Tag Archives: Public service

Public passenger transport service by rail and road

Public passenger transport service by rail and road

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Public passenger transport service by rail and road

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

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

Public passenger transport service by rail and road

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road, and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 1191/69 and (EEC) No 1107/70

Summary

Public service compensation may be necessary to ensure the provision of services of general economic interest (SGEI) and guarantee safe, efficient, attractive and high quality passenger transport.

This Regulation applies to regular and non-limited access, national and international public passenger transport services by rail and other track-based modes and by road.

Public service contracts and general rules

The competent authority * is obliged to conclude a public service contract with the operator to which it grants an exclusive right and/or compensation in exchange for discharging public service obligations * (PSO). Obligations which aim to establish maximum tariffs for all or certain categories of passengers may be subject to general rules.

To define the framework for the competent authority, the latter grants compensation for the net positive or negative financial impact on costs and revenue occasioned by compliance with the pricing obligations established in the general rules.

The public service contracts * and general rules define:

  • the PSO to be fulfilled by the operator and the areas concerned;
  • the parameters based on which compensation must be calculated and the nature and scope of all exclusive rights granted to avoid any overcompensation;
  • the means of distributing the costs linked to service supply (staff costs, energy, infrastructure, maintenance, etc.);
  • the means of distributing income from the sale of transport tickets between the operator and the competent authority.

The duration of public service contracts is limited and must not exceed ten years for bus and coach services, and fifteen years for passenger transport services by rail or other track-based modes. This period may be extended by up to 50 % under certain conditions.

Awarding of public service contracts

Public service contracts are awarded according to the rules laid down in this Regulation. However, for awarding certain passenger transport services by bus or tram, the procedures of Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC apply.

Subject to certain reservations detailed in Article 5 of the Regulation, local authorities may provide public transport services themselves or assign them to an internal operator over which they have control comparable to that over their own services.

Any competent authority who uses a third party other than an internal operator must award public service contracts by means of transparent and non-discriminatory competitive procedures which may be subject to negotiation.

The obligation to instigate competitive procedures does not apply to:

  • low level contracts, the average annual value of which is estimated at less than EUR 1 000 000 or which supply less than 300 000 kilometres of public passenger transport services;
  • where emergency measures are taken or contracts are imposed in response to actual or potential service interruptions;
  • regional or long distance rail transport.

Terms and conditions

The Member States have three months to provide the Commission with all the information necessary to determine whether the compensation allocated is compatible with this Regulation.

Each competent authority must publish a global annual report on the public service obligations incumbent on them and the resultant compensation received by them.

One year prior to any competitive procedure, the competent authority must ensure that the following information is published in the Official Journal of the European Union: name and contact details of the competent authority, type of allocation proposed and services and territories likely to be affected.

The Member States must gradually come into line with the Regulation, with the end of the transition period fixed at 3 December 2019.

Background

This Regulation forms part of the objectives in the Commission’s white paper of 12 September 2001 entitled “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide” and repeals Regulations (EEC) No 1191/61 and (EEC) No 1107/70.

Key terms used in the act
  • Competent authority: any public authority or group of public authorities in one or more Member States which can intervene in public passenger transport in a given geographical area, or any body invested with such power;
  • Public service obligation: requirement defined or determined by a competent authority to guarantee general interest services in terms of passenger transport which an operator, in considering its own commercial interest, would not assume or would not ensure in the same measure or under the same conditions, without compensation;
  • Public service contract: all arrangements made between one or more transport operators with one or more responsible authorities for all the rights and obligations of the service in question, including any unilateral public acts.

Reference

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 3.12.2009 OJ L 315 of 3.12.2007

State aid for public service broadcasting

State aid for public service broadcasting

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid for public service broadcasting

Topics

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

Audiovisual and media

State aid for public service broadcasting

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting [Official Journal C 257 of 27.10.2009].

Summary

Since the 2001 Communication from the Commission on the application of state aid rules to public broadcasting, technological changes have significantly changed the broadcasting and audiovisual markets, including an increase in competition with new players entering the market as well as the availability of new media services. In order to compete, both public and private broadcasters have had to diversify their activities, moving to new distribution platforms and expanding the range of their services. This diversification of the publicly funded activities of public service broadcasters has resulted in a number of complaints by other market players. There have also been significant legal developments since the 2001 Communication, with the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive which extends the scope of the European Union (EU) audiovisual regulation to emerging media services. Due to these technological, market and legal developments, an update to the 2001 Communication on state aid for public broadcasting is necessary.

