Tag Archives: PL

Placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

Placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

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Food safety > Veterinary checks animal health rules food hygiene

Placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

The European Union has created a secure monitoring framework for placing on the market and importing aquaculture animals and products. This framework is based on the approval of disease-free regions and on categorising different types of diseases to which different health rules will apply.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 91/67/EEC of 28 January 1991 concerning the animal health conditions governing the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products [See amending acts]

Summary

This Directive creates a framework designed to overcome obstacles to trade in aquaculture animals while at the same time avoiding the spread of infectious diseases, particularly in disease-free regions of the European Union.

This framework is based on the identification of zones or farms that are free from serious endemic disease. The Directive lays down the criteria and procedures for the granting, maintenance, suspension, restoration and withdrawal of approval of such zones and farms.

It also stipulates the documents required for transport within these zones: aquaculture animals and products must be accompanied by a movement document and a health certificate.

The Directive also lays down Community rules applying to importation from non-member countries in order to protect the health of aquaculture animals in the Member States.

The diseases and the animals likely to be affected are set out in three separate lists:

  • an exotic disease, infectious salmon anaemia, for which all infected fish are destroyed as quickly as possible and any suspected cases of infection lead to a ban on animal movements not authorised by a veterinarian;
  • four serious endemic diseases which must be eradicated in the long term: infectious haematopoietic necrosis and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia for fish, and bonamiosis and marteiliosis for molluscs;
  • some less dangerous diseases for which control and eradication measures are less stringent.

This Directive will be repealed and replaced from 1 August 2008 by Council Directive 2006/88/EC (see “Related Acts” below).

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 91/67/EEC 04.02.1991 01.01.1993 OJ L 46 of 19.02.1991
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 93/54/EEC 30.06.1993 OJ L 175 of 19.07.1993
Directive 95/22/EC 31.10.1995 30.06.1996 OJ L 243 of 11.10.1995
Directive 97/79/EC 19.02.1998 30.06.1999 OJ L 24 of 30.01.1998
Directive 98/45/EC 03.07.1998 30.06.1999 OJ L 189 of 03.07.1998
Regulation (EC) No 806/2003 05.06.2003 OJ L 122 of 16.05.2003

Related Acts

2006/88/EC of 24 October 2006 on animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof, and on the prevention and control of certain diseases in aquatic animals [Official Journal L 328 of 24.11.2006].

This Directive repeals and replaces, as of 1 August 2008, the rules concerning animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products as well as measures for the prevention and control of diseases affecting fish and molluscs. This legislation needs to be updated to take account of developments within the industry, the experience gained and scientific advances in this field, and to bring it into line with international agreements and standards.

Commission Decision 2003/390/EC of 23 May 2003 establishing special conditions for placing on the market of aquaculture animals species considered not susceptible to certain diseases and the products thereof [Official Journal L 135 of 3.6.2003].

Commission Decision 1999/567/EC of 27 July 1999 laying down the model of the certificate referred to in Article 16(1) of Council Directive 91/67/EEC [Official Journal L 216 of 14.8.1999].

See the rules of the hygiene package.

 

Placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin

Placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin

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Food safety > Veterinary checks animal health rules food hygiene

Placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 1999/879/EC of 17 December 1999 concerning the placing on the market and administration of bovine somatotrophin (BST) and repealing Decision 90/218/EEC.

Summary

This Decision is intended to regulate the marketing and use of bovine somatotrophin, or bovine growth hormone, within the European Union (EU).

The Decision thus prohibits the placing on the market of bovine somatotrophin on EU territory for the purpose of its marketing and the administration thereof to dairy cows by any means whatsoever.

The production or importation of bovine somatotrophin in the Member States for the purposes of exporting it to third countries continues to be authorised.

In addition, undertakings which produce or are authorised to market somatotrophin are required to keep registers detailing, in chronological order, the quantities produced or acquired and the quantities sold or used for purposes other than placing on the market, as well as the names of the persons to whom such quantities were sold or from whom they were purchased.

Background

In accordance with Directive 2001/82/EC, no substance, with the exception of those given for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes, is to be administered to an animal unless it has been demonstrated by scientific studies of animal welfare or established experience that the effect of that substance is not detrimental to the health or welfare of the animal.

