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Exemptions from consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports

Exemptions from consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exemptions from consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports

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Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Exemptions from consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports

1) Objective

To exempt, subject to certain conditions, consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports from the competition rules.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1617/93 of 25 June 1993 on the application of Article 85(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices concerning joint planning and coordination of schedules, joint operations, consultations on passenger and cargo tariffs on scheduled air services and slot allocation at airports [Official Journal L 155 of 26.06.1993].

Amended by the following measures:

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1105/2002 of 25 June 2002 amending Regulation (EEC) No 1617/93 as regards consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports [Official Journal L 167 of 26.06.2002];
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1083/1999 of 26 May 1999 amending Regulation (EEC) No 1617/93 on the application of Article 85(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices concerning joint planning and coordination of schedules, joint operations, consultations on passenger and cargo tariffs on scheduled air services and slot allocation at airports [Official Journal L 131 of 27.05.1999];
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1523/96 of 24 July 1996 amending Regulation (EEC) No 1617/93 on the application of Article 85(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices concerning joint planning and coordination of schedules, joint operations, consultations on passenger and cargo tariffs on scheduled air services and slot allocation at airports [Official Journal L 190 of 31.07.1996].

3) Summary

Background

Under Regulation No 3976/87, which authorises the Commission to grant block exemptions to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices which relate directly or indirectly to the provision of air transport services, this Regulation is designed to exempt consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports from Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty. The Commission may withdraw the benefit of the block exemption.

Scope

In 1993 the scope of this Regulation was broad enough to include agreements and concerted practices concerning joint planning and coordination of schedules, joint operations, consultations on tariffs and slot allocation at airports which could restrict competition and affect trade between Member States. Numerous successive amendments significantly reduced the scope of this Regulation. It is now limited to consultations on passenger tariffs and slot allocation at airports.

Conditions governing application

The exemption concerning the organisation of consultations on passenger tariffs applies on condition that:

  • participants discuss passenger tariffs only;
  • for each tariff category and for the seasons covered by consultations, passengers are able to combine the service with services on the same route on the same ticket and, in so far as circumstances allow, to replace or change reservations;
  • passenger tariffs are applied on a non-discriminatory basis;
  • participation in consultations is optional and open to all air carriers;
  • consultations are not binding on participants, which means that participants must maintain, after consultations have ended, the right to act independently on passenger tariffs;
  • consultations do not give rise to an agreement on staff pay or other aspects of tariffs covered by the discussion;
  • where tariffs have to be notified, each participant informs the competent authorities of the Member States concerned, on an individual basis, of any tariff not covered by the consultations.

The exemption concerning slot allocation and scheduling applies on condition that:

  • consultations are open to all air carriers;
  • priority rules are drawn up and applied without any discrimination;
  • the priority rules are made available to any interested party on request;
  • new arrivals are entitled to 50% of new or unused slots;
  • by the time of these consultations at the latest, the participating carriers have access to the information.

Air carriers must notify the Member States concerned and the Commission of the date, place and subject of these consultations at least ten days in advance so that observers from the Commission and the Member States can take part in them. Air carriers are required to submit a report on the consultations.

Other provisions

To help the Commission decide whether the block exemption should be extended beyond 30 June 2005, this Regulation requires air carriers participating in conferences to collect certain data on the relative use of the passenger tariffs set in the conferences.

Act Date
of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States
Regulation (EEC) No 1617/93 01.07.1993
Regulation (EC) No 1523/96 20.08.1996
Regulation (EC) No 1083/1999 27.05.1999
Regulation (EC) No 1105/2002 29.06.2002

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Exemption for certain agreements between liner shipping companies

Exemption for certain agreements between liner shipping companies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exemption for certain agreements between liner shipping companies

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Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Exemption for certain agreements between liner shipping companies (“consortia”)

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EC) No 906/2009 of 28 September 2009 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements, decisions and concerted practices between liner shipping companies (consortia).

Summary

This regulation applies to consortia * providing international liner shipping * services from or to one or more ports within the European Union (EU).

