Tag Archives: Competition law

Competition in transport by rail, road and inland waterway

Competition in transport by rail, road and inland waterway

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Competition in transport by rail, road and inland waterway

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Competition in transport by rail, road and inland waterway

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 169/2009 of 26 February 2009 applying rules of competition to transport by rail, road and inland waterway.

Summary

This regulation repeals Regulation (EEC) No 1017/68 with the exception of Article 13(3) of that regulation, which continues to apply to decisions adopted under Article 5 of Regulation (EEC) No 1017/68 before 1 May 2004 until the date of expiration of those decisions.

As provided for by Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC)), anticompetitive agreements and concerted practices, as well abuses of dominance are prohibited. This regulation applies to agreements, decisions and concerted practices which have as their object or effect:

  • the fixing of transport rates and conditions;
  • the limitation or control of the supply of transport;
  • the sharing of transport markets;
  • the application of technical improvements or technical cooperation;
  • the joint financing or acquisition of transport equipment or supplies where such operations are directly related to the provision of transport services and are necessary for the joint operation of services by a grouping of road or inland waterway transport firms.

Exception for technical agreements

The prohibition provided for in Article 101(1) TFEU does not apply to agreements, decisions or concerted practices which have the object and effect of applying technical improvements or achieving technical cooperation by means of:

  • the standardisation of equipment, transport supplies, vehicles or fixed installations;
  • the exchange or pooling, for the purpose of operating transport services, of staff, equipment, vehicles or fixed installations;
  • the organisation and execution of successive, complementary, substitute or combined transport operations, and the fixing and application of inclusive rates and conditions for such operations, including special competitive rates;
  • the use, for journeys by a single mode of transport, of the routes which are most rational from the operational point of view;
  • the coordination of transport timetables for connecting routes;
  • the grouping of single consignments;
  • the establishment of uniform rules as to the structure of tariffs and their conditions of application, provided such rules do not lay down transport rates and conditions.

Exemption for groups of small and medium-sized undertakings

This regulation also provides an exemption for groups of small and medium-sized undertakings, where the individual capacity of each firm belonging to a grouping may not exceed 1 000 tonnes for road transport or 50 000 tonnes for inland waterway transport (the total carrying capacity of any grouping must not exceed 10 000 tonnes for road transport and 500 000 tonnes for inland waterway transport). However, if the implementation of agreements, decisions or concerted practices has effects which are incompatible with the requirements of Article 101(3) TFEU, undertakings may be required to make such effects cease.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 169/2009

25.3.2009

O J L 61 of 5.3.2009

Application of certain EU competition rules to agricultural products

Application of certain EU competition rules to agricultural products

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Application of certain EU competition rules to agricultural products

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > General framework

Application of certain EU competition rules to agricultural products

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1184/2006 of 24 July 2006 applying certain rules of competition to the production of and trade in certain agricultural products [See amending acts].

Summary

This regulation states that, except for certain exceptions detailed below, Articles 101 to 106 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Articles 81 to 86 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC)) apply to all agreements, decisions and practices referred to in Articles 101(1) and 102 TFEU (ex-Article 81(1) and 82 TEC) relating to the production of, or trade in, agricultural products.

There are three exceptions. These general rules do not apply to:

  • agreements, decisions and practices that form an integral part of a national market organisation;
  • agreements, decisions and practices that are necessary in order to attain the objectives of the common agricultural policy (CAP);
  • certain agreements, decisions and practices of farmers or farmers’ associations belonging to a single European Union (EU) country, provided such agreements do not introduce an obligation to charge identical prices, exclude competition or jeopardise the objectives of the CAP.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1184/2006

24.8.2006

OJ L 214, 24.6.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007

23.11.2007

OJ L 299, 16.11.2007

Regulation (EC) No 361/2008

14.5.2008

OJ L 121, 7.5.2008

Regulation (EC) No 491/2009

24.6.2009

OJ L 154, 17.6.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1184/2006 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

A new framework for electronic communications services

A new framework for electronic communications services

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A new framework for electronic communications services

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

A new framework for electronic communications services

To review European Union regulation in the telecommunications sector and propose the main elements of a new framework for communications infrastructure and associated services.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 November 1999. Towards a new framework for Electronic Communications infrastructure and associated services – The 1999 Communications Review [COM(1999) 539 final, 10.11.1999 – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

The liberalisation of Europe’s telecommunications market reached its peak on 1 January 1998 with the complete liberalisation of all telecommunications networks and services in virtually all Member States. The developments in technology, innovation in the services being offered, price reductions and improvements in quality brought about by the introduction of competition provided the basis for Europe’s transition to the Information Society. The convergence of the telecommunications, broadcasting and IT sectors is reshaping the communications market; in particular the convergence of fixed, mobile, terrestrial and satellite communications, and communication and positioning/location systems. From the point of view of communications infrastructure and related services, convergence makes the traditional separation of regulatory functions between these sectors increasingly inappropriate and calls for a coherent regulatory regime.

In this context, this Communication presents a review of the current regulatory framework for communications and responds to the need for a more horizontal approach to regulation of communications infrastructure revealed in the course of the consultation on convergence. It also takes account of the key ideas in, for example, the consultation on the Radio Spectrum Green Paper, the report on the development of the market for digital television in the European Union and the fifth report on the implementation of the telecommunications regulatory package.

Five principles will underpin the new regulatory framework and govern regulatory action at Community and national level. They are that the future regulation should:

  • be based on clearly defined policy objectives,
  • be the minimum necessary to meet those objectives (for example by introducing mechanisms to reduce regulation further where policy objectives are achieved by competition),
  • further enhance legal certainty in a dynamic market,
  • aim to be technologically neutral (not to impose, nor discriminate in favour of the use of a particular type of technology, but ensure that the same service is regulated in an equivalent manner, irrespective of the means by which it is delivered),
  • be enforced as closely as possible to the activities being regulated (whether regulation has been agreed globally, regionally or nationally).

Taking into account the five principles, the Commission sees the new regulatory framework structured along the following lines:

  • Community sector-specific legislation. This will consist of a Framework Directive identifying general and specific policy objectives, and four specific directives on licensing, access and interconnection, universal service, privacy and data protection. (This represents a substantial simplification of the current framework, reducing the number of legal measures from twenty to six).
  • Non-binding accompanying measures.
  • Competition rules: greater reliance on the general competition rules of the Treaty, allowing much of the sectoral regulation to be replaced as competition becomes effective.

