Archive pour mai 2011

Member States may not reserve access to the profession of notary to their own nationals

Samedi 28 mai 2011

Press and Information Court of Justice of the European Union PRESS RELEASE No 50/11 Luxembourg, 24 May 2011 Judgments in Cases C-47/08, C-50/08, C-51/08, C-53/08, C-54/08, C-61/08 and C-52/08 Commission v Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, …

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Brussels, 27 May 2011 Council adopts EU rules for alternative investment fund managers

Samedi 28 mai 2011

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN Brussels, 27 May 2011 10791/11 PRESSE 157 Council adopts EU rules for alternative investment fund managers The Council today 1 adopted a directive introducing harmonised EU rules for entities engaged in the management …

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Brussels, 27 May 2011 Council tightens rules on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment

Samedi 28 mai 2011

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN Brussels, 27 May 2011 10789/11 PRESSE 156 Council tightens rules on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment The Council today revised the directive on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic …

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EU - Japan Summit EU27 imports from Japan decreased by 30% between 2000 and 2010 Surplus of 4 bn euro for trade in services in 2010

Vendredi 27 mai 2011

STAT/11/74 26 May 2011 Between 2000 and 2010, EU27 exports of goods to Japan fell slightly in value from 45 bn euro to 44 bn, and EU27 imports from Japan decreased by 30%, from 92 bn to 65 bn. As a result, the EU27 deficit in trade with Japan decreased …

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The Member States were granted wide flexibility when developing programmes for the progressive reduction of emissions of pollutants

Vendredi 27 mai 2011

Press and Information Court of Justice of the European Union PRESS RELEASE No 51/11 Luxembourg, 26 May 2011 Judgment in Joined Cases C-165/09 to C-167/09 Stichting Natuur en Milieu and Others v College van Gedeputeerde Staten van Groningen and College …

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Major support for continued LIFE + programme

Jeudi 26 mai 2011

The results of public consultation on the future of LIFE+ are clear: 85.8% of those who took part felt that the environment and the climate action require a specific financial instrument at EU level. Most of them think that the budget allocation for this instrument should be increased.

As part of ongoing reflections on a financial successor for LIFE+, stakeholders have been widely consulted over the past months. Respondents have expressed their views on the need for a specific financial instrument for the environment and climate action, on ways to boost its added value, and on the architecture of such an instrument in the next programming period.

The conclusions show that:
- An overwhelming majority of stakeholders consider that there is a need for a specific EU financial instrument for the environment and climate action.
Limited resources were identified as one of the key factors limiting the effectiveness of LIFE+. 54.6% of respondents called for an increase in the budget.
- An EU-level programme for the environment is needed in particular to help Member States to effectively implement EU environmental policy.
82.1% of respondents considered that this should be the most important focus of a future LIFE. The programme should also be used to address European and global challenges, contribute to sharing best practices, promote transfers of knowledge and capacity-building, and raise awareness.
- Stakeholders agreed that the instrument should allow for some activities to be carried out outside the EU provided that they serve specific EU policy objectives.
- “Integrated Projects”, a new feature aimed at improving synergies and facilitating investments in the environmental sector, was perceived as a very useful tool.
- The development and implementation of environmental policies is highly affected by Member States’ failures to implement environmental legislation, the lack of integration of environment into other policy areas, and difficulties in using EU funding instruments to support environmental investments.

These conclusions draw together the results of several consultations carried out by the European Commission. A broad stakeholder consultation on the future of LIFE+ was conducted from November 2010 to February 2011. The consultation received 912 contributions, from citizens, national authorities, social partners, businesses and NGOs, across the EU and from some non-EU countries.

This on-line consultation was complemented with a specific survey of 147 LIFE project managers. An expert workshop was held on 28 January 2011, attended by approximately 100 stakeholders including LIFE+ National Contact Points, NGOs, and economic and social partners. In parallel, the Committee of the Regions conducted a consultation on the territorial impacts of the successor to LIFE+ and received 40 contributions.

