Tag Archives: Free movement of goods

General arrangements for the holding and movement of products subject to excise duty

General arrangements for the holding and movement of products subject to excise duty

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about General arrangements for the holding and movement of products subject to excise duty

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

Taxation

General arrangements for the holding and movement of products subject to excise duty

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2008/118/EC of 16 December 2008 concerning the general arrangements for excise duty and repealing Directive 92/12/EEC [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This directive establishes the general arrangements for excise duties which affect the consumption of:

  • energy products and electricity covered by Directive 2003/96/EC;
  • alcohol and alcoholic beverages covered by Directives 92/83/EEC and 92/84/EEC;
  • manufactured tobacco covered by Directive 95/59/EC, Directive 92/79/EC and Directive 92/80/EC.

These products are subject to excise duties at the time of:

  • their production, including, where applicable, their extraction, within the European Union (EU);
  • their importation into the EU.

On condition that they do not give rise to formalities on the crossing of frontiers within the EU, EU countries may also levy taxes on:

  • products other than excise goods;
  • the supply of services, including those relating to excise goods, which cannot be characterised as turnover taxes.

This directive applies to the territory of the EU with the exception of certain territories such as:

  • the Canary Islands;
  • the French overseas departments;
  • the Åland Islands;
  • the Channel Islands.

Chargeability, reimbursement, exemption

Excise duties are chargeable at the time of release for consumption in the EU country concerned. The person liable to pay the excise duty is generally the authorised warehousekeeper or the registered consignee.

EU countries may remit or refund excise duty on excise goods which have been released for consumption. EU countries are free to fix the relevant conditions, so long as the result does not create a new class of exemption (see next paragraph).

Excise goods are exempted from payment of excise duty where they are intended to be used:

  • in the context of diplomatic or consular relations;
  • by international organisations;
  • by the armed forces of a State;
  • by the British armed forces stationed in Cyprus;
  • under an agreement concluded with non-EU countries or international organisations.

EU countries may also exempt from payment of excise duty excise goods supplied by tax-free shops * which are carried away in the personal luggage of travellers to a non-EU country by flight or sea-crossing.

Production, processing and holding

The rules concerning the production, processing and holding of excise goods are determined by each EU country. These operations, where the excise duty has not yet been paid, must take place in a tax warehouse *.

Movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty

Excise goods may be moved under a duty suspension arrangement within the EU, from a tax warehouse or from a place of importation to another tax warehouse, an authorised consignee *, a place of exportation from the EU or a beneficiary of the exemption referred to above (diplomatic or consular relations, international organisations, armed forces, etc.). A movement of excise goods must in principle take place under cover of an electronic administrative document.

The competent authorities of the EU country of dispatch may request from the authorised warehousekeeper or registered consignor * a guarantee which covers the risks inherent in the movement under suspension of excise duty. In principle the guarantee can be provided by another party

Movements and taxation of excise goods after release for consumption

Excise duties may be charged only in the EU country in which the goods are acquired by a private individual for his own personal use and transported from one EU country to another by him. To determine whether the excise goods are intended for a private individual, EU countries take account of:

  • the commercial status of the holder of the goods;
  • the place where the goods are located;
  • any document relating to the goods;
  • the nature of the goods;
  • the quantity of the goods.

Where excise goods intended for consumption in an EU country are held for commercial purposes in another EU country, the goods are subject to the excise duties of the latter country. Excise duties paid in the first EU country may be reimbursed.

In the case of distance selling from one EU country to another, the vendor or his agent must pay excise duty in the EU country of destination.

EU countries may require that excise goods carry tax markings or national identification marks.

Directive 2008/118/EC repeals Directive 92/12/EC from 1 April 2010.

Key terms of the Act
  • Tax-free shop: any establishment situated within an airport or port which is authorised to sell tax-free to travellers leaving the EU.
  • Tax warehouse: a place where excise goods are produced, processed, held, received or dispatched under duty suspension arrangements by an authorised warehousekeeper in the course of his business, subject to certain conditions laid down by the competent authorities of the EU country where the tax warehouse is located.
  • Registered consignee: a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the EU country of destination, in the course of his business and under the conditions fixed by those authorities, to receive excise goods moving under a duty suspension arrangement from another EU country.
  • Registered consignor: a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the EU country of importation, in the course of his business and under the conditions fixed by those authorities, to only dispatch excise goods under a duty suspension arrangement upon their release for free circulation.

References

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

Directive 2008/118/EC

 15.1.2009

1.4.2010 

OJ L 9 of 14.1.2009 

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2010/12/EU

27.2.2010

1.1.2011

OJ L 50 of 27.2.2010

Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property

Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property

Topics

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

Taxation

Tax-free allowances: permanent imports of personal property

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2009/55/EC of 25 May 2009 on tax exemptions applicable to the permanent introduction from a Member State of the personal property of individuals.

Summary

This directive provides an exemption for personal property which is permanently introduced from another European Union (EU) country by private individuals from consumption taxes which would normally apply to such property. Personal property refers to property for the personal use of the persons concerned or the needs of their household. Such property must neither have a commercial nature nor be intended for an economic activity. The tools necessary for exercise of a person’s trade or profession are, however, to be treated as personal property.