In parallel, the Directives based on Article 86 of the Treaty will be simplified and codified into one legal measure.

Starting from these general principles, this Communication sets out the Commission’s provisional positions on each area of its regulatory policy, and seeks the views of all interested parties on its proposals by 15 February 2000. In the light of the comments received, the Commission will produce proposals to amend the current framework in the first half of 2000.

With regard to binding, sector-specific legislation, the future regulatory framework provides for the elaboration of a new Framework Directive which will, inter alia:

  • identify specific policy objectives for Member States,
  • guarantee specific consumer rights (for example dispute resolution procedures, emergency call numbers, increased transparency and access to information, etc.),
  • ensure an appropriate level of interoperability for communications services and equipment,
  • set out the rights, responsibilities, decision making powers and procedures of NRAs (National Regulatory Authorities),
  • establish and lay down rules for the new Communications Committee and High Level Communications Group.

The Framework Directive will be accompanied by four specific directives based on Article 95 of the Treaty:

  • Directive on authorisations and licensing (including rules for the effective management of, and access to, scarce resources),
  • Directive on the provision of universal service, incorporating elements of the current Voice Telephony Directive and Interconnection Directive,
  • Directive on access and interconnection (based on the current Interconnection Directive and the TV Standards Directive),
  • Directive on data processing and protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (directive updated and clarified to take account of technological developments.

Competition Law will become increasingly important in this sector and replace much of the sectoral regulation once competition becomes established on the market.

This Communication also proposes substantial amendments to existing legislation designed to deal with problems relevant to the new regulatory framework.
These changes concern the following aspects:

Licences and authorisations

The Commission stresses the need to reduce administrative barriers to market entry with a view to promoting a competitive European market for telecommunications services. In particular, it proposes:

  • using general authorisations as the basis for licensing communication networks and services, with specific authorisations reserved for the assignment of radio spectrum and numbers,
  • applying a complete and coherent policy framework to communications infrastructure, including broadcasting networks,
  • ensuring that the fees for authorisations cover only justifiable and relevant administrative costs,
  • continuing to authorise the communications services provided via the Internet in an equivalent manner to other communications services (i.e. no specific regulation for the Internet).

Access and interconnection

In Community legislation, “access” is a generic concept covering all forms of access to publicly available networks and services, whereas “interconnection” refers to the physical and logical linking of networks. Rules for access and interconnection ensure interoperability and are essential to allow competition to become established. The Commission recognises the fundamental importance of the provision of access and interconnection services, and therefore proposes:

  • maintaining specific Community measures which cover both access and interconnection, building on the principles set out in the Interconnection Directive and the TV Standards Directive,
  • in the case of access to network infrastructure, placing responsibility on National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to deal with specific access issues; requiring infrastructure owners with significant market power to negotiate on commercial terms in respect of requests for access; maintaining the possibility of NRA intervention to resolve disputes,
  • in the case of interconnection, maintaining the requirement for cost-orientated interconnection in directives (hard law) but interpreting this concept through Commission recommendations,
  • drawing up Recommendations on access, where appropriate, in particular a Recommendation to Member States on the technical and economic aspects of local loop unbundling (local loops are the links connecting customers’ premises to a telecommunications network). The Commission takes the view that the availability of unbundled access to local loops would strengthen competition and could also speed up the introduction of Internet access services. In this context, it adopted a Recommendation on the interconnection of leased lines on 24 November which, inter alia, encourages Member States to take measures (such as unbundling the local loop and licensing wireless local loops) to increase competition for access to the local network,
  • extending the current standardisation framework for telecoms to cover all communications infrastructure and associated services,
  • making carrier selection (a form of network access mandatory for fixed networks under the current regulatory framework for interconnection) available to mobile users by placing obligations on mobile operators with significant market power.

Management of radio spectrum

Given the considerable demand for the use of the radio spectrum in a number of sectors such as telecommunications, but also transport, public safety, broadcasting and R&D, the current methods of allocating frequencies and licences are proving inefficient. In the light of the importance of the radio spectrum for the development of communications services, and its limited availability, the Commission takes the view that

  • administrative pricing and auctioning of radio spectrum can be a means of ensuring an efficient use of the spectrum,
  • the provisions of the current Licensing Directive should be amended to permit Member States to make provision for radio spectrum secondary trading to encourage the efficient use of radio spectrum.

Universal service

The current regulatory framework requires NRAs to place obligations on network operators to ensure that a defined minimum set of services of a specified quality are available to all, independent of their geographical location, at an affordable price. Universal service, as currently defined in Community legislation, includes the provision of voice telephony, fax and voice band data transmission via modems (i.e. access to the Internet).

The Commission recognises the importance of universal service and proposes:

  • maintaining the current definition and scope of universal service at this stage (but proposes to define criteria for its possible extension, as well as mechanisms for periodic review),
  • developing pricing principles at EU level to ensure the affordability of universal service.

The interests of users and consumers

The current regulatory framework contains a number of provisions which aim to protect the interests of users and consumers in general. There are also a number of horizontal consumer protection directives at European level which apply to all sectors, including telecommunications. In this sector, the Commission proposes:

  • updating and clarifying the Telecoms Data Protection Directive to take account of technological developments
  • making the extension of the European emergency call number 112 obligatory,
  • maintaining and consolidating existing obligations with regard to complaint handling and dispute settlement procedures,
  • increasing the transparency of information (particularly on tariffs) for consumers,
  • requiring suppliers to publish information on quality of service,
  • repealing the Leased Lines Directive 92/44/EC once there is adequate choice of leased lines for all users and leased line prices are competitive.

Numbering, naming and addressing

Current Community legislation identifies elements of a harmonised approach to numbering, naming and addressing, and stresses the importance of guaranteeing Europe-wide end-to-end interconnection of users and interoperability of services. In this connection, the Commission proposes:

  • not to pursue specific regulatory measures at this stage, with respect to Internet naming and addressing,
  • extending the availability of operator number portability to mobile users, but not to require operator number portability between fixed and mobile networks at this stage.

