information Services: Commission sends reasoned opinions to four Member States
  • [23] Training of seafarers: Commission sends reasoned opinions to Estonia and Italy
  • [24] Smoking genes? European scientists discover the first case of a genetic dependence to nicotine
  • [25] Nature protection: Commission sends final written warning to Hungary over bird protection laws, closes Finnish wolf hunting case
  • [26] Environment: Commission brings Italy to Court for lack of hazardous accidents emergency plans, closes nature case
  • [27] Ecodesign Directive: European Commission sends Reasoned Opinion to Poland
  • [28] Volume of retail trade down by 0.5% in euro area
  • [29] Commission clears acquisition of Pret a Manger by Bridgepoint
  • [30] Statement by Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, on the situation in Kenya
  • [31] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-04-03 Reference: MEX/08/0403 Date: 03/04/2008 EXME08 / 03.04

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    03/04/08


  • [01] Retail investment products: Commission publishes feedback statement on call for evidence

    The European Commission has published a feedback statement summarising the 80 responses received to its call for evidence on "substitute" retail investment products. The call for evidence invited views on whether differences in EU rules on the transparency and distribution of retail investment products – including investment funds, unit-linked life insurance products and structured securities – give rise to material differences in the level of regulatory protection for retail investors. It also invited opinions on whether action was needed at EU level to respond to any identified weaknesses. The feedback statement summarises the wide range of views expressed. The Commission will continue to gather opinion and evidence on these issues. The next major milestone will take the form of an open hearing to be held in Brussels on 15 July 2008. The Commission will publish a Communication in autumn 2008 in which it takes an opinion on whether there is a need for further work in this area.

    [02] Internal Market: infringement proceedings against Italy, Slovakia and the United Kingdom

    The European Commission has decided to send formal requests to Italy regarding lawyers' fees, to Slovakia regarding disclosure of privatisation agreements, and to the United Kingdom regarding implementation of a Directive on motor insurance. These formal requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [03] Public procurement: infringement proceedings against Italy and Germany concerning waste management services

    The European Commission has decided to send formal requests, in the form of reasoned opinions, to Italy and Germany concerning the procurement of water/wastewater management services and waste disposal services. The public contracts in question have been concluded in the context of structures of cooperation between public municipalities. The national authorities therefore invoke the "in-house" exception claiming that the award of the service contracts is excluded from the application of EC public procurement rules.

    [04] Professional qualifications: Commission acts to ensure eight Member States implement EU laws

    The Commission has decided to refer eight Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain) to the European Court of Justice over their failure to inform the Commission of measures taken to implement Directive 2006/100/EC, which provides for technical adaptations to the Directives on professional qualifications further to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union on 1 January 2007. It updates, amongst others, all the lists of qualifications which benefit from automatic recognition by completing them with the corresponding Bulgarian and Romanian qualifications. The deadline for transposing Directive 2006/100/EC expired on 1 January 2007. The Member States in question have still not brought into force all the necessary provisions.

    [05] Qualifications professionnelles: procédures d'infraction contre la Belgique, la République tchèque et l'Espagne

    La Commission a décidé d'adresser un avis motivé trois Etats membres, savoir la Belgique, la République tchèque et l'Espagne, pour non- communication des mesures de transposition de la directive 2005/36/CE relative la reconnaissance des qualifications professionnelles.

    [06] Public procurement: Commission requests Italy to comply with Court of Justice judgement

    The European Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send a letter of formal notice to Italy requesting it to comply immediately with a 2007 European Court of Justice judgement concerning the award of concessions for horse-race betting services, without tender procedure.

    [07] Banking: Commission closes case against France over law on current account interest

    The European Commission has decided to terminate an infringement procedure against France as it has now completely abolished its legislation ('Code Monétaire') that formally prohibited banks from offering interest on current accounts to their customers.

    [08] Liberté d’établissement: la Commission traduit l'Espagne devant la Cour de Justice

    La Commission a décidé de saisir la Cour de Justice au sujet de la réglementation espagnole relative l'établissement de surfaces commerciales, qu'elle juge incompatible avec l'article 43 du traité CE.

    [09] Libre prestation de services: procédure d’infraction l’encontre de l’Autriche

    La Commission a décidé, en vertu de l’article 228 du traité CE, d’envoyer une lettre de mise en demeure l’Autriche pour obtenir des informations complètes sur l’exécution de l'arrêt de la Cour européenne de justice concernant la fourniture de services en Autriche d'organismes privés de contrôle des produits issus de l'agriculture biologique.