The assessment of state aid in the EU is based on Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)). In accordance with Article 107 TFEU, state aid includes the following conditions:

  • aid must be granted by an EU country, or by means of state resources;
  • it must distort or threaten to distort competition by favouring the beneficiary;
  • it must be liable to affect trade between EU countries.

Article 106(2) TFEU (ex-Article 86(2) TEC) provides a derogation from the ban on state aid for undertakings operating a service of general economic interest. To benefit from this exemption, the following conditions apply:

  • the service in question is clearly defined as a service of general economic interest by the EU county concerned;
  • the undertaking in question must be explicitly entrusted by the EU country with the provision of that service;
  • the ban on state aid must obstruct the performance of the particular tasks assigned to the undertaking and the exemption from the ban must not affect the development of trade to an extent that would be contrary to EU interests.

For public broadcasting the above must be adapted in accordance with the Amsterdam Protocol which:

  • states that the public service remit is conferred, defined and organised by each EU country;
  • provides for a derogation for funding granted to broadcasting organisations for the fulfilment of the public service remit so long as it does not affect trading conditions and competition in the EU to an extent that would be contrary to EU interests.

The state aid assessment by the Commission requires transparency. This consists of a precise definition of the public service remit. The undertaking carrying out this service must be clearly entrusted with that task. The public service compensation should not exceed the net costs of the public service. EU countries should ensure regular supervision of the use of public funding and the carrying out of the public service mandate.

In relation to the diversification of public broadcasting services, the Commission considers that public service broadcasters should be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitisation and internet-based services to benefit society by offering services on all platforms, provided that it does not distort competition or disproportionately affect the market. However, EU countries must consider whether significant new audiovisual services envisaged by public service broadcasters fulfil the conditions of the Amsterdam Protocol in serving the democratic, social and cultural needs of the society, without having disproportionate effects on trading conditions and competition. EU countries must determine what qualifies as a significant new service.

The rapid evolution of the broadcasting markets means that broadcasters are turning to new sources of financing, such as online advertising or the provision of services for payment. Whilst traditionally public broadcasting services are free-to-air, the Commission considers that a direct remuneration in such services does not necessarily mean that the services are not part of the public service remit. The communication states that as long as the pay element does not compromise the benefit to society which distinguishes public services from purely commercial activities.

White Paper on services of general interest

White Paper on services of general interest

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about White Paper on services of general interest

Topics

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

Internal market > Single market for services

White Paper on services of general interest

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 12 May 2004 entitled “White Paper on services of general interest” [COM(2004) 374 final – Not yet published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This White Paper presents the Commission’s conclusions following a broad public consultation launched on the basis of the Green Paper. The consultation showed up significant differences in points of view and outlook. Nevertheless, a consensus seems to have emerged on the need to ensure the harmonious combination of market mechanisms and public service missions. The White Paper sets out the Commission’s approach in developing a positive role for the European Union in fostering the development of high-quality services of general interest and presents the main elements of a strategy aimed at ensuring that all citizens and enterprises in the Union have access to high-quality and affordable services.

In submitting this White Paper, the Commission does not intend to close the debate that has developed at European level. Its aim is to make a contribution to the ongoing discussion and take it further by defining the Union’s role and a framework that allows these services to function properly.

SERVICES OF GENERAL INTEREST: AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF THE EUROPEAN MODEL AND A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

The White Paper stresses the importance of services of general interest as one of the pillars of the European model of society and the need to ensure the provision of high-quality and affordable services of general interest to all citizens and enterprises in the European Union. In the Union, services of general interest remain essential for ensuring social and territorial cohesion and for the competitiveness of the European economy.

While the provision of services of general interest can be organised in cooperation with the private sector or entrusted to private or public undertakings, the definition of public service obligations and missions remains a task for the public authorities at the relevant level. The relevant public authorities are also responsible for market regulation and for ensuring that operators accomplish the public service missions entrusted to them.