Specific competition issues

Sector-specific rules, in conjunction with the application of competition rules, facilitate market entry where the incumbent operators continue to have strong positions, and serve to ensure that new entrants can compete effectively. The key issue is therefore to establish the right balance between sector-specific regulation and the competition rules. In particular, it will be appropriate for sector-specific regulation to make more use of competition law concepts like dominant position, under Article 82 of the Treaty, for example in the case of cost-orientation and non-discrimination obligations.

Institutional issues

The regulatory model outlined in this Communication implies increased delegation of decision-making to NRAs with a view to ensuring the implementation of the framework as close as possible to the market in the Member States. The model thus requires a balancing mechanism in the form of greater coordination of the decisions and views of NRAs at European Union level.

In this context, the Commission proposes:

  • replacing the existing two telecommunications committees with a new Communications Committee, drawing on the expertise of a new High Level Communications Group involving the Commission and NRAs to help improve the consistent application of Community legislation and maximise the uniform application of national measures;
  • reviewing existing legal provisions with a view to strengthening the independence of NRAs, ensuring an effective division of responsibilities between the different institutions at national level, improving cooperation between sector-specific and general competition authorities, requiring transparent decision-making procedures at national level.

4) Implementing Measures

Communication – COM(2000) 239 final
Commission communication on the results of the public consultation on the 1999 communications review and orientations for the new regulatory framework

The consultation highlighted broad agreement in respect of some policy proposals and differing views in respect of others. A large majority of interested parties are in favour of the following proposals:

  • maintaining sector specific regulation in parallel with competition policy and abolishing it once objectives have been met;
  • guiding NRAs;
  • decision-making at national level by implementing the regulatory objectives proposed in the communication;
  • covering all communications infrastructure and associated services;
  • achieving greater harmonisation of regulation in the Member States;
  • extending the use of general authorisations for the provision of communications services and networks;
  • ensuring more efficient management of radio spectrum and establishing a group of experts on radio spectrum policy;
  • maintaining the currect scope of universal service;
  • ensuring the availability of local loop unbundling in all Member States;
  • maintaining the current framework for standardisation;
  • updating the current Telecoms Data Protection Directive;
  • withdrawing the Leased Lines Directive once there is adequate competitive supply of leased lines for all consumers;
  • setting out rules for defining markets dynamically when considering obligations for access and interconnection;
  • providing for strong and independent NRAs.

Areas where there were differing views are as follows:

  • funding of NRAs via licence fees;
  • method of selling spectrum and the possibility of allowing secondary trading of spectrum;
  • the proposal to introduce two thresholds for asymmetric obligations in respect of access and interconnection (significant market power (SMP) and dominance);
  • guidelines for affordability of universal service;
  • number portability for mobile users;
  • institutional arrangements (difference of opinion concerning the role of the communications committee and the high-level communications group);
  • areas where specific authorisations are required;
  • user facilities (such as caller location for emergency calls, per call tariff transparency) and quality of service (NRA intervention on quality of service issues).

On the basis of all these considerations, the Commission will propose five Directives in June 2000, comprising a framework Directive and four other specific Directives covering licensing and authorisations, access and interconnection, universal service consumers’ and users’ rights and telecoms data protection. The main principles that the Commission will take into account are as follows:

  • the guidelines already set out in the communication on the review of the regulatory framework;
  • a broad scope taking account of infrastructure and associated services;
  • a system for granting general authorisations;
  • modification of the notion of significant market power;
  • clear definition of the markets where ex ante regulation is required;
  • protection of consumers’ and users’ rights;
  • number portability;
  • revision of the Directive on personal data;
  • access to caller location information for calls to emergency services.

5) Follow-Up Work

Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) [Official Journal L 201 of 31 July 2002]

Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002]

Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002]

Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002]

Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002]

Decision 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002]

 

The Establishment of an Internal Postal Market

The Establishment of an Internal Postal Market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Establishment of an Internal Postal Market

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

The Establishment of an Internal Postal Market

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2008/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 Februray 2008 amending Directive 97/67/EC with regard to the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services [See amending acts].

Summary

Background

The Community framework for EU postal services is set out in Directive 97/67/EC, as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC and by Directive 2008/6/EC, which provide the final step in the EU postal reform, which was initiated in 1992 by a green paper. Directive 97/67/EC initiated the liberalisation process which was deepened with Directive 2002/39/EC and further gradual market opening.

This directive established a timetable for progressive liberalisation in two stages: 1 January 2003 for letters weighing less than 100 g (or for which the postage cost is over three times that of a standard letter), and 1 January 2006 for letters weighing less than 50 g (or for which the postage cost is over two and a half times that of a standard letter).

Directive 2008/6/EC sets a deadline for the full market opening by 31 December 2010 for the majority of Member States (95 % of the EU postal market in terms of volume) and by 31 December 2012 for the remaining Member States.

Universal service obligation

Member States must ensure that users enjoy the right to a universal service involving the permanent provision of a postal service of specified quality at all points in their territory at affordable prices for all users.
To this end, Member States must ensure that the density of the points of contact and of the access points takes account of the needs of users, and that the universal service is guaranteed at least five working days a week, at least one clearance and one delivery to home or business premises. (Article 3).

Each Member State must guarantee the provision of the universal service and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligation. Member States may designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers to cover the entire national territory, subject to a periodic review (Article 4). . Each Member State shall determine and publish the rights and obligations assigned to the universal service provider(s) in accordance with Community law and shall disclose the identity of the universal service provider(s) to the European Commission.

Each Member State must ensure that universal service provision meets the following requirements (Article 5):

  • it shall offer a service guaranteeing compliance with the essential requirement;
  • it shall offer an identical service to users under comparable condition;
  • it shall be made available without any form of discrimination whatsoever, especially without discrimination arising from political, religious or ideological consideration;
  • it shall not be interrupted or stopped except in cases of force majeur;
  • it shall evolve in response to the technical, economic and social developments and to the needs of users.

Each Member State must ensure that users and postal service providers are regularly given sufficiently detailed and up-to-date information by the universal service provider(s) regarding the particular features of the universal services offered (Article 6).

Safeguarding the provision of universal postal service

Directive 2008/6/EC provides the last legislative step in the gradual market opening by making it compulsory for Member States not to grant or maintain in force any exclusive or special rights for the establishment and provision of postal services.

If universal provider(s) claim and prove that the provision of universal postal service entails an unfair financial burden, Directive 2008/6/EC envisages compensation from Member States such as public procurement procedures, public funding or a shared mechanism between providers of services and/or users or any other means compatible with the Treaty.