Exempted agreements

In accordance with Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (formerly Article 81(3) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)), Article 101(1) TFEU (formerly Article 81(1) TEC) is not applicable to the following activities of a consortium:

  • the joint operation of liner shipping services;
  • capacity adjustments in response to supply and demand fluctuations;
  • the joint operation or use of port terminals;
  • any other activity ancillary to those listed above, which is necessary for their implementation, such as:
    1. the use of a computerised data exchange system;
    2. an obligation on members of a consortium to limit use in the relevant market or markets to vessels allocated to the consortium;
    3. an obligation on members of a consortium not to assign or charter space to other vessel-operating carriers in the relevant market or markets except with the prior consent of the other members of the consortium.

Hardcore restrictions

The exemption above does not apply to a consortium that, directly or indirectly, alone or together with other factors under the control of the parties, has the object to:

  • fix prices when selling liner shipping services to third parties outside the consortium;
  • limit the capacity or sales except for the previously mentioned exempted capacity adjustments;
  • allocate markets or customers.

Conditions for exemption

To qualify for the exemption, the combined market share of the consortium members in the relevant market in which the consortium operates must not exceed 30 %, calculated by reference to the total volume of goods carried by the members within or outside the consortium. 5. To qualify for the exemption, members of the consortium must have the right to withdraw, subject to a maximum period of notice of six months, without any penalty, financial or otherwise. In the case of a highly integrated consortium, the maximum period of notice can be extended to 12 months.

Background

This regulation builds on Regulation (EC) No 823/2000 which expired on 25 April 2010. Although the justifications for a block exemption for liner consortia are still valid, Regulation 906/2009 ensures a greater convergence with other existing block exemption regulations for horizontal cooperation whilst taking into account current market practices in the liner industry.

Key terms used in the act
  • Consortium: an agreement or a set of interrelated agreements between two or more vessel-operating carriers which provide joint international liner shipping services exclusively for the carriage of cargo relating to one or more trades.
  • Liner shipping: the transport of goods on a regular basis on a particular route or routes between ports and in accordance with timetables and sailing dates advertised in advance and available, even on an occasional basis, to any transport user against payment.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 906/2009

26.4.2010 – 25.4.2015

OJ L 256 of 29.9.2009

Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules

Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules

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Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Exemption of certain air transport agreements from EU competition rules

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 487/2009 of 25 May 2009 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices in the air transport sector.

Summary

In accordance with Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Article 81(3) of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC)), the Commission may adopt a regulation declaring that certain agreements, decisions and concerted practices are exempt from the prohibition in Article 101(1) TFEU (ex-Article 81(1) TEC).

The Commission may, in particular, adopt such a block exemption regulation in relation to agreements, decisions or concerted practices which concern any of the following:

  • joint planning and coordination of airline schedules;
  • consultations on tariffs for the carriage of passengers and baggage and of freight on scheduled air services;
  • joint operations on new less busy scheduled air services;
  • slot allocation at airports and airport scheduling;
  • common purchase, development and operation of computer reservation systems relating to timetabling, reservations and ticketing by air transport undertakings.

Where circumstances have changed concerning any of the factors which prompted its adoption, it may be repealed or amended. In this case there shall be a transitional period for amendment of the agreements and concerted practices to which the earlier regulation applied before repeal or amendment.

Any such block exemption regulation is adopted for a specified period and will apply retroactively to agreements, decisions and concerted practices which were in existence on the date that the regulation entered into force.

Before adopting such a block exemption regulation, the Commission must publish a draft of the proposed regulation and invite all persons and organisations concerned to submit their comments within a reasonable deadline. The Commission must consult the Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices and Dominant Positions in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, once before publishing a draft regulation, and again after the public consultation before adopting the regulation.

This regulation repeals Regulation (EEC) No 3976/87.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 487/2009

1.7.2009

OJ L 148 of 11.6.2009

Exceptional trade measures

Exceptional trade measures

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exceptional trade measures

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Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Exceptional trade measures

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1215/2009 of 30 November 2009 introducing exceptional trade measures for countries and territories participating in or linked to the European Union’s Stabilisation and Association process (codified version).

Summary

The Western Balkan countries benefit from exceptional trade measures for their imports into the European Union (EU). These countries and territories are part of the Stabilisation and Association process.