Somatotrophin is produced only to enhance milk production, and the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (which has been replaced by the European Food Safety Authority) stated in March 1999 that somatotrophin increased the risk of infections in cattle and that it could adversely affect reproduction and induce severe reactions in cattle to which it was administered.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 1999/879/EC 01.01.2000 OJ L 331 of 23.12.1999

Plant health checks

Plant health checks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Plant health checks

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Food safety > Plant health checks

Plant health checks

In order to prevent any risk to human food and animal feed and to guarantee healthy and good quality crops, the EU places great emphasis on plant and crop protection. There are therefore checks on the movement of plants within the EU or from third countries in order to combat the emergence and spread of harmful organisms. The EU also ensures that plant health products are not harmful to health or the environment, specifically through an authorisation system and maximum residue limits in plants.

PHYTOPHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS: EVALUATION AND AUTHORISATION

  • Placing of plant protection products on the market
  • The placing of plant protection products on the market (until June 2011)
  • Plant protection products prohibited (until June 2011)
  • Supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products
  • Training of food safety control authorities

PESTICIDE RESIDUES

  • Biocides
  • Pesticides
  • Maximum pesticide limits for food products for human consumption and animal feedingstuffs
  • Towards a thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides

PLANT HEALTH AND PLANT PROTECTION – HARMFUL ORGANISMS

  • Protection against organisms harmful to plants and plant products

Plant protection products prohibited

Plant protection products prohibited

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Plant protection products prohibited

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Food safety > Plant health checks

Plant protection products prohibited (until June 2011)

The European Union regulates the placing on the market and use of plant protection products and lists the prohibited active substances.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 79/117/EEC of 21 December 1978 prohibiting the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances [See amending acts].

Summary

The purpose of this Directive is to prohibit the placing on the market and use of plant protection products * containing certain active substances *.

This Directive, and its subsequent amendments, include an annexed list of the active substances that may be neither placed on the market nor used. However, temporary derogations may be granted at national level for specific uses.

Active substances are included in the Annex if their use gives rise, or is likely to give rise, to harmful effects on human or animal health or to unacceptable adverse effects on the environment.

Where an unforeseeable danger threatens plant production and cannot be contained by other means, the Member State in question may permit the placing on the market and the use of the product for a maximum period of 120 days.

The Directive does not apply to plant protection products to be used for research or analysis, or exported to a third country.

Context

As of 14 June 2011, this Directive is repealed by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 regarding the placing of plant protection products on the market.

Key terms used in the act
  • Plant protection products: active substances and preparations containing one or more active substances which do one or more of the following:
    a) protect plants or plant products against all harmful organisms or prevent the action of such organisms;
    b) influence the life processes of plants, other than as a nutrient (e.g. plant growth regulators);
    c) preserve plant products, in so far as such substances or products are not subject to special provisions on preservatives;
    d) destroy undesirable plants or
    e) destroy parts of plants, check or prevent undesired growth of plants.
  • Active substances: substances or micro-organisms including viruses having general or specific action against harmful organisms or on plants, parts of plants or plant products.

References

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

Directive 79/117/EEC

22.12.1978

1.1.1981

OJ L 33 of 08.02.1979

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

Directive 86/214/EEC

4.6.1986

OJ L 152 of 6.6.1986

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003

5.6.2003

OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEX

Annex – List of prohibited active substances and derogations

Directive 83/131/EEC [Official Journal L 91 of 9.4.1983];
Directive 85/298/EEC [Official Journal L 154 of 13.6.1985];
Directive 86/355/EEC [Official Journal L 212 of 2.8.1986];
Directive 87/181/EEC [Official Journal L 71 of 14.3.1987];
Directive 87/477/EEC [Official Journal L 273 of 26.9.1987];
Directive 89/365/EEC [Official Journal L 159 of 10.6.1989];
Directive 90/335/EEC [Official Journal L 162 of 28.6.1990];
Directive 90/533/EEC [Official Journal L 296 of 27.10.1990];
Directive 91/188/EEC [Official Journal L 92 of 13.4.1991];
Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 [Official Journal L 158 of 30.4.2004].

Placing of plant protection products on the market

Placing of plant protection products on the market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Placing of plant protection products on the market

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Food safety > Plant health checks

Placing of plant protection products on the market

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC.

Summary

The Regulation confirms the importance that the European Commission places on a higher level of health and environmental protection, whilst seeking to harmonise the placing of plant protection products * on the market. Furthermore, it aims to improve agricultural production.

The scope of this Regulation covers plant protection products and their active substances *.