Any claimed unfair financial burden needs to be assessed and approved by the independent national regulatory authority (Article 7).

Provision of postal services and licensing regimes

For postal services which are within the scope of the universal service, Member States may introduce authorisation procedures, including individual licences, in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements and to ensure the provision of the universal service.

For postal services which are outside the scope of the universal service, Member States may introduce general authorisations to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements.

All licensing procedures, obligations and requirements relating to postal services providers shall be transparent, accessible, non-discriminatory, proportionate, precise and unambiguous, made public in advance and based on objective criteria (Article 9).

Fees and transparency of accounts

Member States ensure that the fees for each of the services forming part of the provision of the universal service comply with the following principles:

  • prices shall be affordable and must be such that all users, independent of geographical location, and, in the light of specific national conditions, have access to the service;
  • prices shall be cost-oriented and give incentives for an efficient universal service provision;
  • the application of a uniform fee shall not exclude the right of the universal service provider(s) to conclude individual price agreements with user;
  • fees shall be transparent and non-discriminator;
  • whenever universal service providers apply special fees, they shall apply the prinicples of transparency and non-discrimination with regard to both the fees and the associated conditions (Article 12).

In order to ensure the cross-border provision of the universal service, Member States must encourage their universal service providers to observe the following principles in their agreements on terminal dues for intra-Community cross-border mail:

  • terminal dues must be fixed in relation to the costs of processing and delivering incoming cross-border mail;
  • levels of remuneration must be related to the quality of service;
  • terminal dues must be transparent and non-discriminatory (Article 13).

The universal service provider(s) shall keep separate accounts within their internal accounting systems in order to clearly distinguish between each of the services and products which are part of the universal service and those which are not. Such internal accounting systems shall operate on the basis of consistently applied and objectively justifiable cost accounting principles.

National regulatory authorities shall ensure that the cost-accounting system used is verified by a competent, independent body (Article 14).

Quality of service

Member States shall ensure that service standards in relation to universal service are set and published in order to guarantee a postal service of good quality.


In particular, quality standards shall focus, on routing times and on the regularity and reliability of services (Article 16).

Quality standards for intra-Community cross-border services (laid down in the Annex II to the directive) must be as follows: D + 3 for 85 % of postal items of the fastest standard category, and D + 5 for 97 % of these items. D represents the date of deposit and n the number of working days between the posting and the delivery.


Member States must lay down quality standards for national mail and must ensure that they are compatible with those laid down for intra-Community cross-border services.
Member States must notify their quality standards for national services to the Commission, which will publish them in the same manner as the standards for intra-Community cross-border services (Articles 17 and 18).

Member States shall ensure that transparent, simple and inexpensive complaint procedures are put in place by all postal service providers.

Member States shall ensure that these procedures enable disputes to be settled fairly and promptly. Member States shall also encourage the development of independent out-of-court schemes for the resolution of disputes between postal service providers and users (Article 19).

The harmonisation of technical standards must be continued, taking into account in particular the interests of users. The European Committee for Standardisation will be entrusted with drawing up technical standards applicable in the postal sector on the basis of remits to it pursuant to Directive 83/189/EEC laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations (Article 20).

The European Commission and national regulatory authorities

The Commission will be assisted by a committee (Article 21).

Each Member State must designate one or more national regulatory authorities for the postal sector that are legally separate from and operationally independent of the postal operators. Member States that retain ownership or control of postal service providers shall ensure effective structural separation of the regulatory functions from activities associated with ownership of control.

Member States must inform the Commission which national regulatory authorities they have designated to carry out the tasks arising from this directive (Article 22).

Provision of information

Member States shall ensure that postal service providers provide all the financial information and information concerning the provision of the universal service necessary for: national regulatory authorities to ensure conformity with the provision of, or decisions made in accordance with this Directive; clearly defined statistical purposes (Article 22a).

Reporting on developments in the internal postal market

Every four years, no later than 31 December 2013, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of this directive.

Implementation date

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this directive by 31 December 2010 at the latest.

By derogation to the abovementioned obligation, the following Member States decided to invoke the right to postpone the implementation of Directive 2008/6/EC until 31 December 2012 at the latest.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 97/67/EC [adoption: codecision COD/1995/0221]

10.2.1998

9.2.1999

OJ L 15 of 21.1.1998

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2002/39/EC

5.7.2002

31.12.2002

OJ L 15 of 5.7.2002

Directive 2008/6/EC

27.2.2008

31.12.2010/31.12.2012

OJ L 52 of 28.2.2008

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 22 December 2008 on the application of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC) [COM(2008) 884 final – not published in the OJ].
The fourth application report provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall transposition of the postal directive in Member States, including the application of key elements and regulatory developments as well as detailed market trends (including economic, technical, social, employment and quality of service aspects). The report describes the main developments since the previous application report adopted in October 2006 and covers the reporting period 2006 – 2008.

The following main regulatory developments can be observed during the reporting period:

  • Germany fully opened its postal market as of 1 January 2008.
  • The Netherlands, where full market opening had been envisaged, has now postponed liberalisation without setting any concrete date for full market opening.
  • As regards the development of competition in the postal sector, there is now a trend towards (mandatory or negotiated) access to the delivery network by competitors.
  • Progress towards reducing legal barriers to entry and levelling the playing field has been mixed. The distortive effect of the VAT postal exemptions on competition has largely remained, even though the Commission proposed a relevant amendment of the 6th VAT directive in 2003. The lack of access to letterboxes by competitor postal operators is still a crucial issue in some Member States. Authorisation and licensing procedures and related conditions are not always conducive to the development of competition.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 18 October 2006 on the application of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC) [COM(2006) 595 final – not published in the OJ].
The third report accompanied the proposal of thethird postal directive and was based on the conclusion that postal services are an important element of the internal market for services, which are included in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy as a source for economic growth and job creation.

