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Air Transport: EU-US “Green Skies” Partnership
In an initiative that has already been described as the “Green Skies” partnership, the European Union and the United States have agreed to work together on reducing carbon emissions from air transport. The cooperation, formally called AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability initiative to Reduce Emissions), will consist of pooling research funds and improving the compatibility of the parties’ respective air-traffic control systems. Notably, the initiative is designed to accelerate the development and application of new technologies, such as the “smooth” or “reduced engine” methods, which will reduce noise and gas emissions during landing. The partnership is reported to include industry participants such as Airbus, Boeing, Air France-KLM, SAS, Delta and FedEx, as well as providers of aviation navigation services.
Mergers: Commission Initiates Second Phase Investigation into Kronospan/Constantia’s Particle Board Business
The European Commission has opened a second phase investigation into the proposed takeover of Constantia’s particle board business by the Kronospan Group. Both companies are active in the production and supply of wood-based products such as raw and coated particle board, decorative laminates and components commonly used in furniture applications. The Commission’s initial investigation showed that the acquisition might create competition problems in raw particle board sector because the new entity would have a significantly strong position in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. A decision is expected to be adopted by 19 October 2007.
Customs: Travelling With EUR 10,000 in Cash Subject to Declaration
Since 15 June 2007, travellers entering or leaving the European Union are required to make a declaration to customs authorities if they are carrying EUR 10,000 or more in cash (or its equivalent in other currencies or easily convertible assets such as non-crossed cheques). This legislation aims to introduce an EU-wide common approach to controlling cash movements into and out of the EU. Member States are obliged to initiate proceedings against people who fail to declare cash of an amount of EUR 10,000 or more but penalties will depend on national legislation. This new legislation complements the EU Money Laundering Directive which has already introduced the monitoring of transactions made through credit and financial institutions.
Internal Market: MEPs to Propose Delaying Full Liberalisation of EU Postal Services
In July 2007 the European Parliament’s Transport Committee will propose delaying the liberalisation of postal services related to the collection and delivery of mail weighing less than 50 grams. Liberalising such services would lead to the end of national monopolies in this sector. If the Committee’s proposal were adopted, the new date for full liberalisation would become 31 December 2010. The new Member States and those with specific topographies, such as Greece, would have until the end of 2012 to liberalise. However, to prevent the distortion of competition, national monopolies from the non-liberalised Member States would not be able to enter liberalised markets.
Financial Services: Commission Appoints Real Estate Fund Experts
The European Commission has appointed the members of an expert group that will assess the EU market for retail-orientated real estate funds providing investors with access to professionally managed investments in real estate. The group will produce a report on its findings, which will be discussed with regulatory bodies in order to test the implications of any recommendations from a broader public interest perspective. The group’s mission is to describe to the Commission the EU market for real estate funds, to examine the risk and performance characteristics of real estate funds from a retail investor perspective, to analyse the costs and benefits of providing cross border funds and to evaluate the national regulatory approaches to real estate funds. The report will provide valuable input for the Commission’s forthcoming paper on non-harmonised investment funds, due in summer 2008.
Taxation: France to Appeal Commission Order Regarding Distribution of Tax-Free Savings Accounts
The French Government has announced that it will challenge the 10 May 2007 European Commission Decision requiring the cessation of exclusive distribution of French tax-free savings products 'Livret A' and 'Livret bleu'. These tax-free savings accounts are distributed exclusively by three banking networks, which, in return for an intermediary’s fee, transfer the sums collected to the Government to finance social housing. According to the Commission, the special distribution rights of 'Livret A' and 'Livret bleu' accounts infringe EU law on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services and are not indispensable to serving the general economic interest. The Commission Decision requires that all banks are able to offer the tax-free savings accounts.
Trade: Negotiations for an EU/Andean Community Association
The European Union has started negotiations with the Andean Community on an association agreement. The Andean Community is composed of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. The agreement will be negotiated region to region. This approach has been chosen to encourage further integration and strengthen political stability and economic development within the Andean Community. The aim of the association agreement will be to intensify cooperation in a larger number of activities and to facilitate interregional trade and investments. This process is complementary to the EU’s financial aid to the region which will amount to EUR 713 million for the period 2007 – 2013.
External Relations: Energy Dialogue With Russia
The European Parliament has called for a stronger energy dimension to safeguard Europe’s energy supplies in the future partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) currently under negotiation with Russia. The Parliament’s report notes increasing concern over the “nationalistic and monopolistic trends” in the management of Russian energy resources and the insufficient degree of access to foreign companies operating in Russia’s natural resource sectors. In addition, the report states that Russia should ratify the European Energy Charter. The Parliament reiterates the EU’s support for Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) but stresses that this must not lead to higher levels of import duties and stronger protectionism.
NEXT WEEK’S EVENTS
Monday 25 June – Friday 29 June 2007
Competitiveness Council (25 – 26 June 2007)
Environment Council (28 – 29 June 2007)
COURT OF JUSTICE
C-1/06 Bonn Fleisch
Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
Environment and consumers
C-235/04 Commission v Spain
C-331/05 P Internationaler Hilfsfonds v Commission
C-410/06 Commission v Portugal
C-369/04 Hutchison 3G and Others
C-305/05 Ordre des barreaux francophones and germanophone and Others
C-284/04 T-Mobile Austria and Others
C-466/03 Albert Reiss Beteiligungsgesellschaft
C-363/05 JP Morgan Fleming Claverhouse Investment Trust and The Association of Investment Trust Companies
C-73/06 Planzer Luxembourg
C-132/05 Commission v Germany
Citizenship of the Union
C-152/05 Commission v Germany
Freedom of establishment
C-456/05 Commission v Germany
C-262/06 Deutsche Telekom
Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
C-440/05 Commission v Council
Social security for migrant workers
Joined Cases C-396/05, C-419/05, C-450/05 Habelt
C-212/06 Gouvernement de la Communauté française and Gouvernement wallon
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
Environment and consumers
T-182/06 Netherlands v Commission
T-65/04 Nuova Gela Sviluppo v Commission