    [10] L'Union européenne approfondit ses relations avec ses voisins et soutient leurs réformes

    L'an passé, l'Union européenne a considérablement renforcé ses relations avec les pays voisins et soutenu leurs efforts de réformes démocratiques et économiques au moyen de la politique européenne de voisinage (PEV). Un document de stratégie adopté ce jour par la Commission européenne dresse le bilan des avancées concrètes réalisées par les pays partenaires dans un grand nombre de domaines allant de la coopération politique aux échanges commerciaux en passant par les migrations, l’assouplissement des formalités de délivrance de visas, l'énergie, les transports, la recherche, l'innovation, ainsi que la mobilité des étudiants et des jeunes . La Commission recense également les domaines dans lesquels des efforts doivent être déployés et encourage un approfondissement ciblé et différencié des relations avec certains partenaires ayant fait montre d'ambitions et de capacités particulières. Ce processus est déj enclenché avec l'Ukraine et la Commission propose présent d'intensifier encore la coopération avec Israël, la Moldavie et le Maroc. Les rapports établis pour chaque pays, assortis d'un plan d'action PEV et d'un rapport sectoriel, sont joints au document de stratégie.

    [11] Cyprus – opening of the Ledra Street crossing

    The Commission welcomes the opening of the Ledra Street crossing in Nicosia today, forty-four years after it had been closed. The opening of the crossing marks an important step forward in building confidence between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

    [12] Car taxation: infringement procedure against Malta

    The Commission has decided to send to Malta a formal request to amend its car registration tax rules which discriminate against second-hand cars brought into Malta from other Member States. The request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If the Commission does not receive a satisfactory response from Malta within two months, it may ultimately bring the case before the Court of Justice.

    [13] Direct taxation: Commission requests Hungary to end discriminative tax incentives for research and development

    The European Commission has formally requested Hungary to change its tax law provisions which limit the granting of a tax incentive to taxpayers who engage in research or development activities performed on premises located in Hungary. The provisions are incompatible with the freedom to provide services as guaranteed by Article 49 of the EC Treaty and Article 36 of the EEA Agreement. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the EC Treaty). If there is no satisfactory reaction to the Reasoned Opinion within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [14] VAT – Commission takes steps against Spain regarding its rules to determine the taxable amount of VAT in case of barter transactions

    The European Commission has formally requested Spain to bring its administrative practice regarding the application of certain VAT rules to for determining the taxable amount in case of barter transactions in line with the provisions of the VAT directive. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the EC Treaty). If the relevant administrative practice is not aligned with Community Law within two months, in order to comply with the reasoned opinion, the Commission may decide to refer this matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [15] EU calls for urgent action to improve working conditions for 1 million posted workers

    The European Commission today called on national governments to take urgent action to improve the situation of posted workers – temporarily posted by their employers to another Member State – through better cooperation between national administrations. The Recommendation sets out a series of concrete actions to remedy shortcomings in the way the existing legislation is implemented, applied and enforced. It calls in particular for more effective exchange of information, better access to information and exchange of best practice. The initiative comes as a follow-up to the Commission's June 2007 Communication on posting of workers.

    [16] Antitrust: Commission presents policy paper on compensating consumer and business victims of competition breaches

    The European Commission has published a White Paper suggesting a new model for achieving compensation for consumers and businesses who are the victims of antitrust violations (breaches of EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices and abuse of dominant market positions). At present, there are serious obstacles in most EU Member States that discourage consumers and businesses from claiming compensation in court in private antitrust damages actions. The White Paper includes suggestions to make damages claims by victims more efficient, whilst ensuring respect for European legal systems and traditions. The model outlined by the Commission is based on compensation through single damages for the harm suffered. The White Paper's other key recommendations cover collective redress, disclosure of evidence and the effect of final decisions of competition authorities in subsequent damages actions. The recommendations balance rights and obligations of both the claimant and the defendant and include safeguards against abuses of litigation. Interested parties are invited to comment on the recommendations until 15 July 2008. The Commission will then reflect on concrete measures in the light of responses to the White Paper.

    [17] Droits portuaires: La Commission adresse un avis motivé l'Espagne

    La Commission européenne a adressé aujourd’hui un avis motivé l'Espagne, la dernière étape avant une éventuelle saisine de la Cour de justice, pour avoir prévu dans sa législation nationale des droits portuaires discriminatoires

    [18] Libre prestation de services dans le transport maritime: La Commission adresse un avis motivé la Finlande

    La Commission européenne a envoyé aujourd’hui un avis motivé, la dernière étape avant une éventuelle saisine de la Cour de justice, la Finlande en raison des dispositions nationales qui obligent les armateurs étrangers d'avoir en Finlande un représentant approuvé par les autorités douanières. Ce représentant est solidairement responsable avec l'armateur du paiement des droits de chenalage. Ces droits sont exigés pour le service qui consiste guider les navires dans des chenaux, notamment dans des voies d'accès un port.

    [19] Telecoms Rules: Commission sends Bulgaria and Romania final warning on 112

    In a new round of infringement proceedings for EU Telecoms Rules, the European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion (the second and final stage before the case is referred to the European Court of Justice) to Bulgaria and Romania. In both countries, the Single European Emergency number 112 is still not functioning properly. Meanwhile, two cases against Finland over the national regulator's powers have been closed, following national legislative amendments.