The results of these consultations will be factored in a combined impact assessment and ex-ante evaluation of a successor for LIFE+. The Commission intends to prepare a proposal for a future financial instrument for the environment and climate action by the end of 2011.

Conference LIFE for our environment: success stories and future challenges
The conclusions of these consultations and the future of LIFE+ will be discussed in a Conference organised by the European Commission on LIFE success stories and future challenges on 25-26 May in Brussels.

The Conference will take stock of the contribution of LIFE to environmental protection, its main achievements, and propose ideas on the design and development of the future programme, particularly in the context of the next financial perspective 2014-2020. The conference also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to exchange views and share their experience in the context of the implementation of the LIFE programme.

Background
Launched in 1992, the LIFE Programme is the only EU financial instrument solely dedicated to the environment and thus with resources earmarked for environmental protection. The programme has an annual budget of €380 million and mostly follows a bottom-up approach for action grants (78% of the LIFE+ budget).

“Ms or Mr SME”: Small business gets an advocate in each EU Member State

Jeudi 26 mai 2011

Newly appointed Ms or Mr SME will advocate for the interests of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). Chiefly they will check the correct application of the EU law on SMEs and ensure that policies at national, regional and local level are enterprise friendly”. Today, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani inaugurated a new network of Member States’ SME Envoys at the SBA conference “Mobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe” in Budapest. As SMEs are affected by policies originating in different government departments ranging from tax to financial and from regulatory to education, the SME envoys should help small businesses to concentrate on their core business to strive and create jobs.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “The new SME Envoys will ensure that administrations “think small first” and take the interests of SMEs into account for every new law and regulation. I count on our new Mrs and Mr SME so that we can create an ecosystem that is right for small businesses together, allowing them to unleash their great drive and potential to create jobs and growth. When we mean business in Europe, we think small first but we aim BIG.”

The Small Business Act (SBA) is the European Commission’s SME policy aiming to make Europe more business friendly and encouraging people to start their own business. In the future, the new Mr or Mrs SME will meet with SME representative organisations at EU-wide level within the SBA Advisory Group. This is part of the new governance called for in the recent review of the Small Business Act. This new mechanism will ensure closer monitoring and coordinated action in support of SMEs.

The SBA has already helped to cut regulations, provided funding to more than 110.000 SMEs so far with 200.000 planned to benefit from the specific SME bank loan guarantees and venture capital schemes by 2012, and proposed small business friendly solutions to issues such as late payments or access to public procurement. Member States have also taken similar measures. They have reduced the cost and time of setting up a company from 12 days and €485 in 2007 to 7 days and €399 in 2010, enhanced SMEs’ access to credit and launched internationalisation schemes. However, more needs to be done. The newly appointed SME Envoys are expected to focus and accelerate actions at national level.

The “Mobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe” conference is co-organised with the Hungarian EU Presidency, was attended by representatives of small business, business organisations and public administrations charged with the task of coordinating SME policy.

Background

The recent SBA Review pointed to the need for better governance so as to ensure that the “Think Small First” concept is applied at all levels of policy making. The European Commission has appointed Mr. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, as the new EU’s SME Envoy. The SBA Review also called on countries to appoint an SME Envoy whose central role will be to ensure that the “Think Small First” principle is applied at all levels of government, throughout the EU.

Europe’s 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of its economy and society, accounting for 98% of businesses and two thirds of the total private employment.

The European Union at the G8 summit in Deauville –shaping and supporting a changing world

Jeudi 26 mai 2011

The European Union, as a full member of the G8, will push for ambitious answers to common challenges at the G8 summit in Deauville from 26-27 May. It is for the first time that G8 leaders meet since the beginning of the transitions in the Arab world and the disaster that has struck Japan earlier this year. They will discuss how the G8 can support the democratic aspirations in the European neighbourhood and draw the lessons from the nuclear incident in Japan. The European Union is represented at the G8 and G20 summits by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, France holds the G8 and G20 presidency in 2011.