The third report concluded that all the intermediate policy results of the postal directive have been achieved in the reporting period (2005-2006): firstly, monopolies have been progressively reduced by either implementing the gradual market opening calendar enshrined in the postal directive (e.g. reduction of the reserved area to 50g on 1 January 2006) or by additionally opening important segments (such as direct mail) or fully opening the postal market (UK, SE, FI). Secondly, competition has grown and in the most advanced Member States the market shares of the incumbents have been reduced to around 90 % and the perceived degree of competition has generally grown between 2000 and 2005. Thirdly, universal service providers have restructured and successfully adapted to the regulatory and market developments. This is underpinned by the generally positive trend as regards overall revenue and profitability growth. Fourthly, the quality of service has improved, consumer satisfaction is high and the universal service has been maintained.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 23 March 2005 on the application of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC) [COM(2005) 102 final – Official Journal C 123 of 21.5.2005].
This second report confirms that, overall, postal sector reform in the EU has made considerable progress. Although not yet completed, it has already resulted in a number of significant improvements, particularly concerning quality of service, improved business efficiency and the separation of regulators from operators. Nevertheless, the practical implementation of some of the more complex regulatory requirements of the postal directive (tariff control, transparency of accounts, authorisation and licensing) still requires further efforts. Moreover, as far as the market in postal services is concerned, the Commission has found that competition is not yet in place and that regulatory action is needed to counter the continued existence of inequalities between Member States, particularly in the area of tax liabilities. The perspectives for the future include a clear challenge for operators to seize all the opportunities available in order to pursue further modernisation in the sector. There is a need to respect the timetable set in the directive, for careful monitoring of regulatory developments, for intensified cooperation between the Member States and the Commission and for an in-depth debate on future postal policy.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC) [COM(2002) 632 final – not published in the Official Journal].
In 2000, postal services in the EU generated revenues of approximately 85 billion euros and directly employed over 1.6 million people. The postal directive has had major repercussions on the development of the postal services market. In establishing a minimum universal postal service, it guarantees the maintenance of a service that is of public interest, in the framework of the future development of the market. Furthermore, the postal directive has contributed to improving the quality of service and reducing the impact of border effects. It has achieved this by encouraging the adoption of common European standards and increased the quality of service, thanks to measures such as the definition of service objectives (note, for example, that in 2001, 92.3 % of EU cross-border priority mail was delivered within three days of posting). Even if some compliance problems persist as regards the independence of national regulatory authorities, the postal directive has also succeeded in establishing a minimum level of harmonisation in the market. The postal directive has paved the way for a larger opening up of the market and this prospect has helped speed up the rhythm of postal reforms at national level and the restructuring of the postal service, in the interests of greater efficiency and profitability.

Council resolution of 7 February 1994 on the development of Community postal services [Official Journal C 48 of 16.02.1994].

Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

Reform of the EU State aid rules on Services of General Economic Interest

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 March 2011 – “Reform of the EU State Aid Rules on Services of General Economic Interest” [COM(2011) 146 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Context

The package on State aid for Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) is set to be revised. The current package includes a number of measures adopted in 2005, in particular the SGEI Decision and the SGEI Framework, in which the Commission clarified the application of Articles 106 and 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (on State aid) to compensation for SGEI.

In its communication “Towards a Single Market Act”, the Commission undertook to adopt, by 2011, a communication and a series of measures on services of general interest. The Commission has emphasised that the EU and its member countries must ensure that public services are easier to operate at the appropriate level, adhere to clear financing rules, are of the highest quality and are accessible to everyone. EU competition rules only apply to those services of general interest that are “economic” in nature.

Review of the SGEI State aid rules

The overall objective of the proposed reform of the State aid rules for SGEI is to increase the contribution that SGEI can make to the wider EU economic recovery. EU countries need to guarantee certain services at affordable conditions to their citizens, such as hospitals, education, social services, communications and transport.

In accordance with the requirements of the SGEI Decision and the SGEI Framework, the Commission has conducted a wide consultation. This included asking EU countries to report on the application of the current package on SGEI as well as launching a public consultation. Overall the consultation process concluded that the introduction of the current package on SGEI was generally welcomed and that the existing legal instruments have made a positive contribution to the overall objective of legal certainty. The consultation also, however, demonstrated the need for improvement; in particular, the need for clearer, simpler, more proportionate and more effective instruments to ensure an easier application of the rules. To achieve this, the Commission is considering basing the upcoming reform on the two key principles of clarification and a diversified and proportionate approach.

To ensure an improved clarity, the Commission is considering providing further guidance on core issues in the field of State aid rules for SGEI. Insofar as concepts are defined by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) as interpreted by the Courts, the Commission’s role is limited to providing guidance on how it understands the TFEU and the case law. The Commission considers giving guidance, inter alia, on:

  • the distinction between economic and non-economic activities under State aid rules and the qualification of certain entities as undertakings;
  • the limits that State aid rules impose on EU countries when defining an economic activity as an SGEI;
  • the conditions under which compensation for certain SGEI provided at local level affects trade between EU countries, thereby falling within the scope of State aid rules;
  • the requirements which public authorities have to follow under State aid rules when they entrust an undertaking with the performance of an SGEI;
  • the conditions under which compensation for SGEI does not involve State aid because the tender selects the provider at the least cost for the community or because the price charged is in line with that of an efficient and “well-run” undertaking (these two alternatives derive from the European Court of Justice’s Altmark judgment);
  • how to increase convergence between the application of State aid and public procurement rules;
  • the interplay between the rules of the package and other sector specific SGEI rules.

The current package on SGEI already distinguishes different levels of scrutiny. In a diversified and proportionate approach, the Commission is planning to differentiate to an even larger extent between different types of services depending on the extent to which State aid in these economic sectors poses a serious risk of distorting competition. This would involve:

  • simplification of the application of the State aid rules for certain types of social services organised by local communities, which are particular in their financing structure and objectives and which only have a minor impact on intra-EU trade;
  • an increased emphasis on efficiency of large-scale commercial services entrusted with public service obligations, by taking into account the efficiency and quality levels of the SGEI provider in the compensation granted.

Universal service and users' rights

Universal service and users’ rights

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Universal service and users’ rights

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

Universal service and users’ rights

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) [Official Journal L 108 of 24 April 2002]. [See amending acts].

Summary

The Universal Service Directive is part of the “Telecoms Package” which, together with four other directives (“framework”, ” access and interconnection”, “authorisation” and “private life and electronic communications”), aims to recast the existing regulatory framework for telecommunications and to make the electronic communications sector more competitive. The “Telecoms Package” was amended in December 2009 by the two Directives “Better law-making” and the “Citizens’ rights”, as well as by a body of European regulators for electronic communications.