The exceptional trade measures shall apply until 31 December 2010.

Trade preferences

Products originating in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo shall be imported into the European Union without customs duties * or charges having equivalent effect and without quantitative restrictions * or measures having equivalent effect.

In addition, these trade preferences shall apply to certain agricultural products.

Conditions for entitlement

To benefit from the preferential measures, countries and territories must:

  • comply with the definition of originating product provided for in Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93; the products must have been wholly manufactured or have undergone sufficient processing in the country or territory;
  • undertake not to increase the level of taxes or restrictions on products imported from the EU;
  • combat fraud by means of administrative cooperation with the EU.

Beneficiaries should also engage in effective economic reforms and in cooperation with other countries concerned by the Stabilisation and Association process, in particular through the creation of a regional free trade area.

The Commission may suspend the trade preferences in whole or in part if a country fails to comply with its obligations.

Agricultural and fishery products

The customs duties applicable to certain fishery products and certain wines shall be suspended, within the limits defined in Annex I.

The customs duties applicable to imports of veal (baby beef) originating in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo are defined in Annex II. The volume of the total annual tariff quota * is 11 475 tonnes, distributed as follows:

  • 1 500 tonnes (carcass weight) for products originating in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • 9 175 tonnes (carcass weight) for products originating in the customs territories of Serbia and Kosovo.

Imports of sugar products originating in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo shall be subject to annual tariff quotas:

  • 12 000 tonnes (net weight) for products originating in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • 180 000 tonnes (net weight) for products originating in the customs territories of Serbia and Kosovo.

Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishes procedures for the implementation of tariff quotas in relation to these products.

The Commission may take protective measures if imports of agricultural and fishery products cause serious disturbance to the EU’s internal market.

Keywords
  • Customs duties: a duty which alters the price of an imported product, irrespective of its name or technique, which results in a restriction on the free movement of goods.
  • Quantitative restriction: any trade regulation which may have the effect of limiting imports of goods, in terms of quantity or value (e.g. import quota).
  • Tariff quota: a trade measure which permits the total or partial suspension of the duties normally paid on an imported product, during a period of time or for a limited volume.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 1215/2009

4.1.2010 – 31.12.2010

OJ L 328 of 15.12.2009

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1215/2009 introducing exceptional trade measures for countries and territories participating in or linked to the European Union’s Stabilisation and Association process [COM(2010) 54 final- Not published in the Official Journal].
This Proposal aims to extend the validity of the trade preferences granted to the Western Balkan countries until 2015.
Procedure: 2010/0036/COD

Excise duty on manufactured tobacco

Excise duty on manufactured tobacco

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Excise duty on manufactured tobacco

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Taxation

Excise duty on manufactured tobacco

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2011/64/EU of 21 June 2011 on the structure and rates of excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco.

Summary

This directive establishes general principles for the harmonisation of the structure and rates of the excise duty which European Union (EU) countries apply to manufactured tobacco.

For the purposes of this directive, the term ‘manufactured tobacco’ includes the following:

  • cigarettes;
  • cigars and cigarillos;
  • smoking tobacco, including fine-cut tobacco for the rolling of cigarettes and other smoking tobacco.

Provisions applicable to cigarettes

Both cigarettes manufactured within the EU and those imported from non-EU countries are subject to an ad valorem excise duty calculated on the maximum retail selling price, including customs duties, and also to a specific excise duty calculated per unit of the product. EU countries may, however exclude customs duties from the calculation of ad valorem excise duty on cigarettes.

The rate of the ad valorem excise duty and the amount of the specific excise duty must be identical for all cigarettes.

The percentage of the specific component of excise duty in the amount of the total tax burden on cigarettes is established in accordance with the weighted average retail selling price. The weighted average retail selling price is calculated in accordance with the total value of all cigarettes released for consumption, based on the retail selling price including all taxes, divided by the total quantity of cigarettes released for consumption. The weighted average retail selling price must be determined by 1 March of each year based on the data for the previous year’s releases for consumption.