Riding horses, motor-driven road vehicles (including their trailers), caravans, mobile homes, pleasure boats and private aircraft may only be granted exemption if the private individual concerned transfers his normal residence to the EU country of destination. For the purposes of this directive, ‘normal residence’ is defined as the place where a person usually lives (for at least 185 days in each calendar year) because of personal and occupational ties, or in the case of a person with no occupational ties, because of personal ties which show close links between that person and the place where he/she is living.

Motor-driven road vehicles (including their trailers), caravans, mobile homes, pleasure boats and private aircraft must not be disposed of, hired out or lent during the 12 months following their tax exempt introduction, except in circumstances justified to the satisfaction of the competent authorities in the EU country of destination.

The introduction of the property may be undertaken all at once or in stages, and for any of the following reasons:

  • in connection with a transfer of normal residence: all of the property must be introduced within 12 months of the transfer of normal residence;
  • in connection with the furnishing or relinquishment of a secondary residence: the property must correspond to the normal furniture of the secondary residence and the person concerned must be the owner of the secondary residence or be renting it for a period of at least 12 months;
  • on the occasion of a marriage: the property must be introduced between two months before the marriage date envisaged and four months after the actual marriage date, and proof of marriage must be provided;
  • acquired by inheritance: the property must be introduced within two years of the date on which the person concerned enters into possession of the property, and proof must be provided that the property was acquired by inheritance.

With the exception of certain goods, EU countries have the right to retain or introduce more liberal conditions for granting tax exemptions than those provided for in this directive.

References

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

Directive 2009/55/EC

30.6.2009

OJ L 145, 10.6.2009

Free movement of goods for sporting purposes

Free movement of goods for sporting purposes

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free movement of goods for sporting purposes

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

Education training youth sport > Sport

Free movement of goods for sporting purposes

Since 1993, the single market has provided four freedoms as its cornerstones, one of which is the free movement of goods within the European Union (EU). As an essential element of the single market, the common customs union abolished controls at the Union’s internal borders, thus creating a single trading area where goods may be freely circulated. This principle of free movement of goods is established in Articles 34-35 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which prohibit restrictions on imports and exports between EU countries. The movement of horses and other animals being part of and playing a role in sports within the Union continue to be regulated at the EU level.

Free movement of horses

The EU has adopted measures that regulate the movement of and trade in equidae, which also have repercussions for the movement of horses for sporting purposes.

Directive 2009/156/EC defines the animal health conditions for the movement within the EU and importation from non-EU countries of equidae. It requires registered equidae that will be moved between EU countries to be identified by means of an identification document set out in Directive 90/427/EEC on the zootechnical and genealogical conditions governing intra-EU trade in equidae. These identification requirements are implemented by Regulation (EC) No 504/2008/EC. Specific provisions apply to equidae dispatched from EU countries that are affected by the African horse sickness.

Directive 90/428/EEC governs trade in equidae intended for competitions as well as establishes the conditions for their participation in competitions. It relates to all types of competitions and to all equidae, whether registered or not. The competition rules may not discriminate between equidae that are registered in or that originate from the EU country in which the competition is being held and equidae registered in or originating from another EU country. Equal treatment of equidae must be ensured with respect to the:

  • requirements for entering competitions;
  • judging of competitions;
  • prize money or profits that may accrue from competitions.

Nevertheless, EU countries may make exceptions to these rules when they organise:

  • competitions reserved for a particular breed registered in a specific studbook (register), with a view to improving that breed;
  • regional competitions;
  • historic or traditional events.

In addition, the Commission has adopted Decision 93/195/EEC, which lays down the animal health conditions for the re-entry of registered horses for racing, competition and cultural events after temporary export to non-EU countries.

The Commission has also laid down rules for the temporary admission (for a maximum of 89 days) of registered horses in Decision 92/260/EEC. This decision is mainly, but not exclusively, used in the arrival from and return to their home countries outside the EU of sport horses.

The mutual recognition principle in the single market

The mutual recognition principle in the single market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The mutual recognition principle in the single market

Topics

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

Internal market > Internal market: general framework

The mutual recognition principle in the single market

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission “Mutual recognition in the context of the follow-up of the action plan for the single market” [COM(1999) 299 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

At the invitation of the Internal Market Council of March 1998, the Commission has undertaken an analysis of the difficulties encountered in the application of mutual recognition.

IMPORTANCE OF MUTUAL RECOGNITION FOR THE SINGLE MARKET

The mutual recognition principle guarantees free movement of goods and services without the need to harmonise Member States’ national legislation. Goods which are lawfully produced in one Member State cannot be banned from sale on the territory of another Member State, even if they are produced to technical or quality specifications different from those applied to its own products. The only exception allowed – overriding general interest such as health, consumer or environment protection – is subject to strict conditions. The same principle applies to services.

In general, the rules of the Member State of origin prevail. This guarantees compliance with the principle of subsidiarity by avoiding the creation of detailed rules at EU level and by ensuring greater observance of local, regional and national traditions and makes it possible to maintain the diversity of products and services. It is thus a pragmatic and powerful tool for economic integration.

PROBLEMS WITH APPLICATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE CAUSES

Available information. One of the problems concerns availability of reliable information necessary for evaluation. Available figures do not allow a precise estimation of the economic impact of mutual recognition, but it is clear that the principle is a very important mechanism for a large number of industry and services sectors. The only figures available concern the number of complaints lodged with the Commission. The number of cases where producers have complied with countries’ requirements or withdrawn their products is unknown.