    [20] Commission takes Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal to the Court of Justice for infringing EU social rules on road transport

    Today, the European Commission lodged proceedings against Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal for failure to comply with European social legislation relating to road transport activities.

    [21] Maritime safety: European Commission sends reasoned opinion to Italy

    The Commission sent today a reasoned opinion to Italy for failure to adequately transpose and implement legislation on port State control

    [22] River Information Services: Commission sends reasoned opinions to four Member States

    The European Commission has today decided to send reasoned opinions to Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Slovak Republic for failure to transpose into national law the European rules for setting up harmonised river information services on inland waterways. Sending a reasoned opinion is the last step before possibly taking a matter to the Court of Justice.

    [23] Training of seafarers: Commission sends reasoned opinions to Estonia and Italy

    The European Commission sent today reasoned opinions to Estonia and Italy for failure to adopt national legislation on the mutual recognition of seafarers' certificates issued by the Member States. Sending a reasoned opinion is the last step before the lodging of a formal complaint to the Court of Justice.

    [24] Smoking genes? European scientists discover the first case of a genetic dependence to nicotine

    Scientists from an EU-supported consortium have discovered that a mutation in a human gene confers nicotine dependence. They have shown that a particular variant of a nicotine-receptor gene impacts smoking behaviour and hence confers a 30% increase in risk of lung cancer and a 20% increase in risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a common and debilitating constriction of the arteries to the legs. Roughly half of the people of European descent carry at least one copy of this genetic variant, which does not influence smoking initiation, but makes it more difficult to quit. The results stem out from the European project GENADDICT (Genomics, mechanisms and treatment of addiction), which is supported by 8.1 million euros' worth of funding from the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for research and by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

    [25] Nature protection: Commission sends final written warning to Hungary over bird protection laws, closes Finnish wolf hunting case

    The European Commission is sending Hungary a final written warning for not putting in place national measures for implementing an EU environmental law on the protection of wild birds. The Commission is also closing a case against Finland on the granting of permits for wolf hunting because it considers that Finland has complied with a 2007 European Court of Justice ruling.

    [26] Environment: Commission brings Italy to Court for lack of hazardous accidents emergency plans, closes nature case

    The European Commission is bringing Italy before the European Court of Justice for failing to complete the process of drawing up emergency plans in case of major accidents for installations where hazardous substances are present. The Commission is also closing a case against Italy on the designation of special nature protection sites following significant progress achieved in 2007.

    [27] Ecodesign Directive: European Commission sends Reasoned Opinion to Poland

    The Commission sent a Reasoned Opinion to Poland for failure to communicate its transposition of the Ecodesign Directive. This is the last step of an infringement procedure, before referring the Member State to court. The directive, which aims to lower the environmental impact of energy-using products, is one of the pillars of the EU's strategy on energy efficiency.

    [28] Volume of retail trade down by 0.5% in euro area

    In February 2008, compared with January 2008, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.5% in the euro area (EA15), but grew by 0.3% in the EU27. In January retail trade rose by 0.5% and 0.6% respectively. In February 2008, compared with February 2007, the retail sales index fell by 0.2% in the euro area, but rose by 2.0% in the EU27.

    [29] Commission clears acquisition of Pret a Manger by Bridgepoint

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Pret a Manger Holdings Limited (Pret a Manger) of the UK by Bridgepoint Capital Group Limited (Bridgepoint), also of the UK. Bridgepoint is a private equity company. Pret a Manger is active in food and drink retail through chain of sandwich shops in the UK. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    Rediffusion

    [30] Statement by Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, on the situation in Kenya

    Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, expressed his concern today for the delay and difficulties in the formation of a coalition government in Kenya. Commissioner Michel, reacting in the wake of an earlier statement by Kofi Annan on the situation in Kenya, expressed his full support to the position of the former UN Secretary General.

    [31] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Preparation of Eurogroup and Informal Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Brdo (Slovenia) 4 and 5 April 2008

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – ARMENIA

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – AZERBAIJAN

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – EGYPT

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – GEORGIA

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – ISRAEL

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – JORDAN

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – LEBANON

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – MAROC

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – MOLDOVA

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – TUNISIE

    • Memo on European Neighbourhood Policy – UKRAINE

    • Memo on Antitrust: policy paper on compensating consumer and business victims of competition breaches– frequently asked questions (see also IP/08/515)

    • Speech by Commissioner Kroes 'Policy paper on compensating victims of competition breaches', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel 'Der Gesundheitscheck: Wie geht es weiter?', Dresden – in German only -

    • Speech by Commissioner Borg 'EU initiatives on tourism in the Mediterranean region', Fez

    • Speech by Commissioner McCReevy 'Successes and new challenges in the implementation of the Single Market', Brussels

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Abe Investment / Getty From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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