The specific component of the excise duty must not be less than 5 % and not more than 76.5 % of the amount of the total tax burden resulting from the sum of the specific excise duty and the ad valorem excise duty and the value added tax (VAT) imposed on the weighted average retail selling price. From 1 January 2014, the specific component must be between 7.5 % and 76.5 %. Where there is a change in the weighted average retail selling price of cigarettes in an EU country that takes the specific component of the excise duty below 5 % or 7.5 %, whichever is applicable, or above 76.5 % of the total tax burden, the EU country concerned may refrain from adjusting the amount of the specific excise duty until 1 January of the second year following that in which the change occurs.

EU countries may impose a minimum excise duty on cigarettes.

EU countries must apply minimum consumption taxes to cigarettes. This tax includes a specific excise duty per unit of the product, an ad valorem excise duty based on the maximum retail selling price, and a VAT proportional to the retail selling price.

The overall excise duty on cigarettes is the specific duty and ad valorem duty excluding VAT, and shall constitute at least 57 % of the weighted average retail selling price of cigarettes released for consumption. This excise duty must not be less than EUR 64 per 1 000 cigarettes irrespective of the weighted average retail selling price. EU countries which impose an excise duty of at least EUR 101 per 1000 cigarettes are not required to comply with the 57 % condition.

When an EU country increases the rate of VAT on cigarettes, it may reduce the overall excise duty to an amount equal to the increase in the rate of VAT when expressed as a percentage of the weighted average retail selling price.

Provisions applicable to manufactured tobacco other than cigarettes

EU countries shall apply an excise duty to manufactured tobacco other than cigarettes, which may be:

  • an ad valorem duty calculated on the basis of the maximum retail selling price of each product;
  • a specific duty expressed as an amount per kilogram or per 1000 pieces;
  • a mixture of an ad valorem element and a specific element.

The overall excise duty must be at least equivalent to the rates or minimum amounts established for:

  • cigars or cigarillos: 5 % of the retail selling price inclusive of all taxes or EUR 12 per 1000 items or per kilogram;
  • fine-cut smoking tobacco intended for the rolling of cigarettes: 40 % of the weighted average retail selling price or EUR 40 per kilogram;
  • other smoking tobaccos: 20 % of the retail selling price inclusive of all taxes, or EUR 22 per kilogram.

Maximum retail selling price

Manufacturers, their representatives or authorised agents in the EU, and importers of tobacco from non-EU countries have the right to determine the maximum retail selling price for each of their products for each EU country in which the products concerned are to be released for consumption. This does not however affect the implementation of national legislation regarding price control or the observance of imposed prices, provided that they are compatible with EU legislation.

This directive repealed directives 92/79/EEC, 92/80/EEC and 95/59/EC.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2011/64/EU

1.1.2011

OJ L 176, 5.7.2011

Exemption for certain vertical agreements

Exemption for certain vertical agreements

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exemption for certain vertical agreements

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Other

Exemption for certain vertical agreements

1) Objective

To empower the Commission to adopt by regulation block exemptions for certain vertical agreements, decisions and concerted practices.

2) Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EEC) No 19/65 of 2 March 1965 on the application of Article 81(3) (formerly Article 85(3)) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements and concerted practices [Official Journal L 36 of 06.03.1965].

Amended by:
Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty [Official Journal L 1 of 04.01.2003];
Council Regulation (EC) No 1215/1999 of 10 June 1999 [Official Journal L 148 of 15.06.1999].

3) Summary

Background

Under Article 81(3) of the EC Treaty and without prejudice to the rules on its implementation as established by Regulation (EC) n° 1/2003, Regulation No 19/65 empowers the Commission to grant exemptions by regulation in respect of certain categories of exclusive agreements between two firms for the resale of goods. It does not apply to agreements between more than two firms or to agreements on exclusive distribution, delivery or purchase of services or products for processing.

Over the years, the approach envisaged by the Regulation has proved too rigid in terms of the changing economic situation and current distribution techniques. However, Regulation No 1215/1999 has extended its scope to include vertical agreements.

Scope

The Commission may, by way of regulation, exempt certain agreements or concerted practices such as:

  • agreements between two or more firms relating to the purchase, sale or resale of goods or services;
  • agreements between two firms which impose restrictions on purchases or on the use of intellectual property rights or know-how.