Obstacles. According to the results of surveys conducted in industry, there are still some obstacles at the level of technical standards and regulations. The service sector estimates that in general the obstacles to free movement of goods remained practically the same between 1996 and 1998. Other problematic issues have been identified:

  • on consumer protection grounds, controls that are not always necessary are imposed in the countries of destination;
  • in the internal administrative organisation, better management is hampered by administrative delays, costs of procedures and inability to deal with complex issues (for example innovative products and services);
  • a lack of mutual confidence in the acts of other Member States continues.

These problems have prompted some operators to adapt their products to local requirements or even, in extreme cases, to forgo marketing their products or services in another Member State.

Products. Most problems relate to guaranteed protection, since the country of destination is often convinced that its safety arrangements are the only good ones. The fields most affected are food, electrical engineering, vehicles, precious metals, construction and chemicals.

Services. The service sectors about which the Commission receives most complaints are as follows: business communications, construction, patent agents and security services. Available figures do not give an accurate picture of the situation because of the small number of complaints lodged with the Commission. In the regulated professions, difficulties in the implementation of the mutual recognition principle continue to affect individuals. In the field of financial services, the Commission finds evidence of inappropriate use of the notion of “general interest” and of consumer protection designed to inhibit the marketing of financial products. In the field of business communications, national differences, in particular in advertising, frustrate the creation of a genuine single market. Finally, as regards electronic commerce, legal barriers still restrict the opportunities in the single market.

PROPOSALS

Ensure credible monitoring. In order to assess progress, the Commission will prepare, every two years, evaluation reports, whose conclusions will be included in the single market scoreboard in order to make Member States more aware of the existing problems and to find solutions. The Commission undertakes to give greater attention to the compliance with obligations by the Member States, including the opening of infringement proceedings. Moreover, the possibilities offered by the notification procedure should be fully used to promote mutual recognition and prevent the emergence of new obstacles.

Actions targeted at citizens and economic operators. The Commission proposes two action plans, one for the Commission itself, the other for the Member States.

Action by the Commission. The Commission undertakes to facilitate dialogue between the citizens and companies. To improve information and economic analysis, the Commission proposes:

  • producing a Guide on application of the mutual recognition principle in the field of industrial products and a brochure explaining the implementation of Decision 3052/95 concerning the measures derogating from the principle of free movement of goods;
  • an economic analysis of the application of mutual recognition in various different sectors in order to obtain a better evaluation (economic benefits and costs of non-implementation);
  • an analysis of the national consumer protection rules for financial products.

The Commission proposes the following training measures:

  • organise sectoral roundtables of representatives of Member States’ competent authorities and professional organisations;
  • draw up specific projects at national level in order to disseminate information about the mutual recognition principle to the target public.

In order to make mechanisms for dealing with problems more effective, it is planned to:

  • use biennial reports to assess more accurately whether or not new harmonisation initiatives are needed;
  • draw up a model application form to be used between bodies responsible for application of mutual recognition and the European and national federations;
  • make it possible for economic operators to ask for reasons why an application has been rejected and improve the handling of complaints by the Commission, in particular in problem sectors;
  • extend the “package meetings” on goods between the Commission and Member States to the services sector and follow more systematically solutions proposed by Member States;
  • develop a Community network for handling complaints in the field of financial services;
  • take specific sectorial initiatives for better application of the principle in services, in particular in the sectors of air transport and telecommunications.

In order to take into account the international dimension of mutual recognition and to reduce, or even eliminate, barriers to trade, the Commission intends to conclude mutual recognition agreements under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and in the area of trade in goods under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Action by Member States. As Member States are the main actors in the implementation of the mutual recognition principle, the Commission proposes that they give the following undertakings:

  • to apply the judgments of the Court of Justice on including mutual recognition clauses in national legislation;
  • to reply within a reasonable time to requests for the application of mutual recognition, except in particularly sensitive cases;
  • to strengthen cooperation between the national administrations of Member States with the new telematics contact network, meetings of heads of coordination centres, and more systematic use of contact points as well as greater involvement of national coordinators (particularly in the area of regulated professions);
  • to prepare regular reports on problems with application and potential solutions.

Background

In 1997, the Commission adopted the Single Market Action Plan, which set out in detail the priority measures to be taken to improve the functioning of the single market by 1 January 1999. These included the application of the principle of mutual recognition.
Two years later in 1999, the Commission published this Communication, which serves as a basis for the Council Resolution on mutual recognition (see “Related Acts”).

Related Acts

Council Resolution of 28 October 1999 on mutual recognition [Official Journal C 141 of 19.5.2000].
The Council stresses the importance of mutual recognition for the proper functioning of the single market. This requires a coherent combination of harmonised legislation, standardisation, instruments for conformity assessment and mutual recognition. The Council considers further efforts necessary in the area of products (in particular food, electrical engineering, construction and motor vehicles), services (in particular financial services) and professional qualifications (recognition of diplomas). It criticises unduly burdensome and complicated administrative procedures and the lack of information in the administrations of several Member States about legislation and verification procedures in other Member States.

The Council urges Member States to:

  • review and simplify relevant national legislation and application procedures, step up the effectiveness and speed of these procedures, and strengthen administrative cooperation;
  • make economic operators and the general public aware of their rights;
  • keep the Commission informed about the problems with application and ensure that obligations relating to exchange of information are honoured.

