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Due to the closure of the Commission and other European institutions over the summer period, the next Brussels Brief will be sent on Friday 12 September 2008.
Trade: Collapse of Doha Round of WTO Talks
The so-called “Doha Round” of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks, now in its seventh year, has ended without agreement due to deep divisions, particularly between the United States, India and China, over access to agricultural markets and aid to farmers in developing countries. The Doha Round of trade negotiations was launched in 2001 mainly to liberalise global trade in agriculture, industrial goods and services among WTO members. Despite the collapse in negotiations, WTO Secretary General Pascal Lamy indicated that trade negotiations would be revived, but it is unclear when this will occur. Moreover, it is unlikely that substantive progress will be made until after the US presidential election in November 2008.
Free Movement: Court Expands Rights of Migrant Workers’ Families
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has expanded the rights of non-Community family members of an EU migrant worker to reside in an EU Member State. In 2003, the ECJ had ruled that, under the Directive on Free Movement of Union Citizens, an EU migrant worker only had the right to bring his or her non-Community family members into the territory of an EU Member State if they were already lawful residents in another Member State. The ECJ has now “reconsidered” this ruling and decided that, where the EU migrant worker has exercised his right to free movement, the family automatically enjoys the same rights of residence regardless of prior residence of those family members and notwithstanding whether the marriage took place before or after the right to free movement was exercised by the EU citizen. The ECJ did, however, clarify that Member States, upon examination of each case, may still refuse entry and residence on grounds of public policy, public security, public health or fraud, such as marriages of convenience.
Air Transport: Commission Updates List of Banned Airlines
The European Commission has adopted an update of the blacklist of airlines that are restricted from flying into EU countries due to safety concerns. The list removes the ban on the Iranian company, Mahan Airlines. The Commission currently imposes a complete ban on air carriers from seven countries (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Swaziland). This is the eighth update of the Commission’s blacklist.
Competition: Commission Consults on Regulation (EC) No 1/2003
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the functioning of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 that sets out the rules for the Commission's enforcement of the Community’s antitrust rules. This Regulation formed the basis of the Commission’s 2004 overhaul of antitrust procedures and was designed to ensure widespread enforcement of the same set of rules to prosecute cartels and other anti-competitive practices throughout Europe. The purpose of the consultation is to assess the implementation of Regulation 1/2003 in practice. It will be followed by a report to the European Parliament and the Council. Interested parties are invited to submit comments by 30 September 2008.
Trade: EU/South Africa Summit
The very first summit meeting between the European Union and South Africa saw EU Council President Nicolas Sarkozy, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Development Commissioner Louis Michel meet South African President Thabo Mbeki to discuss current political, security and social issues such as migration, climate change, peace and security. The summit shows that relations between the European Union and South Africa are moving on from discussions on trade and development aid towards working together on a wide range of issues. The summit included discussions on various crisis situations in Africa and the world, including Zimbabwe, Sudan and the Middle East.
Agriculture: Promotional Campaign on Organic Farming Launched
With the campaign slogan: “Organic farming. Good for nature, good for you”, the European Commission has launched a promotional campaign to inform consumers about the meaning and benefits of organic farming and food production. In recent years, European organic retail markets have experienced growth rates of between 5 and 30 per cent in different Member States. The centrepiece of the EC campaign is its new multilingual website for organic farming: www.organic-farming.europa.eu. It provides free marketing materials in 22 languages to professionals in this sector in order to promote organic production and farming.
NEXT WEEK’S EVENTS
Monday 4 August – Friday 8 August 2008
No Council meetings scheduled for next week.
COURT OF JUSTICE
Judicial vacation of the Court of Justice from 14 July 2008 to 31 August 2008 inclusive.
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
Judicial vacation of the Court of First Instance from 14 July 2008 to 31 August 2008 inclusive.