President Van Rompuy said: “This G8 Summit will address the most relevant and urgent issues of the day: in particular the state of the global economy and the developments in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The G8, as a group, has the critical mass to lead the way on major global issues.

Growth is picking up in most of the world, as it is in the European Union. During today’s economic discussion, I will update the other Leaders on the situation in the Eurozone. My main message will be that we face the challenge of the public debt crisis resolutely and that our economic fundamentals remain solid. We will emerge stronger and more united.”

President Barroso said: “The European Union will come to Deauville to push for a new partnership of the G8 with those neighbours in the Southern Mediterranean that have chosen the path of freedom and democracy. Europe has shown the way with its new Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity and a revamped European Neighbourhood policy that is underpinned by 7 billion euros in financial support, 1,24 billion of which is fresh money. On nuclear safety, the EU will seek to commit its partners to highest safety standards, ambitious stress-testing of nuclear power plants and enhanced international cooperation.”

The main topics to be discussed by G8 leaders in Deauville are: the developments in the Middle East and North Africa, nuclear safety, the Internet, the world economy, including trade, green growth and innovation, peace and security issues, development accountability and the G8 Partnership with Africa.

The Summit will start on Thursday, 26 May, at 12.45 with the official welcome of Leaders. Different working sessions of G8 leaders and outreach sessions with partners from Africa and the Arab world are scheduled. Leading business representatives will participate in parts of the discussion on the Internet. A bilateral meeting of President Barroso and President Van Rompuy with the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt is scheduled, too. The summit will end in the early afternoon of the second day.

The G8 members are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

EU budget 2014-2020: freezing is not an option, new income sources needed

Jeudi 26 mai 2011

Freezing the EU’s long-term budget after 2013 is not a viable option if it is to achieve its policy aims, said the Policy Challenges Committee on Wednesday, voting its stance on the EU’s long-term budget for 2014-2020. The budget structure must clearly reflect the EU 2020 sustainable growth strategy, say MEPs, who also advocate new income sources for the budget, and call for an end to all rebates, exceptions, and corrective mechanisms.

Freezing future budgets at the 2013 level - as demanded by some Member States - “is not a viable option”, said the committee. MEPs call for an increase of at least 5% over the 2013 level for the next long-term budget, known as the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). They note that even such an increase would make only a small contribution towards achieving the aims to which Member States and Parliament are already committed.

If Member States disagree, then committee members challenge them to say which policy priorities should be dropped. MEPs fear that budget restrictions could jeopardise the already-agreed boost for research and innovation (from today’s 1.9% of GDP to 3%), as well as investments in infrastructure, foreign policy priorities and enlargement. Funding for the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and the Millennium Development Goals could also be endangered, MEPs warn.

The committee wants regional policy and agriculture funding to remain at current levels, but increases in investment in energy infrastructure. It also acknowledges that further savings could possibly be made on EU administration.

New resources, no more rebates

MEPs criticise the current funding system, which relies almost entirely on national contributions and has become extremely complex. They contrast the EU Treaty stipulation that “the EU-budget shall be financed wholly from own resources” with the current funding method, which “places disproportionate emphasis on net balances between Member States, thus contradicting the principle of EU solidarity, diluting the European common interest and largely ignoring European added value”.

A system of real own resources would be “fairer, more transparent, simpler and equitable”, say MEPs, whilst at the same time stressing that budget reform need not affect the size of the budget and would not increase the overall tax burden on citizens. The committee also calls for an end to the “rebates, exceptions and correction mechanisms” that have accumulated within the current system. The Commission is to present a proposal on own resources on 29 June, the same day as it presents its draft for the future MFF.