The Council calls on the Commission to:

  • gather all information about successes and shortcomings and their economic impacts and publish this in the single market scoreboard;
  • make the general public and economic operators aware of their rights via general information campaigns;
  • ensure that the policies in that domain are coordinated with other Community policies.

Economic operators and citizens are encouraged to inform the Member States and the Commission about all problems they have encountered.

Commission interpretative communication on facilitating the access of products to the markets of other Member States: the practical application of mutual recognition [C/2003/3944 – Official Journal C 265 of 4.11.2003].
This communication aims to clarify the “mutual recognition” principle and thus help businesses and national administrations make it work better. It is a practical guide which describes how this principle should work in practice and summarises the rights it gives to economic operators. The communication forms part of the internal market strategy 2003-06. It will be followed by wide consultation with Member States, industry and consumer organisations. Depending on the results of this consultation, the Commission could submit a proposal for legislation to reinforce the way mutual recognition is implemented.

EXTERNAL ASPECTS – AGREEMENTS WITH THIRD COUNTRIES

Council Resolution of 24 June 1999 on the management of agreements on mutual recognition [Official Journal C 190 of 7.7.1999].
The Council welcomes the conclusion of mutual recognition agreements between the European Community (EC) and Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America. These agreements aim to ensure effective market access across the whole territory of the parties to all products covered by the agreements. The Council calls on the Commission to:

  • prepare a proposal for guiding principles for the management of agreements on mutual recognition with third countries and draft a model agreement for future negotiations;
  • prepare a vade mecum explaining the agreements on mutual recognition and their application;
  • prepare regular reports on the application of existing agreements.

 

Internal market in electricity

Internal market in electricity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internal market in electricity

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

Internal market in electricity (from March 2011)

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Directive is aimed at introducing common rules for the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity. It also lays down universal service obligations and consumer rights, and clarifies competition requirements.

Rules for the organisation of the sector

The rules for the organisation of the sector are aimed at developing a competitive, secure and environmentally sustainable market in electricity.

Member States may impose on undertakings operating in the electricity sector public service obligations which cover issues of security and security of supply, regularity and quality of service, price, environmental protection and energy efficiency.

Member States shall ensure that all customers have the right to choose their electricity supplier and to change supplier easily, with the operator’s assistance, within three weeks. They shall also ensure that customers receive relevant consumption data.

Electricity suppliers are obliged to inform final customers about:

  • the contribution of each energy source;
  • the environmental impact caused;
  • their rights in the event of a dispute.

Member States shall put in place an independent mechanism (energy ombudsman or consumer body) to manage complaints or disputes efficiently.

Member States are also obliged to ensure the monitoring of security of supply. They shall define technical safety criteria to ensure the integration of their national markets at one or more regional levels. In addition, the national regulatory authorities are to cooperate with the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators to guarantee the compatibility of regulatory frameworks between regions.

Generation

Member States shall define criteria for the construction of generating capacity in their territory taking account of aspects such as:

  • the security and safety of electricity networks;
  • the protection of health and public safety;
  • the contribution made towards the Commission’s “20-20-20” objectives.

Transmission system operation

From 3 March 2012, Member States must unbundle transmission systems and transmission system operators.

An undertaking must first be certified before being officially designated as a transmission system operator. A list of transmission system operators designated by Member States shall then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Transmission system operators are mainly responsible for:

  • ensuring the long-term ability of the system to meet demands for electricity;
  • ensuring adequate means to meet service obligations;
  • contributing to security of supply;
  • managing electricity flows on the system;
  • providing to the operator of any other system information related to the operation, development and interoperability of the interconnected system;
  • ensuring non-discrimination between system users;
  • providing system users with the information they need to access the system;
  • collecting congestion rents and payments under the inter-transmission system operator compensation mechanism.

Distribution network operation

Member States shall designate distribution system operators or require undertakings that own or are responsible for distribution systems to do so.

Distribution system operators are mainly responsible for:

  • ensuring long-term capacity of the system in terms of the distribution of electricity, operation, maintenance, development and environmental protection;
  • ensuring transparency with respect to system users;
  • providing system users with information;
  • covering energy losses and maintaining reserve electricity capacity.

Member States have the option of putting in place a closed distribution system to distribute electricity within a geographically confined industrial, commercial or shared services site.

Unbundling and transparency of accounts

Member States and the competent authorities have right of access to the accounts of electricity undertakings but shall preserve the confidentiality of certain information.

Electricity undertakings shall keep separate accounts for their transmission and distribution activities.

Organisation of access to the system

Member States shall organise a system of third party access to transmission and distribution systems. The tariffs based on that system shall be published.

Member States shall also lay down criteria for the granting of authorisations to construct direct lines in their territory, on an objective and non-discriminatory basis.

National regulatory authorities

Member States shall designate a regulatory authority at national level. It shall be independent and exercise its powers impartially. It is mainly responsible for:

  • fixing transmission or distribution tariffs;
  • cooperating in regard to cross-border issues;
  • monitoring investment plans of the transmission system operators;
  • ensuring access to customer consumption data.

Retail markets

Member States shall ensure that contractual arrangements, commitment to customers, data exchange and settlement rules, data ownership and metering responsibility are defined.

Non-household customers may contract simultaneously with several suppliers.

Derogatory measures

A Member State may take the necessary safeguard measures in the event of a sudden crisis in the market or where the safety of persons is threatened. Derogations may also be obtained in the event of operating problems in isolated systems.