The Regulation lays down approval criteria for active substances. An active substance shall be approved if it fulfils the criteria detailed in points 2 and 3 of Annex II to the Regulation. These criteria relate to the efficacy of the substance, its composition, its characteristics, the methods of analysis available, the impact on human health and the environment, ecotoxicology and the relevance of metabolites and residues. As such, an active substance shall only be approved if it is not classified as category 1A or 1B mutagenic, carcinogenic or toxic for reproduction, and is not considered to have endocrine disrupting properties. Furthermore, an active substance which is considered to be a persistent organic pollutant, or as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, or even as a very persistent and very bioaccumulative substance, shall not be approved.

The first approval is valid for a limited period which cannot exceed ten years and may be subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding, for example, the purity of the active substance, the intended crop and the category of user.

Authorisation to place plant protection products on the market remains the responsibility of Member States. Applications are submitted to the Member State where the product is intended to be placed on the market for the first time. Applications shall be accompanied by two dossiers containing all the information available to enable the potential effects of the plant protection product on human and animal health, and the possible impact on the environment, to be assessed. The information provided by the applicant or the producer may be protected by a confidentiality clause if it constitutes an industrial or trade secret.

The time required to examine the application for authorisation to place a plant protection product on the market is limited to a period of twelve months, commencing on the date that the Member State receives the application. During this period, the Member State shall check whether the product concerned satisfies the authorisation conditions. If further information is required, the Member State may extend the initial assessment period in order to allow the applicant time to provide it. This period may not exceed six months and shall expire when the Member State receives the additional information. Where at the end of that period, the applicant has not submitted the missing elements, the Member State shall inform the applicant that the application is inadmissible.

Authorisation for placing on the market is valid for 10 years and may be renewed. A Member State may review an authorisation at any time if it no longer complies with one of the pre-conditions for placing on the market. Should this be the case, a Member State may withdraw or amend the authorisation.

The principle of mutual recognition established in this Regulation enables the holder of an authorisation to place the product on the market in another Member State insofar as the agricultural, plant health and environmental conditions are comparable in the regions concerned. However, the Member State may provisionally limit or ban the movement of a product on its territory if the product in question presents a risk to human or animal health, or to the environment.

In order to ensure protection for certain crops, the Regulation enables the holder of an authorisation for a plant protection product which has already been authorised in the Member State concerned, to request that the authorisation be extended to minor uses not yet covered by that authorisation. These extensions of use are also covered by the principle of mutual recognition.

Member States shall update the information on authorised or withdrawn plant protection products at least once every three months. This information shall be accessible to the public.

A provisional authorisation may be granted for the placing on the market of plant protection products containing an active substance which has not yet been approved. The provisional authorisation shall be granted for a period not exceeding three years.

The classification, labelling and packaging of plant protection products is also subject to the requirements provided for by Directive 1999/45/EC regarding dangerous preparations. The packaging of the aforementioned products should prevent consumers from using the products incorrectly.

Member States shall carry out official controls in order to enforce compliance with this Regulation. They shall finalise and transmit to the Commission a report on the scope and the results of these controls within six months of the end of the year to which the report relates. The Commission shall call on experts to carry out general and specific audits in the Member States. The aim of these audits is to verify the official controls carried out by the Member States.

The Commission may adopt emergency measures in order to restrict or prohibit the use and/or sale of a plant protection product if it is likely to constitute a serious risk to human or animal health or the environment, and that such a risk cannot be contained by the Member State(s) concerned.

Context

On 14 June 2011, this Regulation shall repeal and replace:

  • Directive 79/117/EEC concerning prohibited plant protection products; and
  • Directive 91/414/EEC concerning authorised plant protection products.
Key terms of the Act
  • Plant protection product: products consisting of or containing active substances, safeners or synergists, and intended for one of the following uses:
    1. protecting plants or plant products against all harmful organisms or preventing the action of such organisms, unless the main purpose of these products is considered to be for reasons of hygiene rather than for the protection of plants or plant products;
    2. influencing the life processes of plants, such as substances influencing their growth, other than as a nutrient;
    3. preserving plant products, in so far as such substances or products are not subject to special Community provisions on preservatives;
    4. destroying undesired plants or parts of plants, except algae unless the products are applied on soil or water to protect plants;
    5. checking or preventing undesired growth of plants, except algae.
  • Active substances: substances or micro-organisms, including viruses, having general or specific action against harmful organisms or on plants, parts of plants or plant products.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009