Conditions for the implementation of the exemption regulations

The exemption regulations laid down by the Commission must meet a number of conditions. They must:

  • contain a definition of the categories of agreements, decisions and concerted practices to which they apply and specify the restrictions, clauses or other conditions which may appear in them;
  • apply for a limited period, although they may be amended or repealed;
  • apply with retroactive effect so as to take in agreements which, at their date of entry into force, satisfied the conditions for exemption.

The regulations concerned must comply with the following approval procedure:

  • the proposal for a regulation must be published so as to enable all persons and organisations concerned to submit their comments to the Commission;
  • the Commission must consult the Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices and Dominant Positions before publishing a draft or adopting a regulation.

Following the entry into force of Regulation No 1/2003, which governs the changeover from a system of centralised authorisation based on prior notification to a legal exception system, national authorities and courts are being called upon to ensure, for purposes of implementing competition law, that the competition rules are complied with.

Act Date
of entry into force
Deadline for implementation in Member States
Regulation (EEC) No 19/65 26.03.1965
Regulation (EEC) No 1215/1999 18.06.1999
Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 25.01.2003 01.05.2004

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Exemptions for certain horizontal agreements

Exemptions for certain horizontal agreements

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exemptions for certain horizontal agreements

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Other

Exemptions for certain horizontal agreements

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2821/71 of 20 December 1971 on the application of Article 81(3) (formerly Article 85(3)) of the EC Treaty to categories of agreements, decisions and concerted practices [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The Commission may grant individual exemptions to certain agreements, decisions and concerted practices that meet the conditions of Article 81(3) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty) (now Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). It may also grant block exemptions by way of regulation. This regulation enables the Commission to exempt certain agreements, decisions and concerted practices by way of a block exemption.

Scope

This regulation enables the Commission to apply, by way of regulation, Article 81(3) of the EC Treaty to certain agreements, decisions and concerted practices which have as their object:

  • the research and development of products or processes and exploitation of the results, including provisions regarding industrial property rights and confidential technical knowledge;
  • specialisation, including agreements necessary for achieving it.

Conditions for the exemption regulations

The exemption regulations laid down by the Commission must meet a number of conditions. They must:

  • contain a definition of the categories of agreements, decisions and concerted practices to which they apply and specify the restrictions, clauses or other conditions which may appear in them;
  • apply for a limited period, although they may be amended or repealed;
  • apply with retroactive effect to agreements which, at their date of entry into force, might have benefited from a decision issued with retroactive effect under Article 6 of Regulation No 17 (EEC)Regulation No 17 (EEC). They do not apply to agreements that existed prior to 13 March 1962 or had to be notified before 1 February 1963.

The regulations concerned must comply with the following approval procedure:

  • a draft must be published to enable all persons and organisations concerned to submit their comments to the Commission;
  • the Commission must consult the Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices and Monopolies before publishing a draft or adopting a regulation;
  • where the Commission, either on its own initiative or at the request of a European Union (EU) country or of natural or legal persons, finds that, in any particular case, agreements, decisions or concerted practices to which an exemption regulation applies nevertheless have certain effects which are incompatible with the conditions laid down in Article 81(3), it may adopt a decision withdrawing the benefit of the regulation.

In applicant countries, this regulation will enter into force on the date of the country’s accession to the EU.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 2821/71

18.1.1972

OJ L 285 of 29.12.1971

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 2743/72

1.1.1973

OJ L 291 of 28.12.1972

Regulation (EC) No 1/2003

24.1.2003

1.5.2004

OJ L 1 of 4.1.2003

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 2821/71 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

Extension of voting by qualified majority and the ordinary legislative procedure

Extension of voting by qualified majority and the ordinary legislative procedure

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Extension of voting by qualified majority and the ordinary legislative procedure

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Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties > The Lisbon Treaty: a comprehensive guide

Extension of voting by qualified majority and the ordinary legislative procedure

The Treaty of Lisbon aims at modernising and improving the decision-making process of the European Union (EU). In a Union enlarged to 27 Member States, unanimity has become more difficult to reach and there are increased risks of blocking The Treaty of Lisbon therefore extends voting by qualified majority to a large number of policy areas. Its objective is to contribute to building Europe by facilitating decision-making at institutional level.