This Directive repeals Directive 2003/54/EC with effect from 3 March 2011.

Context

The Communications entitled ‘Prospects for the internal gas and electricity market’ and ‘Sector inquiry into the gas and electricity markets’ emphasised the inadequate framing of the rules and measures in force relating to the internal electricity market. The Commission deemed it important to amend the current rules with a view to ensuring fair competition and supplying electricity at the lowest possible price in order to complete the internal market in energy.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2009/72/EC

3.9.2009

3.3.2011

OJ L211 of 14.8.2009

Internal market in gas

Internal market in gas

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internal market in gas

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

Internal market in gas (from March 2011)

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Directive aims at introducing common rules for the transmission, distribution, supply and storage of natural gas. It concerns mainly natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), biogas and gas from biomass.

Rules for the organisation of the sector

The rules for the organisation of the sector are aimed at creating a competitive, secure and environmentally sustainable market in natural gas.

Member States may impose on undertakings operating in the gas sector public service obligations which cover issues of security and security of supply, regularity and quality of service, price, environmental protection and energy efficiency.

Member States shall ensure that all customers have the right to choose their gas supplier and to change supplier easily, with their operator’s assistance, within three weeks. They shall also ensure that customers receive relevant consumption data.

Member States are responsible for monitoring security of supply issues and in particular those related to the balance of supply and demand on the national market, available supplies, maintenance of the networks and the measures to be taken in the event of supply problems. Regional or international cooperation may be put in place to ensure security of supply.

Member States shall ensure the integration of national markets at one or more regional levels, as a first step towards the integration of a fully liberalised internal market. The gas islands in isolated regions shall also be integrated. In this context, the national regulatory authorities shall cooperate with the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

Transmission, storage and LNG

From 3 March 2012, Member States shall unbundle transmission systems and transmission system operators.

An undertaking must first be certified before being officially designated as a transmission system operator. A list of transmission system operators designated by Member States shall then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

In addition, Member States shall designate one or more storage and LNG system operators responsible for:

  • operating, maintaining and developing transmission systems, storage and/or LNG facilities with due regard to the environment;
  • ensuring non-discrimination between system users;
  • providing information to any other transmission system operator, any other storage system operator, any other LNG system operator and/or any distribution system operator to ensure the interconnection of the transmission and storage of natural gas;
  • providing system users with the information they need to access the system.

Transmission system operators shall build sufficient cross-border capacity to integrate the European transmission infrastructure. Every year, they shall submit to the regulatory authority a ten-year network development plan indicating the main infrastructure that needs to be built or modernised as well as the investments to be executed over the next ten years.

Distribution and supply

Member States shall designate distribution system operators or require undertakings which own or are responsible for distribution systems to do so.

Distribution system operators are mainly responsible for:

  • ensuring the long-term capacity of the system in terms of the distribution of gas, operation, maintenance, development and environmental protection;
  • ensuring transparency with respect to system users;
  • providing system users with information;
  • covering energy losses and maintaining reserve capacity.

The distribution system operator shall be independent in legal terms from other activities not relating to distribution.

Distribution systems responsible for distributing natural gas within a geographically confined industrial, commercial or shared services site may be classified by the competent authorities as closed distribution systems. On this basis, they may be exempted from the requirement to have their tariffs, or the methodologies underlying their calculation, approved in advance.

Unbundling and transparency of accounts

Member States and the competent authorities shall have right of access to the accounts of natural gas undertakings but shall preserve the confidentiality of certain information.

Natural gas undertakings shall keep separate accounts for all of their activities relating to the supply of gas, such as transmission and distribution.

Organisation of access to the system

Member States or the competent regulatory authorities shall define the conditions for access to storage facilities and linepack. They shall take measures to ensure that eligible customers can obtain access to upstream pipeline networks. Moreover, they shall organise a system of third party access to transmission and distribution systems.

Natural gas undertakings may refuse access to the system on the basis of lack of capacity or where access to the system would compromise the performance of their public service obligations. Substantiated reasons shall be given for any such a refusal.

Final provisions

A Member State may take the necessary safeguard measures in the event of a sudden crisis in the market or where the safety of persons is threatened. These measures shall be notified to the other Member States and to the Commission.

This Directive repeals Directive 2003/55/EC as from 3 March 2011.

Context

The 2007 Commission Communications entitled “Prospects for the internal gas and electricity market” and “Sector inquiry into the gas and electricity markets” highlighted the inadequacy of the rules and measures in force relating to the internal market in gas in meeting the objectives laid down for the proper functioning of the internal market. The adoption of new rules was required.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2009/73/EC

3.9.2009

3.3.2011

OJ L211 of 14.8.2009

Procedures for the registration of motor vehicles originating in another Member State

Procedures for the registration of motor vehicles originating in another Member State

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Procedures for the registration of motor vehicles originating in another Member State

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

Procedures for the registration of motor vehicles originating in another Member State

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission – Interpretative communication of 14 February 2007 on procedures for the registration of motor vehicles originating in another Member State [SEC(2007) 169 final – Official Journal C 68 of 24.3.2007]

Summary

Even though buying or transferring vehicles to another Member State has become increasingly simple, many citizens and enterprises still shy away from paperwork, extra costs and burdensome procedures. For all that, it has become easier to buy a vehicle in another Member State thanks to the introduction of the following:

  • EC type-approval system for whole vehicles;
  • regulation of distribution and after-sales service of vehicles;
  • harmonised registration certificate for vehicles.