Universal service obligations

The Directive defines universal service as the “minimum set of services of specified quality to which all end-users have access, at an affordable price in the light of specific national conditions, without distorting competition”.

Availability of the universal service

Member States must ensure that the electronic communications services detailed in the Directive are made available to all users in their territory, regardless of their geographical location, at a specified quality level and an affordable price.

Provision of access at a fixed location and telephone services

A fundamental requirement of universal service is to provide users on request with a connection to the public telephone network at a fixed location and at an affordable price. The connection provided shall enable end-users to take charge of voice communications, facsimile communications and data communications, at data rates that are sufficient to permit functional Internet access, the provision of which may be restricted by Member States to the end-user’s primary residence. There should be no constraints on the technical means by which the connection is provided.

Directory enquiry services and directories

Directory enquiry services and directories. At least one comprehensive directory which is updated at least once a year must be available to end-users. Similarly, at least one directory enquiry service must be available to end-users, including users of public pay telephones.

Public pay telephones and other access points to publicly available telephone services

The national regulatory authorities (NRAs) must be able to impose obligations on undertakings to ensure that public pay telephones or other access points to publicly available telephone services are provided to meet the needs of end-users, whether in terms of geographical coverage, the number of telephones or other access points, the accessibility of such telephones to disabled users or the quality of services.

Special measures for disabled users

The term “universal” means that the Member States must ensure that disabled users enjoy a service which meets their needs and is of an equivalent standard to those enjoyed by other users. In order to achieve this, access must be the same at a functional level, such that disabled end-users can use the same services as other end-users, but through different means. Member States may require the NRAs to assess the general need and specific requirements of the type of measures particularly for disabled end-users.

Designation of undertakings

The Member States may designate one or more undertakings to guarantee the provision of universal service. The Member States may also designate different undertakings to provide different elements of universal service and/or to cover different parts of the national territory.

Affordability of tariffs

The Member States shall ensure that consumers with low incomes have access to special tariff arrangements or are given special assistance to enable them to have access to the network and to use it. The special tariffs must either be provided by the designated undertaking, or already be available on the market. Furthermore, the Member States may require undertakings which have universal service obligations to comply with price caps or to apply common tariffs, including geographical averaging, throughout the national territory.

Quality of service

The national regulatory authorities must set performance targets for undertakings with universal service obligations and monitor compliance with these targets by designated undertakings.

Financing of universal service obligations

In order to compensate for the net costs to which the provision of universal service might give rise, compensation mechanisms for operators with universal service obligations may be provided for. This may involve the introduction of a mechanism to compensate from public funds and/or a mechanism to share costs between providers of electronic communications networks and services.

Regulatory control of undertakings with significant retail market power

The aim is to strike a balance between promoting the interests of European citizens and ensuring effective competition, while providing for a minimum of regulatory intervention in order to establish a common level of rights throughout the European Community.

The national regulatory authorities must impose obligations with regard to retail services identified as not being effectively competitive, including in particular the requirement that undertakings do not charge excessive prices, inhibit market entry or restrict competition by setting predatory prices.

Users’ interests and rights

The users of electronic telecommunications services enjoy a number of rights, including in particular:

  • the right to have a contract concluded with one or more undertakings where consumers subscribe to services providing connection to the telephone network. The contract must contain a minimum set of information: the identity and address of the supplier, the types of services provided (including, in particular, if access to the emergency services is provided or not, information on all other conditions limiting access to services and applications and/or their use, and the minimum quality levels of services offered, etc.), the duration of the contract and renewal conditions, the arrangements for procedures for settling disputes, etc.;
  • the provision by operators of transparent, up-to-date information on applicable prices and tariffs;
  • the setting of minimum requirements in terms of quality of service in order to prevent the deterioration of the service and the obstruction or slowing down of traffic on the networks;
  • the publication by undertakings which offer publicly accessible electronic communications services of comparable, adequate and up-to-date information on the quality of their services;
  • the guarantee that, in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure, access to the public telephone network remains available to users;
  • the provision of operator assistance and directory enquiry services.

The single European emergency call number (112) must remain free of charge, even from public pay telephones. The undertakings involved must make caller location information available free-of-charge to the authority handling emergency calls as soon as the call reaches the aforementioned authority.

The Directive also makes it easier to change providers through the ability for users to retain their telephone number (fixed or mobile) when they change operator. Subscribers who have concluded an agreement regarding the porting of a number to a new operator must have this number activated within one working day. However, the pricing between operators and providers should not dissuade a subscriber from changing provider.

Member States shall promote specific harmonised “116” numbers for services with a social purpose, including the emergency number for “Missing children”.

Member States may impose reasonable “must carry” obligations for the broadcast of radio and television channels, in particular accessibility services aimed at ensuring suitable access for disabled end-users, on undertakings under their jurisdiction which provide electronic communications networks.

General and final provisions

Consultation with interested parties

With regard to end-users’ rights, the national regulatory authorities are required to take account of the views of end-users, consumers, manufacturers and undertakings that provide electronic communications networks and/or services. Member States shall specifically ensure that the NRAs establish a consultation mechanism which ensures that the interests of consumers, in terms of electronic communications, are duly taken into account.

Out-of-court resolution of disputes

Simple, transparent, non-discriminatory and inexpensive out-of-court procedures must be made available to users for dealing with unresolved disputes relating to universal service obligations. Where appropriate and warranted, the Member States may adopt a system of reimbursement and/or compensation.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2002/22/EC

24.04.2002

24.07.2003

OJ L 108 of 24.04.2002

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/136/EC

19.12.2009

25.5.2011

OJ l 337 of 18.12.2009

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the second periodic review of the scope of universal service in electronic communications networks and services in accordance with Article 15 of Directive 2002/22/EC [COM (2008) 572 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication examines the concept of the universal service obligation (USO) in the electronic communications sector, as well as the scope of universal service itself.
Access to mobile communications at an affordable price has developed considerably in recent years due to the introduction of competition between mobile services. This service consequently does not meet the conditions for the application of universal service.
Broadband internet is also developing strongly due to competition between parallel infrastructures (between 2003 and 2007, broadband use by households in the European Union tripled). But broadband is also no longer covered by the current Directive. However, this report finds that access to broadband communications is not just needed for competitiveness and economic growth but is becoming a prime objective of consumer welfare and digital inclusion.
For these reasons and in order to initiate a public debate, the Commission raises the question whether universal service is an appropriate tool to advance broadband development and mobile telephony or whether these services should be left to other Community instruments or to national measures.