In this context, the White Paper states that responsibility for services of general interest is shared between the Union and its Member States. This shared responsibility is the concept underlying Article 16 of the EC Treaty, which confers responsibility upon the Community and the Member States to ensure, each within their respective powers, that their policies enable operators of services of general economic interest to fulfil their missions. The right of the Member States to assign specific public service obligations to economic operators and to ensure compliance is also implicitly recognised in Article 86(2) of the EC Treaty.

The EC Treaty gives the Community a range of resources to ensure that users have access to high-quality, affordable services of general interest in the European Union. The Commission takes the view that its powers are appropriate and sufficient for the maintenance and development of effective services throughout the Union. Nevertheless, it is primarily for the relevant national, regional and local authorities to define, organise, finance and monitor services of general interest.

THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE COMMISSION’S APPROACH

The Commission’s approach is based on a number of principles that are reflected in the Community’s sectoral policies and can be clarified on the basis of the results of the debate on the Green Paper:

  • Enabling public authorities to operate close to citizens:
    The Commission respects the essential role of the Member States and of regional and local authorities in the area of services of general interest. The Community’s policies on services of general interest are based on various degrees of action and the use of various instruments, in line with the principle of subsidiarity.
  • Achieving public service objectives within competitive open markets:

    An open and competitive internal market, on the one hand, and the development of high-quality, accessible and affordable services of general interest, on the other, are compatible objectives.
  • Ensuring cohesion and universal access:

    The access of all citizens and enterprises to affordable, high-quality services of general interest throughout the territory of the Member States is essential for the promotion of social and territorial cohesion in the European Union, including the reduction of obstacles caused by the lack of accessibility of the outermost regions.
  • Maintaining a high level of quality, security and safety:

    The Commission wishes to guarantee, in addition to the supply of high-quality services of general interest, the physical safety of consumers and users, everyone involved in the production and delivery of these services and the general public, and, in particular, provide protection against possible threats such as terrorist attacks or environmental disasters.
  • Ensuring consumer and user rights:
    These include, in particular, access to services, in particular cross-border services, throughout the territory of the Union and for all groups of the population, affordability of services, including special schemes for persons on low incomes, physical safety, security and reliability, continuity, high quality, choice, transparency and access to information from providers and regulators.
  • Monitoring and evaluating performance:

    The Commission takes the view that systematic evaluation and monitoring is vital for maintaining and developing high-quality, accessible, affordable and efficient services of general interest in the European Union. The evaluation should be multidimensional and focus on all the legal, economic, social and environmental aspects. It should also take into account the features of the sector evaluated and situations specific to the various Member States and their regions.
  • Respecting the diversity of services and situations:

    The diversity of services must be maintained because of the different needs and preferences of users and consumers resulting from different economic, social, geographical or cultural situations. This is true in particular for social services, health care and broadcasting.
  • Increasing transparency:

    The principle of transparency is a key concept for the development and implementation of public policies regarding services of general interest. It ensures that public authorities can exercise their responsibilities and that democratic choices can be made and are respected. The principle should apply to all aspects of delivery and cover the definition of public service missions, the organisation, financing and regulation of services, as well as their production and evaluation, including complaint-handling mechanisms.
  • Providing legal certainty:
    The Commission is aware that the application of Community law to services of general interest could raise complex issues. It is therefore going to pursue an ongoing project to improve legal certainty associated with the application of Community law in the provision of services of general interest. It has already accomplished the modernisation of the existing public procurement rules and launched initiatives in the areas of state aid and public-private partnerships.

NEW APPROACHES FOR A COHERENT POLICY

One of the main questions in the public discussion concerned the need for a framework directive on services of general interest. The views expressed on this subject in the public consultation were divided, a number of Member States and the European Parliament being sceptical on the issue.

It is therefore uncertain whether a framework directive would be the best route to follow at this stage and would bring sufficient added value. Consequently, the Commission concludes that it would be best not to present a proposal for the time being. Rather, it will pursue and develop its sectoral approach by proposing, where necessary and appropriate, sector-specific rules that allow account to be taken of the specific requirements and situations in each sector.