14.12.2009

OJ L 309 of 24.11.2009

Placeholder Hungary

placeholder Hungary

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about placeholder Hungary

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Research and innovation > Research and innovation: international dimension and enlargement

placeholder Hungary

Placeholder Slovenia

placeholder Slovenia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about placeholder Slovenia

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Research and innovation > Research and innovation: international dimension and enlargement

placeholder Slovenia

Placing taxation at the service of research and development

Placing taxation at the service of research and development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Placing taxation at the service of research and development

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Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Placing taxation at the service of research and development

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 22 November 2006 to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee: “Towards a more effective use of tax incentives in favour of R&D” [COM(2006) 728 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In line with its commitment to promote a more consistent and favourable tax environment for R&D, while recognising national prerogatives, the European Commission, through this new Communication, intends:

  • to clarify the rules on the compatibility of tax incentives with Community law;
  • to identify good practices in designing tax incentives for research;
  • to present a number of possible future initiatives aimed at improving consistency in Europe with regard to questions of common interest to do with the taxation of R&D.

Community law and R&D tax incentives

This section focuses on the legal parameters for all R&D tax incentives and provides guidance on the design features of such incentives to avoid incompatibility with Community law.

Territorial restrictions * are the main reason why such incentives are incompatible with Community law. They can be explicit * or implicit * restrictions. In practice, any territorial restriction, whether explicit or implicit, has, in the Commission’s view, to be regarded as infringing upon the fundamental freedoms (freedom of establishment, freedom to supply services) laid down in the EC Treaty.

However, certain restrictions may, under certain conditions, be justified:

  • either by virtue of exemptions expressly provided for by the Treaty (see Articles 46 and 55);
  • or on grounds recognised as “overriding requirements in the general interest”.

The Commission identifies a number of arguments already invoked by the Member States in defence of their territorial restrictions before the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ):

  • fiscal supervision;
  • loss of tax revenue;
  • prevention of tax avoidance;
  • promotion of national R&D and competitiveness.

To sum up existing case law, there is ample evidence that territorial restrictions on the application of R&D task incentives are unlikely to be accepted by the ECJ. Thus, when designing R&D tax incentives, Member States should take into account the fact that any explicit, and in some cases implicit, form of territorial restriction would not be considered to be in accordance with the EC Treaty. This does not, however, preclude territorial restrictions which simply reflect the territoriality of the tax competence of Member States. For example, a wage tax or social security incentive for R&D personnel might, by its nature, be limited, de facto, to persons performing R&D activities in the Member State in which they are taxed or pay social security contributions.

Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the compatibility of tax incentives with Community state aid rules. According to Article 87 (formerly Article 92) of the EC Treaty, “any aid granted by a Member State or through state resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall, in so far as it affects trade between Member States, be incompatible with the common market”.

Tax incentives may constitute state aid if they:

  • meet the criteria laid down in Article 87;
  • are covered by the relevant case law of the ECJ;
  • do not fall under the de minimis Regulation.

One of the main criteria for determining whether or not a tax incentive * constitutes state aid is its selectivity.

Since exemptions are possible, the Commission will assess state aid for research, development and innovation (RDI) that is brought to its attention, and in particular R&D tax incentives, in the light of the Community framework for state aid for research, development and innovation. It also calls on Member States to take into account this framework when designing R&D tax incentives.

Good design features for R&D tax treatment and incentives

In recent years, a growing number of Member States have introduced some form or other of R&D tax incentive. Currently, 15 Member States have acted. Experience has shown that there is no single answer as to how R&D tax incentives should be designed and implemented as circumstances differ from one country to another (general tax policy, industrial structure, level and nature of private-sector R&D performance, etc.),

Nevertheless, despite these differences, a number of guiding principles can be defined.

The tax incentives must:

  • reach more firms;
  • include all current expenses;
  • consider certain types of R&D-related capital expenditure.

It is essential:

  • to focus on ascertaining the direct additionality of tax incentives and their behavioural additionality;
  • to consider evaluation criteria and data from the design stage;
  • to test, a posteriori, the impact of incentives, the efficiency of the delivery mechanism and their wider societal effects.

The detailed guidance annexed to the Communication has been drawn up on the basis of the work of an expert group under the aegis of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the European Council and the Commission (CREST). The Commission will continue to promote the sharing of experience and good practices by setting up a network of national experts in 2007.