Competition in the markets in telecommunications terminals

Competition in the markets in telecommunications terminals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Competition in the markets in telecommunications terminals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Current general legal framework

Competition in the markets in telecommunications terminals

Document or Iniciative

Commission Directive 2008/63/EC of 20 June 2008 on competition in the markets in telecommunications terminal equipment.

Summary

Member States may no longer grant specialor exclusive rights relating to the importation, marketing, connection, bringing into service or maintenance of telecommunications terminal equipment.

Member States may not refuse the connection of terminal equipment * to the public telecommunications network or the bringing into service of satellite earth station equipment * in their country, unless this equipment does not satisfy the essentialrequirements of Directive 1999/5/EC or the common technical regulations adopted in pursuance of that Directive. Member States may also ask for technical qualifications from the economic operators in question.

Equipment sold on the market must adhere to essential requirement defined in Directive 1999/5/EC and, where applicable, to the common technical regulations adopted pursuant to that Directive. Manufacturers and importers must guarantee that this equipment is designed to:

  • Ensure the protection of the health and safety of the user and any other person identified in the safety objectives which appear in Directive 73/23/EEC on electrical equipment for use within certain voltage limits;
  • Meet safety requirements concerning electromagnetic compatibility which appear in Directive 89/336/EEC;
  • Allow use of the spectrum allocated to earth/space radio communication and to orbital resources in such a way as to avoid harmful interference.

The new interfaces of the public telecommunications network must be accessible to the user, who must be able to use the terminal equipment of their choice. To this end, Member States shall ensure that operators publish technical specifications for the terminal equipment and interface to which the equipment will be connected.

Member States shall inform the Commission of draft technical specifications according to the procedure laid down in Directive 1999/5/EC. All terminal equipment specifications must be formalised and published.

The bodies entrusted with monitoring the application of specifications designated by Member States must be independent from public or private undertakings offering goods and/or services in the telecommunications sector.

Context

This Directive consolidates the provisions of Directive 88/301/EEC as amended in 1994. This Directive represented the first phase of a policy aimed at the liberalisation of telecommunications markets and which lead to the complete liberalisation of these markets on 1 January 1998.

The present Directive repeals Directive 88/301/EEC.

used in the act
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  • Terminal equipment: equipment directly or indirectly connected to the interface of a public telecommunications network to send, process or receive information. Earth station equipment are included in this category.
  • Satellite earth station equipment: equipment which is capable of being used for the transmission only (‘transmit-only’), or for the transmission and reception (‘transmit/receive’), or for the reception only (‘receive-only’) of radio communication signals by means of satellites or other space-based systems.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2008/63/EC

11.7.2008

OJ L 162 of 21.6.2008

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Current general legal framework

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Office (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Regulation defines the rules on the establishment and functioning of the Body of European Regulators (BEREC). The main task of BEREC is to advise and assist the European Commission in developing the internal market and to form a link between national regulatory authorities (NRAs) and the Commission. It should also serve as a body for reflection, debate and advice for the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in the electronic communications field. BEREC should accordingly advise the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, at their request or on its own initiative.

What is BEREC’s role?

BEREC will contribute to the functioning of the internal market for electronic communications networks and services.

Its objective is to:

  • develop and disseminate among NRAs regulatory best practice, such as common approaches, methodologies or guidelines on the implementation of the EU regulatory framework;
  • assist NRAs in the regulatory field;
  • deliver opinions on draft decisions, recommendations and guidelines;
  • issue reports and provide advice on the electronic communications sector;
  • assist the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission as well as NRAs in the dissemination of best practices.

How is BEREC to be structured?

BEREC shall be composed of a Board of Regulators, whose members shall be heads or representatives of the NRAs established in each Member State with primary responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the markets for electronic communications networks and services. The main responsibility of the Board shall be to take all decisions relating to the performance of BEREC’s functions and to exercise BEREC’s tasks which include:

  • publishing opinions on draft measures of NRAs concerning market definition, the designation of undertakings with significant market power and the imposition of remedies as well as cooperation and collaboration with NRAs in this context;
  • consultation on draft recommendations on relevant product and service markets;
  • publishing opinions on draft decisions on the identification of transnational markets and on the development of common rules and requirements for providers of cross-border business services;
  • consultation on draft measures relating to effective access to the emergency call number 112, and the effective implementation of the 116 numbering range;
  • monitoring and reporting on the electronic communications sector, and publishing an annual report on developments in that sector.

BEREC will be assisted by the Office which comprises a Management Committee and an Administrative Manager. The Office Management Committee shall be composed of members of the Board of Regulators and a member representing the Commission. Under the supervision of the Management Committee, the Administrative Manager shall be responsible for heading the Office.

The main tasks of the Office shall be to:

  • provide professional and administrative support services to BEREC;
  • collect information from NRAs;
  • disseminate among NRAs regulatory best practice.

What financial provisions apply to BEREC?

BEREC’s resources will mainly consist of:

  • a subsidy from the European Union;
  • voluntary contributions from Member States or NRAs.

The budget shall be established by the Administrative Manager and drawn up by the Management Committee. It shall become final after the adoption of the general budget of the European Union.

BEREC may be subject to a financial audit as part of internal controls.

Context

Decision 2002/627/EC established the European Regulators Group (ERG) for Electronic Communications Networks and Services. The role of the ERG should however be strengthened. For this reason BEREC has been created to replace the ERG and to act as an exclusive forum for cooperation among NRAs and the Commission.

Reference

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition Official Journal

Regulation (EC) n° 1211/2009

7.1.2010

OJ L 337 of 18.12.2009

Conditions for access to the gas transmission networks

Conditions for access to the gas transmission networks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conditions for access to the gas transmission networks

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Internal energy market

Conditions for access to the gas transmission networks

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 September 2005 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks.

Summary

Provisions relating to the conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks add to the provisions of Directive 2003/55/EC and contribute to completion of the internal gas market.