This Communication is part of the new impetus for trade in goods in the European Union (EU). It lists the legislation on the registration of vehicles originating in another Member State and on transfer of registration between Member States. It also contains a commitment to draw up an explanatory guide and to assist the national authorities in optimum application of Community law.

REGISTERING A MOTOR VEHICLE IN THE MEMBER STATE OF RESIDENCE

Registration is the natural corollary of the exercise of the powers of taxation on vehicles. Private individuals must register their vehicles in the Member State of their normal residence, i.e. where the permanent centre of their interests is located.

  • Approval of the technical characteristics of the vehicle

Approval of the technical characteristics of the vehicle takes the form of either EC type-approval or national approval.

Valid in all Member States, EC type-approval is the procedure by which a Member State certifies that a type of vehicle complies with the European safety and environmental protection standards. Cars approved since 1996, motorcycles approved since May 2003 and tractors approved since 2005 are subject to this procedure.

Once in possession of EC approval, the manufacturer issues an EC certificate of conformity. This certificate shows that the vehicle has been manufactured in conformity with the approved vehicle type. It must accompany each new EC type-approved vehicle.

Vehicles that are not EC-approved may be subject to national approval in the receiving Member State before they can be registered. This national approval may be either individual (in particular for vehicles imported individually from third countries) or type (for a category of vehicle).

National type and individual approval procedures fall outside the scope of Community law. On the other hand, national approval procedures for motor vehicles which have already obtained a national approval in another Member State and for motor vehicles that were already registered in another Member State, must comply with the rules of the free movement of goods.

It is appropriate for the competent national authorities to:

  • take into account the tests and certificates issued by their counterparts and by the manufacturer;
  • refuse to approve a vehicle which poses a genuine risk to public health;
  • carry out tests if they enable further information to be obtained;
  • determine on which points the vehicle is not in conformity with the requirements;
  • apply proportionate national technical criteria.

The technical characteristics of a vehicle previously approved and registered in another Member State are assessed in the light of the technical rules in force in the receiving Member State, on the basis of the rules which were in force at the moment of approval in the Member State of origin.

  • Roadworthiness testing of used vehicles

The objective of roadworthiness testing is to verify that the vehicle is suitable for use on public roads. This type of testing may be carried out if it is based on objective, non-discriminatory criteria which are known in advance, if it does not duplicate controls which have already been carried out and if it is readily accessible and can be completed within a reasonable time.

  • Vehicle registration

By registering the motor vehicle, the Member State authorises its entry into service in road traffic, involving the identification of the motor vehicle and the issuing of a registration number.

On first registration, the receiving Member State may require data from the person concerned and the EC certificate of conformity of a new EC-approved vehicle if it originates from another Member State. On the other hand, for non-EC-approved vehicles, it may request presentation of the national type-approval or individual approval and proof of insurance cover. Member States are also entitled to check, at the moment of registration, whether VAT has been correctly paid.

For vehicles previously registered in another Member State, the receiving country may only request: the roadworthiness certificate, the EC or national certificate of conformity, the original or a copy of the non-harmonised registration certificate issued in another Member State, the harmonised registration certificate, the insurance certificate and proof of payment of the VAT.

TRANSFERRING A VEHICLE TO ANOTHER MEMBER STATE

As a general rule, a motor vehicle cannot be driven on public roads without displaying a registration number. In addition, civil liability must be covered by insurance and it is advisable for motorists to have the “green card” with them.

The vehicle licence plate is equivalent to an insurance certificate. This allows vehicles with a European licence plate to circulate freely in the EU without any checks of the compulsory motor liability insurance certificate at the borders.

To drive a motor vehicle lawfully to the Member State of destination, either the motor vehicle carries a professional registration plate or a temporary registration plate.

  • Driving the motor vehicle with professional number plates

Professional number plates allow retailers to drive vehicles temporarily without being obliged to formally register them. Member States usually provide a document establishing the link between the registration plates and their holder and/or require the holder to keep a logbook.

  • The motor vehicle carries a temporary registration plate

The system of temporary registration enables the motor vehicle to be driven for a short period before it obtains final registration. A Member State may impede its circulation for reasons relating to road safety, theft or invalidity of the certificate.

Insurance must be taken out in the Member State of destination.

SCOPE

This Communication applies to the first registration of vehicles, as well as the registration of vehicles previously registered in another Member State, regardless of whether they are new or used.

A vehicle is “previously registered in another Member State” when it has obtained the administrative authorisation for the entry into service in road traffic, involving its identification and the issuing of a registration number.

REMEDIES

Any decision taken by authorities refusing the type-approval or registration must be notified to the vehicle owner, informing him of the remedies available to him and of the time limits allowed.

Citizens and enterprises may also seek a solution for approval or registration problems through the SOLVIT network or by making a complaint to the Commission, which may then initiate infringement proceedings.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 14 February 2007 entitled “The Internal Market for Goods: a cornerstone of Europe’s competitiveness” [COM(2007) 35 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Defence-related products: rules on transfer within the EU

Defence-related products: rules on transfer within the EU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Defence-related products: rules on transfer within the EU

Topics

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

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Intellectual property

Defence-related products: rules on transfer within the EU

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community (Text with EEA relevance) [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The aim of this Directive is to facilitate the transfer of defence-related products within the European Union (EU) and to improve the competitiveness of the defence sector in Europe and industrial cooperation between the Member States.