The Treaty of Lisbon extended voting by qualified majority to several provisions of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).

  • directly, stating the cases where the European Council or the Council is to act by qualified majority;
  • indirectly, by extending the ordinary legislative procedure to new areas.

With the same objective of improving the decision-making process, the Treaty of Lisbon also makes changes as regards the actual definition of qualified majority.

INSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

Following the institutional reforms of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council now acts by qualified majority when:

  • electing the President of the European Council (Article 15 of the TEU);
  • adopting the Decision establishing Council configurations (Article 16 of the TEU);
  • appointing the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Article 18 of the TEU);
  • adopting the Decision on the Presidency of the Council (Article 236 of the TFEU);
  • appointing the President, Vice-President and members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (Article 283 of the TFEU).

The Council now also rules by qualified majority in decisions relating to:

  • amendments to the Statute of the Court of Justice of the EU and the creation of the specialised courts (Article 257 and 281 of the TFEU);
  • authorisation of withdrawal agreements concluded between a Member State and the EU (Article 50 of the TEU);
  • the definition of rules and principles relating to the implementing powers of the Commission (Article 291 of the TFEU).

AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE

The Treaty of Lisbon considerably reinforces the area of freedom, security and justice established by the EU. Measures taken in this area were generally adopted by unanimity by the Council. The ordinary legislative procedure now applies to many such measures. The objective is to improve attachment to fundamental social rights and reinforce the legitimacy of the EU’s action in this area through the intervention of the European Parliament and the extension of voting by qualified majority. The ordinary legislative procedure now applies to measures concerning:

  • policies on border checks and immigration (Articles 77, 78 and 79 of the TFEU);
  • judicial cooperation in civil matters (Article 81 of the TFEU);
  • police cooperation (Articles 87 and 88 of the TFEU);
  • judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Articles 82, 83, 84 and 85 of the TFEU); voting by qualified majority has been extended to Articles 82 and 83 by means of two so-called ‘emergency brake’ clauses: a Member State may appeal to the European Council if it considers that there is a threat to the fundamental principles of its judicial systems. The legislative procedure is then suspended until the European Council requests that the Commission make a new proposal or decides to reinstate the procedure taking account of the observations made.

COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY (CFSP)

Voting by unanimity remains the rule of principle for decisions taken in the area of CFSP. Article 31 of the TEU nevertheless sets out four exceptions to this rule – the Council shall adopt by a qualified majority:

  • decisions defining Union actions or positions on the basis of a European Council Decision;
  • decisions defining Union actions or positions proposed by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy;
  • decisions implementing Decisions which define Union actions or positions in the area of the CFSP;
  • the appointment of a special representative proposed by the High Representative.

A specific passerelle clause has also been introduced to enable the Council to act by qualified majority regarding other types of decision. The European Council must first adopt, by unanimity, a decision authorising this widening of the scope of the qualified majority.

Furthermore, the Treaty of Lisbon creates two new instruments the procedure for which is laid down by the Council by qualified majority:

  • the CFSP start-up fund (Article 41 of the TEU);
  • the European Defence Agency (Article 45 of the TEU).

Permanent structured cooperation between Member States with strong military capabilities may also be organised. The Council shall then adopt by qualified majority a decision laying down the procedure for such cooperation (Article 46 of the TEU).

OTHER POLICY AREAS

Most European policies are concerned by the extension of voting by qualified majority. Hence, the ordinary legislative procedure now applies to the following areas:

  • the free movement of workers (Article 48 du TFEU); an ‘emergency brake’ clause has been created to extend qualified majority voting to this area. The principle is the same as for the two emergency brake clauses in the area of freedom, security and justice – the legislative procedure may be suspended if a Member State considers that its social security system is threatened;
  • transport (Article 91 of the TFEU);
  • approximation of legislation (Article 118 of the TFEU);
  • monetary policy (Articles 129 and 133 of the TFEU);
  • education, vocational training, youth and sport (Article 165 of the TFEU);
  • culture (Article 167 of the TFEU);
  • research (Articles 182 and 189 of the TFEU);
  • energy (Article 194 of the TFEU);
  • tourism (Article 195 of the TFEU);
  • civil protection (Article 196 of the TFEU);
  • administrative cooperation (Article 197 of the TFEU);
  • common trade policy (Article 207 of the TFEU);
  • financial cooperation with third countries (Article 213 of the TFEU);
  • humanitarian aid (Article 214 of the TFEU).