The Commission will re-examine the feasibility and necessity of a framework law on services of general interest when the Constitutional Treaty comes into force, in particular the new legal basis introduced by Article III-122 which states that: “Without prejudice to Articles III-55, III-56 and III-136, and given the place occupied by services of general economic interest as services to which all in the Union attribute value as well as their role in promoting social and territorial cohesion, the Union and the Member States, each within their respective powers and within the scope of application of the Constitution, shall take care that such services operate on the basis of principles and conditions, in particular economic and financial, which enable them to fulfil their missions. European laws shall define these principles and conditions.” In addition, the Commission will review the situation of services of general interest in the European Union and the need for any horizontal measures in 2005. It plans to present a report of its findings by the end of 2005.

On the basis of the results of the public consultation, the Commission also considers it necessary to further clarify and simplify the legal framework for the financing of public service obligations. It intends to adopt a package of measures to that effect by July 2005 at the latest. Most elements of this package have already been submitted as drafts for consultation.

Furthermore, the public debate highlighted the need for a clear and transparent framework for the selection of undertakings entrusted with a service of general interest. The Commission intends to examine the EU legislation ensuring the transparent award of service concessions. It has therefore launched a consultation on the procurement aspects of public-private partnerships.

The Green Paper also generated considerable interest among stakeholders in the area of social and health services, who expressed a need for greater predictability and clarity to ensure a smooth development of these services. The Commission takes the view that it is useful to develop a systematic approach in order to identify and recognise the specific characteristics of social and health services of general interest and to clarify the framework in which they operate and can be modernised. This approach will be set out in a Communication on social services of general interest, including health services, to be adopted in the course of 2005.

Evaluating the operation of the services, at both Community and national level, is essential to ensure the development of high-quality services of general interest that are accessible and affordable in an environment undergoing constant change. The Commission has undertaken to intensify and improve its evaluation activities in the field of services of general interest.

On an internal level, the sectoral regulations put in place at Community level concern the large network industries. In the Commission’s view, the public consultation on the Green Paper has confirmed this approach. It will take into account the results of this consultation in the examinations of the various sectors.

On an international level, the Commission is determined to ensure consistency between the Community’s internal rules and the obligations on itself and the Member States pursuant to international trade agreements. It also wishes to promote services of general interest in development co-operation.

Related Acts

European Parliament Resolution of 13 January 2004 on the Green Paper on services of general interest [A5-0484/2003].

Parliament welcomes the Commission Green Paper and calls on the Commission to present a follow-up by April 2004 at the latest. It takes the view that certain services of general interest should be excluded from the scope of the competition rules, including health, education and social housing, as well as services of general interest aiming to maintain or increase plurality of information and cultural diversity. Moreover, Parliament calls on the Commission to defend this position at WTO negotiations and negotiations on the General Agreement on Trade in Services. It considers that it is neither possible nor relevant to draw up common definitions of services of general interest, or of the public-service obligations resulting from them, but that the European Union must lay down common principles, including the following: universality and equality of access, continuity, security and adaptability; quality, efficiency and affordability, transparency, protection of less well-off social groups, protection of users, consumers and the environment, and citizen participation, taking into account circumstances which are specific to each sector. It stresses the need to ensure that competition rules are compatible with public service obligations, and is opposed to liberalisation of the water supply. Parliament takes the view that water and waste services should not be subject to Community sectoral directives, but that the Union should keep its full responsibility for these sectors as regards quality and environment protection standards.

Commission Green Paper of 21 May 2003 on services of general interest [COM(2003) 270 final – Official Journal C 76 of 25.03.2004].

The Commission, in this Green Paper, undertakes to conduct a complete review of its policies on services of general interest. Its objective is to organise an open debate on the global role of the Union in the definition of the objectives of general interest pursued by these services and on how they are organised, funded and evaluated. The Green Paper also reaffirms the significant contribution of the internal market and competition rules to modernising and improving the quality and efficiency of many public services, to the benefit of Europe’s citizens and businesses. It deals with globalisation and liberalisation, raising the question of whether a general legislative framework should be established at Community level for services of general interest, and seeks to deal with these issues by asking questions about: the impact of any additional Community initiatives to implement the treaty, in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity; the principles likely to be incorporated in any framework legislation on services of general interest and the actual added value of legislation of that kind; the definition of good governance in the organisation, regulation, funding and evaluation of services of general interest; an examination of any new measure likely to be taken to increase legal certainty and facilitate consistent, harmonious coordination between the objective of safeguarding high-quality services of general interest and the rigorous application of the competition and internal market rules.

