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Trade: EU – China Trade Dialogue Enhanced
The European Commission and the Chinese Government have launched the new High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue Mechanism. This initiative addresses the imbalance in trade flows between the European Union and China, and is complementary to other EU – China dialogues. Eight EU Commissioners and ten Chinese ministers discussed trade and investment cooperation, balanced economic development, innovation and technology transfer and international economic development. The discussions also covered energy issues, trade in high-tech, intellectual property rights protection, and trade facilitation. In the future, the Trade Dialogue Mechanism will focus on other issues such as market access, transport, regulatory issues and standards.
Environment: ECJ Bans Spring Hunting in Malta
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Maltese authorities should not adopt legislation permitting the hunting of birds during spring 2008. The ruling follows a request for interim measures from the European Commission against Malta for failure to comply with the EU legislation which protects wild birds. The Wild Birds Directive regulates hunting in the European Union and allows certain species to be hunted provided this does not happen during closed periods for breeding and migration. This is the third time that the Commission has successfully asked the ECJ for interim measures where it considers that irrevocable and significant damage will occur to the environment if no action is taken – the other cases involved spring hunting in Italy and a road building project in the Polish Ropsuda Valley.
Enlargement: EU Signs Pre-Membership Agreement with Serbia
Contact Philip Bentley
The European Union signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia on 29 April 2008. The SAA is regarded as an important step on Serbia's path towards membership of the European Union. The SAA will enable Serbian producers to export more freely to the European Union and entitle Serbian citizens to certain rights under EU employment law. However, the SAA requires Serbia to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and to do its utmost to arrest and transfer indictees. This cooperation will be monitored by the European Commission and EU Council and will be an important part in any future discussions on EU membership. The SAA will now be ratified by the EU Member States and Serbia in accordance with their national procedures.
Internal Market: Wine Reform Adopted
The EU Council has adopted a wide-ranging reform of the Common Market Organisation for wine, agreed in principle last December. The reform will phase out market intervention measures and allow the budget to be used to boost the competitiveness of European wines instead. Subsidies for distillation will be phased out and the money will be used to promote European wine in third countries, as well as on innovation, restructuring and modernisation of vineyards and cellars. The restrictive planting rights system will be abolished from 2016. The reform will also ensure environmental protection in wine growing regions, safeguard traditional quality policies and simplify labelling rules. Detailed implementing regulations are underway to allow the reforms to enter into force on 1 August 2008.
Mergers: Commission Clears Acquisition of BEA by Oracle
The European Commission has cleared the acquisition of the US company BEA by Oracle Corporation. BEA is an independent provider of middleware software, whereas Oracle has a much wider portfolio of products, including middleware, database and enterprise applications software. Middleware is a type of software that acts as a mediator between and among operating systems, database software and enterprise application software. The Commission’s investigation showed that the horizontal overlaps between the two companies would not create any concerns, especially since the parties are not close competitors, and there are other important competitors in the market. Also, the Commission found that the characteristics of the market for middleware software are such that a collective dominance scenario is not possible.
Air Transport: EU Strengthens Aviation Relations with Australia
On 29 April 2008 the European Union and Australia signed an aviation agreement allowing any EU airline to operate flights between any EU Member State in which it is established and Australia. It acknowledges the existence of the European single market for air transport in relations between the European Union and Australia. The agreement does not replace existing bilateral air service agreements between EU Member States and Australia, but brings them into line with EU law by removing the nationality restrictions. It is considered an important first step in aviation relations between the European Union and Australia and will pave the way for a comprehensive aviation agreement involving cooperation in key areas such as competition, safety and environmental protection.
REACH: European Chemicals Bureau Hands Over to New European Chemicals Agency
As of 1 June 2008 the work of the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) will be transferred to the new European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. The ECB has carried out the scientific and technical work needed to implement EU legislation related to chemicals since 1993. The following responsibilities will be handed over to the ECHA: (i) the classification and labelling of dangerous substances, (ii) testing methods, (iii) notification of new substances and their risk assessment, (iv) data collection and risk assessment of existing substances, (v) export and/or import control of dangerous chemicals, (vi) technical implementation of the Biocidal Products Directive, and (vii) development of guidance documents and tools in support of the new Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.
NEXT WEEK’S EVENTS
Monday 5 May – Friday 9 May 2008
No Council meetings scheduled for next week.
COURT OF JUSTICE
C-5/06 Zuckerfabrik Jülich
Joined Cases C-23/06, C-24/06,C-25/06, C-26/06, C-27/06, C-28/06, C-29/06, C-30/06, C-31/06, C-32/06, C-33/06, C-34/06, C-35/06, C-36/06 Saint Louis Sucre
C-491/06 Danske Svineproducenter
Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
C-14/07 Weiss und Partner
Environment and consumers
C-233/07 Commission v Portugal
Freedom of movement for persons
C-39/07 Commission v Spain
C-304/06 P Eurohypo v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market
Justice and Home Affairs
C-133/06 Parliament v Council
C-49/05 P Ferriere Nord v Commission
Joined Cases C-95/07, C-96/07 Ecotrade
C-392/07 Commission v Belgium
C-455/06 Heemskerk and Schaap
Approximation of laws
C-73/07 Satakunnan Markkinapörssi and Satamedia
C-203/07 P Greece v Commission
C-144/07 P K-Swiss v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market
Joined Cases C-428/06, C-429/06, C-430/06, C-431/06, C-432/06, C-433/06, C-434/06 Unión General de Trabajadores de la Rioja
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
T-246/06 Redcats v OHMI - Revert & Cía (REVERIE)