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Exceptional aid for highly-indebted ACP States

Exceptional aid for highly-indebted ACP States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exceptional aid for highly-indebted ACP States

Topics

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

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Exceptional aid for highly-indebted ACP States

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1/1999 (PDF ) of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers of 8 December 1999 on exceptional aid for highly-indebted ACP States.

Summary

This decision comes under the framework of the international debt-relief initiative for highly-indebted poor countries (HIPC), launched in 1996 and extended during the G7 summit in Cologne in June 1999 in order to offer broader and faster debt relief for HIPCs.
The Decision is also based on the Commission’s Communication of 26 October 1999 on a Community participation in the initiative (HIPC).

Unallocated programmable resources from the eighth European Development Fund (EDF) are used in the form of grants for the following purposes:

  • meeting the outstanding debt and debt-servicing obligations to the first ACP countries (before 2001) which qualify under the HIPC initiative (EUR 320 million);
  • contributing to the overall financing of the HIPC initiative by providing up to EUR 680 million for the initiative Trust Fund managed by the World Bank.

For countries which qualify after 2001, the aid is supplemented from further available EDF resources.

The aid is mobilised on the basis of arrangements laid down by the Commission in accordance with the provisions of the ACP Convention. There exist special arrangements within the framework of general coordination with other donors to use the new budgetary margin of manoeuvre for the development of social sectors and for poverty alleviation, in line with the new development strategy of the international community focusing on poverty alleviation.

This Decision applies only to ACP countries. Other measures are envisaged for non-ACP countries.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1/1999 of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers 8.12.1999 OJ L 103 of 28.4.2000

Related Acts

Decision No 2/2001 (PDF ) of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers of 20 December 2001 on settling all ACP HIPC LDCs’ “special loans” remaining after full application of HIPC debt alleviation mechanisms [Official Journal L 56 of 27.2.2002].

Decision No 3/2002 (PDF ) of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers of 23 December 2002 on the reallocation of unallocated resources as well as uncommitted interest subsidies from the Eighth European Development Fund (EDF) [Official Journal L 59 of 4.3.2003].

Execution of orders freezing property or evidence

Execution of orders freezing property or evidence

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Execution of orders freezing property or evidence

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Execution of orders freezing property or evidence

Document or Iniciative

Council Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA of 22 July 2003 on the execution in the European Union of orders freezing property or evidence.

Summary

The Council adopted this framework decision in 2003 on an initiative by Belgium, France and Sweden. The purpose of the framework decision is to establish the rules under which a Member State is to recognise and execute in its territory a freezing order issued by a judicial authority of another Member State in the framework of criminal proceedings.

Mutual recognition of pre-trial orders

The Council extends the mutual recognition principle to pre-trial orders freezing property or evidence. “Freezing order” means any measure taken by a judicial authority in a Member State to prevent the destruction, transformation, displacement, etc. of property. The evidence to which the framework decision applies means objects, documents or data that could be produced as evidence in criminal proceedings.

The state that has made, validated or in any way confirmed a freezing order in the framework of criminal proceedings is called the “issuing state”. The “executing state” is the Member State in whose territory the property or evidence is located.

Decisions executed without verification of double criminality

Article 3 of the framework decision lists a series of serious offences. They are not subject to verification of the double criminality of the act if they are punishable in the issuing state by a custodial sentence of a maximum period of at least three years. The offences include:

  • participation in a criminal organisation;
  • terrorism;
  • corruption and fraud;
  • trafficking in human beings;
  • racism;
  • rape.

The list is not exhaustive; the Council may decide at any time to add further categories. The Commission is to draft a report on the basis of which the Council is to decide whether the list should be extended. The Council is to act unanimously after consultation of the European Parliament.