Guidelines for tackling problems of common interest

In addition to the need for Member States to take into account the fundamental principles set out above, the Commission sheds light on a number of desirable initiatives for reconciling tax policy and the knowledge economy at EU level.

The Commission calls on Member States to discuss the introduction of a consistent tax framework that:

  • is conducive to supporting large-scale transnational R&D projects;
  • is favourable to young innovative enterprises;
  • promotes philanthropic funding of research;
  • facilitates cross-border mobility of researchers;
  • facilitates cross-border outsourcing of R&D within the EU;
  • simplifies VAT rules and their application to R&D as regards public entities;
  • lays down a common tax definition of R&D;
  • provides for R&D tax treatment in the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCTB).

Background

Against the background of the relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy, at the beginning of 2005, the European Union (EU) set a target of 3% of GDP for R&D spending by 2010, of which two thirds should come from the private sector. The trend to provide more favourable tax treatment for R&D is becoming more common in the Member States. However, the growing diversity of R&D tax incentives risks further fragmenting the fiscal landscape but could be prejudicial to transnational cooperation within the EU.

Key terms used in the act
  • Territorial restrictions: measures or factors that, explicitly or implicitly, favour domestically performed R&D over that performed elsewhere in the EU.
  • Explicit territorial restriction: this may be, for example, a legal provision which restricts the benefit of an R&D tax incentive to activities performed domestically.
  • Implicit territorial restriction: this includes, for example, a tax incentive covering the costs of subcontracted R&D but limiting the proportion of R&D that can be subcontracted to non-resident entities.
  • Selectivity of the tax incentive: a tax incentive is considered selective if its potential beneficiaries are restricted notably in terms of size (e.g. SMEs), location or sector and, as such, is likely to constitute state aid.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 September 2006 – Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU [COM(2006) 502 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Communication

from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 October 2005 – The contribution of taxation and customs policies to the Lisbon Strategy [COM(2005) 532 final – Non published in the Official Journal]


Communication

from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 12 October 2005 – More research and innovation – Investing for growth and employment [COM(2005) 488 final – Official Journal C 49, 28.02.2006]


Communication

from the Commission: – Investing in research: an action plan for Europe [COM(2003) 226 final – Non published in the Official Journal].

Plan to harmonise national rules on UCITS depositaries

Plan to harmonise national rules on UCITS depositaries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Plan to harmonise national rules on UCITS depositaries

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Internal market > Financial services: transactions in securities

Plan to harmonise national rules on UCITS depositaries

The European Commission would like to reduce the divergences that exist between the national rules governing depositaries entrusted with the safe keeping of assets on behalf on investors in undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) * such as unit trusts, common funds and SICAVs. By following a step-by-step approach, the Commission, in cooperation with the national regulators, intends to facilitate the cross-border activity of such UCITS. There are four main areas of action: prevention of conflicts of interest, clarification of the depositary’s liability, convergence of national prudential rules, and moves to enhance invstor transparency and information. UCITS are established in all Member States and their assets total some four thousand billion euros.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 30 March 2004 on “Regulation of UCITS depositaries in the Member States: review and possible developments” [COM(2004) 207 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In response to the conclusions of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council in June 2001 calling on it to prepare a report on the regulation of UCITS * depositaries and on the need to amend such regulation, the Commission is examining the existing legal framework. It notes that there are significant differences between Member States as regards, for example, minimum capital requirements, statutory and regulatory obligations, and the liability regimes for depositaries.

If cross-border activity is to expand, these rules must be harmonised. Fund managers and supervisory authorities will want to know exactly the resources and liabilities of depositaries established in other Member States before they are authorised to do business. In addition, investors will need to be better informed.

Favouring a step-by-step approach, the Commission is planning to entrust to regulatory experts in the European Union (EU) four areas of work for the period 2004-06: to promote better prevention of conflicts of interest; to clarify the extent of the depositary’s liability; to promote convergence of prudential requirements, notably those relating to capital and to the taking-up and exercise of the function of depositary; to tighten the standards on investor transparency and information.

The Commission states that a chapter on depositaries will initially be attached to its overall UCITS report under Directive 2001/108/EC in 2005. This chapter will specify to what extent EU legislation on the relationship between fund manager and depositary will have to be strengthened and what degree of harmonisation is needed as regards the typology of eligible depositary institutions and, consequently, their missions and resource requirements. A subsequent report reviewing progress is to be adopted in 2006. It will also evaluate whether is a need to legislate at Community level in order to create a fully-fledged European passport for expanding the cross-border activity of depositaries.