Social services of general interest

Social services of general interest

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Social services of general interest

Topics

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

Internal market > Single market for services

Social services of general interest

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 26 April 2006, Implementing the Community Lisbon programme: Social services of general interest in the European Union [COM(2006) 177 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Member States are given the freedom to define services of general economic interest and particularly social services of general interest, and to define the obligations and missions relating to such services and their organisational principles. On the other hand, the Community framework requires Member States to take certain rules into account when they determine the arrangements for applying the objectives and principles they have established.

This Communication does not deal with health services. In document COM(2006) 122 final, the Commission has undertaken to present a specific initiative for this field.

Social services occupy an important place within European society and the European economy.

Social services often contain one or more of the following organisational characteristics:

  • they operate on the basis of the solidarity principle;
  • they are comprehensive and personalised, integrating the response to differing needs in order to guarantee fundamental human rights and protect the most vulnerable;
  • they are not for profit;
  • they include the participation of voluntary workers;
  • they are strongly rooted in local cultural traditions. This finds its expression in particular in the proximity between the provider of the service and the beneficiary;
  • there is an asymmetric relationship between the provider and the beneficiaries of the service that cannot be assimilated to a ‘normal’ supplier/consumer relationship.

The social service sector, which is in the midst of expansion and experiencing increasing levels of competition, is undergoing a process of modernisation, which may take the following forms:

  • the introduction of benchmarking methods, quality assurance, and the involvement of users in administration;
  • the decentralisation of the organisation of these services to the local or regional level;
  • the outsourcing of public service tasks to the private sector, with the public authorities regulating competition;
  • the development of public-private partnerships and the use of other forms of funding to complement public funding.

The application of Community rules in the area of social services

The Member States must comply with Community law and the case-law of the Court of Justice when establishing the means of implementing the objectives and principles they have set themselves.

When services of an economic nature are involved, the Member States must ensure that their organisational arrangements are compatible with competition law in particular and also with the rules on the freedom to provide services and freedom of establishment.

The Communication focuses on the most common organisational arrangements:

  • the partial or complete delegation of a social mission by the public authorities to an external partner or the creation of a public-private partnership;
  • the granting of public financial compensation to external organisations carrying out a social task of general interest;
  • regulation of the market.

Analysis of the compatibility with Community law of the organisational arrangements for social services must be carried out on a case-by-case basis.

An in-depth consultation on the specific characteristics of social services

The European Commission intends to consult with all the actors involved, namely the Member States and the providers and users of the services. The consultation will look at:

  • the factors constituting these characteristics and their relevance to identifying the specific features of social services of general interest;
  • the ways for the Member States to take these features into consideration when defining tasks of general interest;
  • the experiences with applying Community law in the field of social services of general interest and the possible problems faced in this context;
  • how these characteristics could be considered by the Commission when checking compliance with the applicable Community rules.

In order to improve the mutual knowledge of operators and the Commission in matters relating to the application of Community rules and in order to deepen the exchange of information, a monitoring and dialogue procedure in the form of biennial reports will be established.

In early 2006, the Commission launched a study to collect the necessary information to draft the first biennial report. The information will concern the functioning of the sector, its socio-economic importance, as well as the implications of the application of Community law. The results of the study are expected by mid 2007.

Background

This Communication follows the White Paper on services of general interest and the Social Agenda, which announced a systematic approach to identify and recognise the specific characteristics of social and health services of general interest and to clarify the framework in which they operate and may be modernised. In March 2006, the European Council reiterated the need to maintain the European social model in the complex task of making the internal market for services fully operational.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission on the Social Agenda

[COM (2005) 33 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The European Commission proposes a new social policy agenda for the period 2006-2010. The main objective of this new agenda is “a social Europe in the global economy: jobs and opportunities for all”.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 12 May 2004 entitled ” White Paper on services of general interest

” [COM(2004) 374 final – Not yet published in the Official Journal].