This Directive establishes a European authorisation system based on issuing transfer licences to suppliers. This system increases the transparency and security of transfers in the EU. It also facilitates the purchasing, maintenance and repair of European defence products.

This Directive applies to the defence-related products stated on a list annexed to the Directive. The Commission updates the list regularly so that it strictly corresponds to the Common Military List of the European Union.

Transfer licences

The Directive makes the transfer of defence-related products subject to prior authorisation from the Member State from whose territory the defence products are to be transferred.

The Directive states that no other authorisation from other Member States is required for transit through Member States or entry to the territory of the Member State where the recipient of the defence-related products is located, except on grounds of public security or public policy, for example in the area of safety of transport.

There are three types of transfer licences:

  • general licences;
  • global licences;
  • individual licences.

General licences are published by Member States and are addressed to all suppliers established within their territory who comply with the conditions of the general licence. With these licences, suppliers can carry out several transfers of defence-related products to one or several categories of recipients situated in another Member State.

The Directive specifies the cases which must at least have a general licence: transfers to certified companies, transfers to the armed forces of other Member States, transfers for demonstration, evaluation or exhibition purposes and transfers for maintenance and repair purposes.

This type of licence may also cover transfers relating to an intergovernmental cooperation programme.

Global licences are issued to individual suppliers on their request. On the basis of this request from the supplier, Member States determine the scope of the global licence, its duration (three years, renewable) and the authorised recipients.

Individual licences are also issued at the supplier’s request. They are limited to a single transfer of products to a single recipient. They are permitted by the Directive in four cases only:

  • if the request is limited to a single transfer;
  • if it is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the Member State or on grounds of public policy;
  • if it is necessary for compliance with international obligations and commitments of Member States;
  • if there is serious reason to believe that the supplier will not be able to comply with all the terms and conditions necessary to grant it a global transfer licence.

Information obligations of suppliers

Member States ensure that suppliers of defence-related products:

  • inform recipients of the terms and conditions relating to the end-use of the transfer licence;
  • inform the competent authorities of the Member State from whose territory they wish to transfer defence-related products of their intention to use a general licence for the first time;
  • keep detailed records of their transfers.

Certification of recipients

The Directive establishes a certification system of recipients. This system aims at establishing the ability of recipients to comply with the safety rules relating to the particular nature of products in the field of defence.

Member States designate authorities to carry out the certification of recipients established within their respective territories. The certification is drawn up according to the following criteria:

  • proven experience and reputation in defence activities;
  • relevant industrial activity in defence-related products within the EU;
  • appointment by the company of a senior person responsible for transfers and exports;
  • written commitment of the company to observe and enforce the conditions related to end-use and export of received components or products;
  • written commitment of the company to provide the authorities with the information requested concerning the end-users or end-use of products exported, transferred or received under a transfer licence from another Member State by the company;
  • a signed description of the internal compliance programme or the export management system implemented in the company.

Valid for a maximum period of five years, the certificate mentions the name of the issuing authority, the name and address of the recipient, its date of issue and period of validity and a statement that the recipient complies with the requirements. The Directive requires Member States to recognise certificates issued in accordance with the Directive by other Member States.

Member States publish und update regularly the list of certified undertakings and forwards the information to the other Member States and the Commission, which then makes it publicly available on its website.

If a Member State considers that there is a serious risk that any certified recipient in another Member State will not respect any condition attached to a general transfer licence, it informs the Member State which issued the certificate and requests evaluation of the situation. If doubts remain, it can suspend the transfer licence, informing the other Member States and the Commission.

Moreover, Commission Recommendation 2011/24/EU on the certification of defence undertakings gives practical advice to Member States for implementing this system of certification.

Background

The transfer of defence-related products within the EU was subject to 27 national licensing systems which differed greatly in terms of procedures, scope and time taken to obtain licences. This diversity adversely affected both the competitiveness of European defence undertakings and the establishment of a genuine European market in defence products. Moreover, the constraints associated with the obtaining of licences in the EU appeared excessive compared with the real control needs in so far as thousands of requests for licences are lodged every year while none is refused.

References

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

Directive 2009/43/EC

30.6.2009

30.6.2011

OJ L146, 10.6.2009

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

Directive 2010/80/EU

14.12.2010

30.6.2011

OJ L308, 24.11.2011

Intellectual property rights: enhancing their enforcement

Intellectual property rights: enhancing their enforcement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Intellectual property rights: enhancing their enforcement

Topics

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

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Intellectual property

Intellectual property rights: enhancing their enforcement

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 11 September 2009 – Enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market [COM(2009) 467 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication presents measures aimed at safeguarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and combating counterfeiting and piracy within the internal market.

European Observatory

The European Commission is establishing a European Observatory, the aim of which is to gather, monitor and report information and data related to IPR.

This Observatory requires collaboration between Member States and the private sector.

The main functions of the Observatory are:

  • the collection and use of independent, reliable information and data;
  • the dissemination of best practice amongst public authorities;
  • the dissemination of successful private sector strategies;
  • the assessment and identification of solutions for specific geographical areas.

The Observatory should be based on existing European Commission structures, and the Commission will provide the central administrative resource. It will however be possible, where necessary, to make use of external expertise.