Conditions for recognition and enforcement of a decision

For offences not included in the list, the executing state may subject the recognition and enforcement of a freezing order to certain conditions:

  • obtaining evidence: the acts for which the order was issued constitute an offence under the laws of that state, whatever the constituent elements or however described under the law of the issuing state;
  • confiscation of property: the acts for which the order was issued must constitute an offence which, under the laws of the executing state, allows for such freezing, whatever the constituent elements or however described under the law of the issuing state.

The execution procedure

The framework decision provides for a certificate for the request for execution. The certificate is transmitted by the judicial authority that issued it directly to the competent judicial authority for execution in the other Member State. The United Kingdom and Ireland may state in a declaration before 2 August 2005 that the freezing order together with the certificate must be sent via a central authority or authorities specified by them in their declarations. They may at any time limit the scope of such a declaration by a further declaration.

The competent judicial authorities of the executing state must recognise a freezing order without any further formality being required and forthwith take the necessary measures for its immediate execution. The executing state must also observe the formalities and procedures expressly indicated by the competent judicial authority of the issuing state in the execution of the freezing order. If such formalities and procedures are contrary to the fundamental principles of law in the executing state, it is not required to observe them.

The property must remain frozen in the executing state until that state has responded definitively to any request.

Grounds for non-recognition or non-execution

The competent judicial authorities of the executing state may refuse to recognise or execute the freezing order if:

  • the certificate is not produced, is incomplete or manifestly does not correspond to the freezing order;
  • there is an immunity or privilege under the law of the executing state that makes it impossible to execute the freezing order;
  • it is instantly clear from the information provided in the certificate that rendering judicial assistance would infringe the ne bis in idem principle – new proceedings cannot be brought if a final judgment has already been given for the same facts;
  • the act on which the freezing order is based does not constitute an offence under the law of the executing state. Two conditions apply here:

– the act must not be on the list of offences in Article 3 for which execution is automatic;

– in relation to taxes or duties, customs and exchange, execution of the freezing order may not be refused on the ground that the law of the executing state does not impose the same kind of tax or duty or does not contain a tax, duty, customs and exchange regulation of the same kind as the law of the issuing state.

The competent judicial authority of the executing state may postpone the execution of a freezing order transmitted where:

  • execution might damage an ongoing criminal investigation;
  • the property or evidence concerned have already been subjected to a freezing order in criminal proceedings;
  • the property is already subject to an order made in the course of other proceedings in the executing state. However, such an order must have priority over subsequent national freezing orders in criminal proceedings under national law.

Member States must ensure that any interested party, including bona fide third parties, have legal remedies without suspensive effect against a freezing order.

References

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

Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA

2.8.2003 2.8.2005 OJ L 196 of 2.8.2005

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission of 22 December 2008 based on Article 14 of the Council Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA of 22 July 2003 on the execution in the European Union of orders freezing property or evidence [COM(2008) 885 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report evaluates the transposition measures that Member States have taken to implement Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA. However, by October 2008, only 19 Member States had notified the Commission of the transposition of the provisions into national law. Furthermore, several omissions and misinterpretations were found in the national laws, and some laws did not make any reference to the framework decision. Consequently, implementation of the framework decision cannot be deemed satisfactory.
The objective of the framework decision as well as the definitions have generally been well implemented by Member States. Similarly, a high number of Member States have implemented the list of offences that are not subject to a dual criminality check.
In terms of the procedure, more improvement is needed regarding the direct transmission of freezing orders between judicial authorities. Currently, many Member States require transmission through a central authority. Nevertheless, almost all Member States have implemented provisions on the immediate execution of decisions and on the duration of the freezing.
More improvements are needed on the implementation of the provisions concerning the grounds for non-recognition and non-execution. Member States have implemented most of these grounds, but they were transposed mostly as obligatory grounds. In addition, 14 Member States have applied additional grounds for refusal, which is not in line with the framework decision.
Concerning grounds for postponement of execution, most Member States have implemented the provisions at least in part. Furthermore, legal remedies are in place in all Member States and usually the measures provided do not require suspensive effect.
The Commission recommends that Member States take this report into consideration, proceed with the necessary legislative actions and transmit all relevant information in accordance with Article 14 of the framework decision to the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.