Structure and duration of the MFF

The committee voted that the budget structure should be brought into line with the EU 2020 sustainable growth strategy, by giving the future MFF the following headings:

1. Europe 2020, including subheadings

*1a - Knowledge for growth

*1b - Cohesion for growth and employment

*1c - Management of natural resources and sustainable development (including agriculture)

*1d - Citizenship, freedom, security and justice

2. Global Europe

3. Administration

MEPs want to ring-fence a special place in the budget for large strategic investment projects such as Galileo (satellites) and ITER (nuclear fusion).

On the duration of the MFF, MEPs suggest one more 7-year cycle as a transitional solution. This should then be followed by 5-year-cycles or 5+5-year cycles, starting in 2021, so as to bring the MFF’s duration into line with the European Parliament’s 5-year mandates. If budget cycles are to exceed 5 years, then the EU should have a mandatory mid-term review, with a fixed date.

Flexibility

One problem with the current MFF is the lack of flexibility it allows within annual budgets. If something new or unexpected comes up, it is hard to adapt the budget to accommodate it. MEPs would therefore like to see a “global MFF margin” to be created, which can be drawn upon in the context of the annual budgetary procedure. They also advocate creating an additional “reserve margin” to accommodate risks relating to loan guarantees from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and the Facility for non-euro area EU Member States.

Clear signal

Rapporteur Salvador Garriga Polledo (EPP, ES) and committee chair Jutta Haug (S&D, DE) welcomed the committee vote outcome (39 in favour, 5 against and 4 abstentions) as a realistic proposal, clearly setting out the committee’s wishes to the Commission with a view to the income and spending proposals that it is to table on 29 June.

Clampdown on derivatives trading

Mercredi 25 mai 2011

New EU legislation designed to regulate the trade in derivatives - widely believed to have contributed to the global financial crisis - moved a step closer on Tuesday with a vote by Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee.

The draft regulation - on over-the-counter derivatives (OTCs), central clearing parties (CCPs) and trade repositories - aims to bring greater safety, transparency and stability to the OTC derivatives market, which was valued at around €425 trillion in 2009. Information on OTC derivative contracts would have to be reported to ‘trade repositories’ and be accessible to supervisory authorities. OTC derivative contracts would need to be cleared through central counterparties (CCPs), thus reducing counterparty credit risk, i.e. the risk that one party to the contract defaults. A key supervisory role is envisaged for the new European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

The Commission’s draft was approved with amendments by the Economic Affairs Committee and will now go to the full Parliament for a vote in July. The result of today’s committee vote was 36 in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions.

Supervision

The committee envisages a central role for ESMA. The new European supervisor will work closely with national supervisory authorities, have an important stake in authorising new CCPs to the market and should be allowed to carry out on-site inspections.

Narrow scope, few exemptions

MEPs rejected suggestions by some EU Member States that all derivatives should be governed by this regulation. Instead they want the rules to apply only to OTC derivatives, as the Commission proposes and was agreed by the G20 group. However, to ensure ESMA has the full picture, they want reporting obligations to apply to all derivatives.

The committee’s report, drafted by Werner Langen (EPP, DE), is strict regarding exemptions to the clearing obligation. However, for pension funds there will be a special regime, provided that the national capital requirements provide a guarantee similar to cleared contracts.

Interoperability option

Co-operation arrangements between clearing houses, known as “interoperability”, whereby traders would be allowed to choose where their trades are cleared, are limited to cash securities. A CCP has to have functioned in line with the standards for at least three years before it can apply for authorisation for interoperability.

Considering retroactivity

The Economic Affairs Committee accepts that applying clearing obligations retroactively, to existing contracts, would result in legal difficulties and create major problems for counterparties. Therefore, clearing will only be mandatory from the moment the regulation enters into force. It does, however, provide for this possibility with regard to reporting obligations and asks ESMA to assess how reporting retroactivity could be introduced if the information in question were essential to the supervisory authorities.