Complete opening-up of national gas markets, as provided for by Directive 2003/55/EC, has brought about a truly competitive internal gas market within the European Union (EU). In practice, industrial clients and domestic customers have had the freedom to choose their gas supplier since 1 July 2004 and 1 July 2007 respectively.

Effective and non-discriminatory access by third parties to the gas transmission networks is an essential condition for the existence of a genuine internal gas market. With the aim of ensuring a minimum level of harmonisation, Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 therefore lays down the basic principles.

  • Service conditions for third-party network access

Gas transmission system operators are obliged to offer their services to all users on a non-discriminatory basis. They must therefore offer the same service to different users under identical contractual conditions (nature, duration, etc.). The operator can choose to draw up harmonised transmission contracts or a joint system code.

This does not mean, however, that other transmission system operators are obliged to offer the same contractual conditions, apart from the minimum contractual requirements.

  • Capacity allocation mechanisms and balancing rules

The system operator makes the technical network capacity available to users in its entirety, taking into account system integrity and efficient use of the network. Capacity allocation is performed on the basis of non-discriminatory and transparent mechanisms.

Different rules, both technical and commercial, allow balancing of the network and guarantee its smooth operation.

Therefore, in the event of contractual congestion, i.e. when the level of demand for firm capacity (transmission capacity which the operator has guaranteed by way of a non-interruptible contract) exceeds the system’s technical capacity, the operator may offer the unused capacity of certain users to other users on a short-term basis.

As for users, they have the freedom to freely trade their capacity rights, by selling or subletting their unused capacity. This trade is an essential factor in the development of a competitive internal market and creation of market liquidity.

The transmission system operator also sets fair and transparent technical balancing rules. In order to guarantee continuity of the gas supply, it must in fact ensure that the system pressure is constantly maintained at a certain level, which depends on the balance between the entry and exit of gas in the network. It provides users with relevant information on the balancing status and they then take the necessary corrective measures.

  • Criteria and methodologies for setting network access tariffs

Tariffs set by system operators are transparent and non-discriminatory. They reflect the actual costs borne by them.

The prices take into account not only maintenance of system integrity (guarantee of gas transmission from a technical point of view, in particular in relation to gas pressure and quality) but also its improvement (investment incentives and construction of new infrastructures).

  • Definition of the technical information needed by users and transparency requirements

To encourage effective access to the network, users must have relevant information, particularly on the services offered by the operator, and more specifically the methodology of tariffs, as well as on the technical capacity and available capacity. Users can also use the different commercial possibilities offered by the internal market. System operators publish this information with regard for the confidentiality of commercial information.

Background

The gas regulatory forum, or ” Madrid Forum “, a discussion group for concrete implementation of European regulations in the natural gas market, has enabled definition of guidelines relating to market access conditions. The experience gained from implementation has shown that it is useful to turn these guidelines into legally binding rules.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 23.11.2005 OJ L 289, 3.11.2005

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 September 2007 amending Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 concerning conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks [COM(2007) 532 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

A third and final legislative package is proposed to complete the opening-up of the European energy markets to competition and creation of the internal energy market.

The internal energy market demonstrates malfunctioning that cannot be corrected effectively by current rules, as stated by the Commission in its sector inquiry. The proposals of the third legislative package go in the same direction as the communication on the prospects for the internal gas and electricity market. The main proposals for amendment of Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 relate to:

  • formalisation of the European groups of transmission system operators for better coordination and, in particular, the drawing-up of joint market and technical codes;
  • improved market operation, in particular greater transparency, effective access to storage facilities and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

The Commission proposes five drafts to amend Directives 2003/54/EC and 2003/55/EC relating to the electricity market and the gas market respectively, as well as Regulations (EC) No 1228/2003 and No 1775/2005 on access to the electricity networks and access to the gas networks respectively, and to set up an energy regulators cooperation agency.

Codecision procedure (COD/2007/0196)

Commission Decision 2003/796/EC of 11 November 2003 on establishing the European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas [Official Journal L 296, 14.11.2003].

Directive 2003/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 98/30/EC [Official Journal L 176, 15.7.2003].

 

Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Motor vehicles > Interactions between the automobile industry and specific policies

Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EU) No 461/2010 of 27 May 2010 on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices in the motor vehicle sector.

Summary

Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) exempts vertical agreements * which confer sufficient benefits to outweigh the anti-competitive effects. Regulation (EC) No 1400/2002, which expired on 31 May 2010, provided the motor vehicle sector with a specific block exemption for vertical agreements for the purchase, sale or resale of new motor vehicles and vertical agreements for the provision of repair and maintenance services for such vehicles and for the distribution of spare parts. Regulation 461/2010 replaces Regulation 1400/2002.

Vertical agreements relating to the purchase, sale or resale of new motor vehicles

Regulation 461/2010 applies Regulation No 330/2010 to vertical agreements concerning the purchase, sale or resale of new motor vehicles. However, to give operators time to adapt to the general regime, those provisions of Regulation No 1400/2002 which relate to such agreements are extended until 31 May 2013.

Vertical agreements relating to the motor vehicle aftermarket

Regulation 461/2010 also applies Regulation No 330/2010 to vertical agreements concerning conditions for the purchase, sale or resale of spare parts for motor vehicles, or for the provision of repair and maintenance services for motor vehicles, so long as these fulfil the requirements for exemption under Regulation No 330/2010, and do not contain any of the following hardcore restrictions described in Regulation 461/2010:

  • restriction of the sales of spare parts for motor vehicles by members of a selective distribution system;
  • restriction, agreed between a supplier of spare parts or repair equipment and a manufacturer of motor vehicles, of the supplier’s ability to sell those goods to authorised or independent distributors, repairers or end users;
  • restriction, agreed between a manufacturer of motor vehicles which uses components for the initial assembly of motor vehicles and the supplier of such components, of the supplier’s ability to visibly place its trade mark or logo on the components supplied.

In accordance with Regulation No 19/65/EEC, when parallel networks of similar vertical restraints cover more than 50 % of a relevant market, the Commission may decide that this regulation does not apply to vertical agreements that include specific restraints relating to that market.

Key terms used in the act
  • Vertical agreement: an agreement or concerted practice entered into between two or more undertakings each of which operates at a different level of the production or distribution chain, and relating to the conditions under which the parties may purchase, sell or resell certain goods or services.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation No 461/2010

1.6.2010 – 31.5.2023

OJ L 129 of 28.5.2010