The Commission has asked the Member States to appoint a national representative for the Observatory and has requested the participation of the private sector including a broad range of national and pan-European bodies representing the different economic sectors most involved in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. European consumers are also represented and invited to play an active role.

Administrative cooperation across Europe

It is necessary to improve cross-border cooperation between different enforcement authorities in view of the international nature of IPR infringements.

Cooperation between the Commission and Member States should also be consolidated in the context of a borderless internal market. In this regard, the creation of a network of contact points across the European Union would be a relevant solution.

As the national centres of IPR expertise, National Intellectual Property Offices also have a role to play. They can contribute to developing strategic approaches and the dissemination of best practices.

National bodies should improve transparency in respect of the activities that they carry out in the field of IPR protection. The Commission, on the basis of information collected from Member States, is responsible for analysing the structures that Member States have put in place and drafting a report to map existing strategies, frameworks and best practices.

Stakeholders in European cooperation in the field of IPR should have access to an electronic network for the exchange of information on infringements that have been committed. This network will need to:

  • support ‘real-time’ exchanges of information on goods and services infringing IPR;
  • put in place an effective system of alerts concerning specific products or potential threats;
  • facilitate communication between the parties involved, particularly to overcome language barriers;
  • raise consumers’ awareness of the growing threat of counterfeiting and piracy and the associated risks.

Voluntary arrangements between stakeholders

The Commission wishes to encourage rights holders and the other parties involved to engage in dialogue and to share their common interests in combating IPR infringements. In this regard, voluntary arrangements seem to be the most appropriate solution, since this type of agreement allows for rapid adaptation to new technologies and may be extended beyond the European Union (EU).

The sale of counterfeit goods over the Internet has developed considerably in recent years. The Commission considers this sector as a priority for action where the method of dialogue and cooperation agreements could be applied effectively.

Brand owners and Internet companies alike have therefore committed themselves to developing a collaborative method. This involves a Memorandum of Understanding dealing with prevention, identification and removal of infringing offers and sellers from Internet platforms.

The Commission envisages legislative solutions if voluntary arrangements cannot be implemented.

Context

IPR infringements, particularly counterfeiting and piracy, cause widespread economic harm and even pose a threat to public health and consumer safety. The Commission therefore considers it necessary to protect IPR in order to foster economic growth, innovation and creativity.

Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Topics

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

Internal market > Free movement of goods: general framework

Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 (See amending act(s)).

Summary

Intrastat, which has been in operation since 1993, is the system for the provision of statistical information on dispatches and arrivals of Community goods. The provision of statistics is essential for the development of European policies on the internal market and market analysis.

Statistics concerned

This Regulation simplifies the Intrastat system which was established in 1993 and improves the comparability of statistics between Member States. It establishes a common framework for the collection and production of Community statistics on the trading of goods between Member States. ‘Trading of goods between Member States’ means any movement of merchandise from one Member State to another and ‘merchandise’ means all movable property, including electric current.

Register management

National authorities set up and manage a register of intra-European Union operators made up of consignors and consignees. The parties responsible for providing information * for Intrastat are those operators whose annual trade amount – dispatches and arrivals – is of a certain value. The other operators are exempt from all statistical requirements. This value is re-defined each year and is fixed separately for dispatches and arrivals so that a minimum amount of data is collected for each trade flow. This relates to exclusion thresholds.

Data to be collected by the Intrastat system

The parties responsible for providing information provide the national statistical authorities with the following data:

  • the identification number allocated to the party responsible for providing information;
  • the reference period;
  • the flow (arrival, dispatch);
  • the commodity, identified by the eight-digit code of the Combined Nomenclature;
  • the partner Member State;
  • the value of the goods in the national currency;
  • the quantity of the goods in net mass (weight excluding packaging) and the supplementary unit (litre, m², number of items, etc.), if relevant;
  • the nature of the transaction.

Simplifying the Intrastat system

This regulation modifies the Intrastat system in order to take better account of users’ needs while alleviating the statistical obligations of intra-EU operators. Each year, Member States re-define their exclusion thresholds and communicate these amounts to Eurostat. These thresholds are set in such a way so as to collect data relating to at least 97% of all dispatches and at least 95% of all arrivals of national intra-Community operators.

Statistical confidentiality

Any party responsible for providing information may request that their data receives statistical confidentiality. Following this request, the national authorities shall decide whether the statistical results which make it possible to identify the said provider are to be disseminated or are to be amended in such a way that their dissemination does not prejudice statistical confidentiality.

Transmission of data to Eurostat

Member States shall transmit to Eurostat the monthly results of their statistics on the trading of goods between Member States.

Member States must ensure the quality of the data transmitted in accordance with the standards in force. The statistics must fulfil certain criteria:

  • relevance;
  • accuracy;
  • timeliness;
  • punctuality;
  • accessibility and clarity;
  • comparability;
  • coherence.

The Committee for the statistics on the trading of goods between Member States is given the task of assisting the Commission in applying this regulation.

This Regulation shall apply from 1 January 2005 and repeals Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 as of this date.

Key terms used in the act
  • Parties responsible for providing information: natural or legal persons registered for VAT in the Member State of dispatch or arrival of goods who are involved in the dispatch or delivery of goods.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 638/2004

27.4.2004

OJ L 102 of 7.4.2004

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

Regulation (EC) No 222/2009

20.4.2009

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 638/2004 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.