Better prevention of conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest arise when the interests of investors are not the prime concern of the depositary or fund manager. The Commission is proposing measures to strengthen convergence of the relevant national rules. Such convergence will relate notably to the list of the functions that the fund manager can delegate to the depositary and, conversely, the list of the functions that the depositary may delegate.

Clarification of the extent of the depositary’s liability

The differences in the level and extent of the depositary’s liability are a major obstacle if there is to be a high level of investor protection throughout the EU and if the scope for depositaries to engage in cross-border activities is to be expanded. The Commission thus regards it as essential that there should be a common reading of the main task of the depositary, namely asset safe keeping, and of the specific control duties assigned to the depositary.

Convergence of prudential requirements

The prudential rules governing the taking-up and pursuit of the activity of depositary differ significantly between Member States as there is no common European definition of eligible institutions. The Commission is proposing to align these rules more closely, particularly those relating to capital requirements, by identifying a specific group of institutions subject to prudential supervision.

Enhancement of transparency and investor information

The Commission identifies the areas where public information standards should be strengthened: organisation of the depositary’s tasks, measures to prevent conflicts of interest, the depositary’s liability and all the costs connected to his services.

Background

This communication is in response to the remit assigned to the Commission in June 2001 by he Economic and Financial Affairs Council. The approach it advocates is based on an extensive survey and on an Internet consultation in the autumn of 2002 concerning the different national rules impeding the development of the internal market in the case of UCITS depositaries. The survey identified major disparities between national rules that help to explain the current fragmentation of the market (in virtually 95% of cases UCITS depositaries are national institutions). The internet consultation revealed significant differences in connection, for example, with minimum capital requirements, statutory obligations and the extent of the depositary’s liability. For there to be a genuine internal market in depositaries’ services, these rules need to be brought into line.

Alongside the fund and its manager, the UCITS depositary is the third pillar of the European UCITS system set up by Directive 85/611/EEC.
In 2001 the EU adopted two other UCITS Directives amending Directive 85/611/EEC (one focuses on the instruments in which funds may invest and the other on management companies, thereby setting in place a “European passport” scheme).

Key terms used in the act
  • UCITS: Depending on the jurisdiction, UCITS can be constituted either under the law of contract (as common funds) or trust law (as trusts) and also under statute, i.e. in corporate form (as investment companies). The Directive may refer to both non-corporate forms under one designation, e.g. as common funds or unit trusts. Importantly, some Member States’ legal frameworks are limited to common funds, i.e. all their UCITS are without legal personality and depend on a designated external fund manager (a management company).
  • UCITS depositary: Directive 85/611/EEC (as amended) defines it simply as an entity entrusted with specific prudential missions and subject to a number of other general provisions. The UK regulatory designation is twofold, according to whether these missions have to be achieved with regard to unit trusts (by a “trustee”) or with regard to an investment company (by a “depositary”). However, for the reader’s convenience, only the term “depositary” has been used in this communication.
    It should also be noted that the specific regulatory meaning of the designation “UCITS depositary” is precisely based on the peculiar nature of these missions and obligations and, more generally, of the provisions drawn up under UCITS national regulation from Community law. The scope of the concept of “safekeeping” of assets, to which it is particularly related, has thus to be considered in this specific context.
  • UCITS fund manager: This may be either a “management company” or a “self-managed investment company”. Unlike common funds or unit trusts, corporate UCITS, i.e. investment companies, may bring together a vehicle (the fund) and a fund management capacity into the same entity. Directive 2001/107/EC defines them as “investment companies which have not designated a management company” in their instruments of incorporation, i.e. self-managed investment companies. In this Communication, most of the remarks concerning the “fund manager” or “management company” should also be deemed to apply to self-managed investment companies, except that these may not receive any task under a delegation mandate, e.g. from the depositary.

Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

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 > Fight against trafficking in human beings

Plan on best practices, standards and procedures

Document or Iniciative

EU plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings [Official Journal C 311 of 9.12.2005].

Summary

The Hague Programme, adopted by the European Council in November 2004, invited the Commission and the Council to establish a plan in 2005 for developing common standards, best practices and mechanisms to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings.