Presented as an extension of the Green Paper on services of general interest, the Commission White Paper describes the European Union’s strategy for promoting the development of high-quality services of general interest. It presents the main elements of a strategy aimed at ensuring that all citizens and enterprises in the Union have access to high-quality and affordable services of general interest.

Commission Green Paper

of 21 May 2003 on services of general interest [COM(2003) 270 final – Official Journal C 76 of 25 March 2004].

The Commission, in this Green Paper, undertakes to conduct a complete review of its policies on services of general interest. Its objective is to organise an open debate on the overall role of the Union in the definition of the objectives of general interest pursued by these services and on how they are organised, funded and evaluated. The Green Paper reaffirms the significant contribution of the internal market and competition rules to modernising and improving the quality and effectiveness of many public services, to the benefit of Europe’s citizens and businesses. It also deals with globalisation and liberalisation, raising the question of whether a general legislative framework should be established at Community level for services of general interest.

Achieving the full benefits and potential of free movement of workers

Achieving the full benefits and potential of free movement of workers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Achieving the full benefits and potential of free movement of workers

Topics

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

Internal market > Living and working in the internal market

Achieving the full benefits and potential of free movement of workers

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 11 December 2002 – Free movement of workers: achieving the full benefits and potential [COM(2002) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Citizens who exercise their right to free movement of workers * within the European Union, which is a fundamental freedom under Community law, are contributing to the creation of a genuine European labour market.

However, practical, administrative and legal obstacles remain, preventing workers from taking full advantage of the benefits and potential of geographical mobility.

In this Communication, the Commission outlines the current state of Community law on the free movement of workers, with a view to clarifying its complex, technical legislative framework and the considerable case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in this area. It identifies a number of recurring difficulties in four distinct but interrelated areas.

Free movement of workers

Any national of a Member State has the right to work in another Member State.

Community law on free movement of workers applies whenever a national of an EU Member State exercises his right to mobility, even if he has returned to his Member State of origin after exercising his right to free movement of workers.

The family members * of an EU citizen who is a migrant worker, irrespective of their nationality – i.e. including third country nationals – are entitled to reside with him. In addition, children of migrant workers are entitled to access to education in the host Member State, irrespective of their nationality.

The right of residence is an integral part of free movement of workers. Under current Community law, Member States must issue a residence permit to a migrant worker on the basis of his identity card or passport and proof of employment alone. Under no circumstances may an EU citizen’s access to employment be made conditional upon obtaining a residence permit.

It follows from the Community principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality that migrant workers must be treated in the same way as national workers with regard to access to employment, conditions of employment and work and social and fiscal advantages.

On occasion, access to employment may be conditional upon linguistic requirements, provided they are reasonable and justified. Moreover, while a very good command of a particular language may be justifiable for certain jobs, a requirement for that language to be the worker’s mother tongue is not acceptable.

Under the system of mutual recognition of qualifications, a Community citizen who is fully qualified in one Member State is entitled to exercise a regulated profession * in another Member State. Depending on the activity in question and the training completed, recognition will be either automatic or preceded by a period of adaptation or an aptitude test.

Social security

To facilitate the exercise of the right to free movement, migrant Community nationals must not suffer disadvantages in their social security rights.

Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 establishes a system for coordinating social security systems. It lays down common rules aimed at ensuring that the various national social security systems are not applied in such a way that they discriminate against persons who are exercising their right to free movement. Community law has never sought to harmonise the field of social security, and the Member States have therefore retained their competences with regard to the organisation of their respective social security systems.

As a general rule, social security benefits are paid regardless of the beneficiary’s Member State of residence. Special non-contributory benefits represent an exception to this rule. These benefits are paid only in the Member States in which such benefits are provided. As a result, they cannot be exported, but a migrant EU citizen is entitled to the benefits provided by the host Member State. To satisfy the conditions for non-exportability, a benefit must be special and non-contributory. The ECJ has ruled that a benefit is special when it is closely linked to the social environment of the Member State in question (benefits related to the prevention of poverty or to care for the disabled).

Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 also lays down the conditions for access to health care for people moving within the European Union. Depending on personal status and/or type of stay, EU citizens are entitled to immediately necessary care, to care which becomes necessary, or to all sickness benefits in kind in a Member State other than the one in which they are insured against sickness as if they were insured there, but at the expense of the institution of insurance. For persons wishing to go to another Member State specifically to obtain treatment, the costs of such treatment will, under the co-ordination system set up by Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71, only be covered by the Member State in which they are insured if they received prior authorisation. However, the Court has held that, in the light of other fundamental freedoms, such as the free movement of goods and the freedom to provide services, such prior authorisation, if not justified, could be regarded as an infringement of these fundamental freedoms. It follows that, under certain conditions, patients may apply for reimbursement of medical costs incurred in connection with health care received in another Member State, even in the absence of prior authorisation.

Finally, determination of the Member State whose social security legislation is applicable is based on two basic principles: a person is subject to the legislation of only one Member State at a time and is normally covered by the legislation of the Member State where he or she engages in occupational activity.

The complex nature of Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 does, however, make it difficult to apply. For this reason, it is currently being revised.

Frontier workers

As they divide their time between two Member States, frontier workers * are often faced with practical problems related not only to social security and social advantages but also to income taxation and retirement. In principle, frontier workers enjoy all the benefits available to migrant workers in the Member State of employment, but some Member States impose residence conditions for entitlement to social advantages. Frontier workers are entitled to unemployment benefit in the Member State of residence rather than the Member State of employment. They may choose the Member State in which to obtain health care, but when they retire, this choice between Member State of employment and Member State of residence disappears.

Context

The legal texts which form the basis for the free movement of workers date back to the 1960s. They have since been supplemented by the Community institutions and, in particular, the case law of the ECJ.

Key terms used in the act
  • Worker: a person who undertakes genuine work under the direction of someone else, for which he is paid.
  • Family members: the spouse of the worker, his/her descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependant, and dependant relatives in the ascending line. The term “spouse” means married partner and does not cover cohabiting partners.
  • Regulated profession: a profession that cannot be practised without certain specified vocational qualifications
  • Frontier worker: a person who lives in one Member State and works in another.

Related Acts

Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC . [Official Journal L 158 of 30.04.2004].

This Directive is a partial response to some of the problems raised in the Communication. It makes the framework of legislation on freedom of movement for workers, which is both technical and complex, more accessible by combining into a single instrument provisions that are currently scattered among several different directives. It also provides a more precise definition of the concept of family member of a Union citizen and simplifies the formalities involved in exercising the right of stay.

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

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 > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

As the regulation and decision concerning the establishment, operation and use of SIS II do not provide Member State vehicle registration services access to this system, an additional regulation has been adopted to this end.

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 regarding access to the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) by the services in the Member States responsible for issuing vehicle registration certificates.

Summary

Member States’ public services responsible for issuing registration certificates for vehicles referred to in Directive 1999/37/EC will have access to the following data in SIS II:

  • data concerning motor vehicles with a cylinder capacity exceeding 50 cc;
  • data concerning trailers with an unladen weight exceeding 750 kg and caravans;
  • data concerning vehicle registration certificates and vehicle number plates that have been stolen, misappropriated, lost or invalidated.

They will have access to this data solely for the purpose of checking that the vehicles presented to them for registration have not been stolen, misappropriated or lost and are not being sought as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Registration services that are not public services will only have access to the data in SIS II through one of the authorities referred to in Article 40 of the SIS II Decision. These authorities alone will have the right to access the data directly and transmit it to the service concerned.

The communication to the police or judicial authorities of any information contained in SIS II that raises suspicion of a criminal offence will be governed by national law.

Background

By virtue of Council Directive 1999/37/EC of 29 April 1999 on the registration documents for vehicles, Member States are to assist one another and exchange information. In particular, before registering a vehicle, they should check the legal status of that vehicle in the Member State in which it was previously registered.

Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 and Decision 2007/533/JHA concerning the establishment, operation and use of SIS II (SIS II Regulation and Decision) replaced all but one article of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985. That article concerns access to the Schengen Information System by the authorities and services in the Member States responsible for issuing registration certificates for vehicles. This third act completes the SIS II legal framework, ensuring that Member States’ vehicle registration services will have access to SIS II once it is operational.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006

17.1.2006

OJ L 381 of 28.12.2006