General principles governing implementation of the action plan

In the communication to the Parliament and the Council of 18 October 2005 on fighting trafficking in human beings, the Commission laid down the specific means necessary for developing an integrated approach to tackling trafficking in human beings. This approach is based on respect for human rights and a coordinated policy response, notably in the areas of freedom, security and justice, external relations, development cooperation, social affairs and employment, gender equality and non-discrimination.

It is vital to improve our collective understanding of the issues involved in human trafficking. In particular, it is important to understand its root causes in the countries of origin and the factors that facilitate its development in the countries of destination, as well as its links with other forms of crime. In order to improve our knowledge of the scale and nature of this phenomenon as it concerns the European Union (EU), common guidelines need to be developed by autumn 2006 on the collection of data, including comparable indicators. A common research template needs to be developed for EU countries in order to increase research in specific areas, starting with child trafficking.

The EU recognises that it is indispensable to ensure that the human rights of victims of human trafficking are respected at every stage of the process. EU countries should set up an appropriate governmental coordination structure to evaluate and coordinate national policies and to ensure that the victims are treated appropriately.

EU countries and the Commission should implement policies that reinforce the criminalisation of human trafficking, protecting vulnerable groups such as women and children in particular.

The EU’s policy in this area should aim for a child’s rights approach based on internationally recognised principles. In particular, the policy should respect the principles set out in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and take account of the Council of Europe Action Programme on Children and Violence (2006-08).

Gender-specific strategies should be adopted as a key element in combating trafficking in women and girls. This includes implementing gender equality principles and eliminating demand for all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and domestic labour exploitation.

A number of actions to prevent trafficking in human beings will be taken by the end of 2006. For example, EU campaign materials will be prepared to raise awareness of the dangers involved and to publicise crime prevention and criminal justice in order to deter traffickers. A network of media contacts will be created on trafficking to raise public awareness of successes within and outside the EU.

Human trafficking is a serious crime against persons that must be addressed as a clear law enforcement priority. It must be converted from a “low risk/high reward enterprise for organised crime” into a high risk/low reward activity. The EU should step up its operations to ensure that trafficking in human beings does not generate any economic advantage and, where profits are made, to seize and confiscate all of them.

There should be increased cooperation with the agencies responsible for the control of working conditions and for financial investigations related to irregular labour in order to combat human trafficking for labour exploitation.

In the same way, the law enforcement agencies need to work more with Europol, which should regularly participate in exchanges of information, joint operations and joint investigative teams. Eurojust should also be consulted to facilitate the prosecution of traffickers.

Strategies to combat human trafficking should be coordinated with strategies to combat corruption and poverty. Employers’ organisations, trade unions and civil society organisations active in this field should also cooperate with the public authorities. EU countries and institutions must continue to cooperate with the relevant international organisations, such as the United Nations, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

Regional solutions for the prevention of trafficking in human beings and the protection of its victims are essential. EU countries and the Commission should make greater efforts to promote regional initiatives that supplement and inspire cooperation at EU level.

This action plan will be revised and updated regularly. The annexed table of actions will facilitate regular evaluation and updates.

Related Acts

Commission working document of 17 October 2008 – Evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the EU plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings [COM(2008) 657 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report provides an overview of the implementation of anti-trafficking measures in the EU countries and Norway, as well as by the EU bodies.
The approximation of EU countries’ anti-trafficking legislation has proceeded rapidly in the past years, especially with regard to criminal law and victim assistance. However, there are large inconsistencies between adopting and implementing legislation. Furthermore, the Commission is contemplating the revision of the framework decision on trafficking. In this manner, the support mechanisms for victims will also be made more effective. The law enforcement and judicial cooperation at an international level has increased as well; nevertheless, more efforts need to be made. Government coordination mechanisms are also now set up, but work needs to still be done on monitoring systems.
The relevant EU bodies have also taken steps to implement certain anti-trafficking measures. Yet, considerable weaknesses still exist in practice and some measures remain to be implemented altogether.
In continuing with the EU anti-trafficking policy, the Commission is proposing that, in the short term, efforts be concentrated on the following crucial actions:

  • the establishment of National Rapporteurs, especially for monitoring purposes;
  • the creation or improvement of national mechanisms for the identification of and referral to victim support services;
  • the creation or improvement of child protection systems;
  • the provision of support, including financial, to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in the field;
  • the organisation of trainings for relevant stakeholders;
  • the improvement of coordination of investigations and prosecutions;
  • the further development of cooperation on anti-trafficking measures with the EU’s external partner countries.

The outcomes of this plan will be used as the basis for a new post-2009 strategy.