On 12 March 2014 the EP adopted its 1st reading position on the Commission's proposal for a directive on package travel and assisted travel arrangements. The Report on the file was adopted in IMCO on 11 February.
The revision of the 1990 directive on package travel appeared to be necessary following the development of online sales and the liberalisation in the airline sector which changed the way the consumers organise their holidays. The overall objective of the revision was to enhance the functioning of the Internal Market and achieve a high level of consumer protection through the approximation of rules on packages and other combinations of travel services.
With their vote, MEPs decided to exempt packages put together by occasional organisers and packages with a duration of less than 24 hours and without accommodation, while clarifying that Member States may decide to cover those packages in national legislation. The possibilities for alteration of the price of a package will also be limited, and if the price increases by more than 8%, the traveller should be able to terminate the contract and be reimbursed, or be offered an equivalent package. By default, the buyer should get a refund for any price reduction over 3%. If "unavoidable" and "unforeseeable" circumstances make it impossible for the traveller to return home on time, the organiser will have to arrange accommodation for him at a similar level to the accommodation originally booked or alternatively pay for a stay of 5 nights up to 125 euros per night. Lastly, travellers will be repatriated in case of insolvency of their travel organiser while they are abroad on holiday.
Negotiations with the Council are expected during the Latvian Presidency.
Rapporteur in the 8th legislature: Birgit COLLIN-LANGEN (EPP)
Shadow rapporteurs: Sergio Cofferati (S&D), Louis Ide (ECR), Dita CHARANZOVÁ (ALDE), Igor Soltes (Greens), Dennis de Jong(GUE), --(EFDD)
On 13 February 2013 the European Commission adopted a comprehensive package on Product Safety and Market Surveillance in order to improve safety of consumer products, in particular by strengthening product identification and traceability, and to simplify and improve the framework of market surveillance of products, particularly by eliminating currently existing overlaps and inconsistencies. The package, which is a key action of the Single Market Act II, consists of two legislative initiatives: a proposal for a new Regulation on Consumer Product Safety and a proposal for a single Regulation on Market Surveillance of Products.
On 17 October 2013 draft reports on Consumer Product Safety and Market Surveillance have been adopted in IMCO Committee by an overwhelming majority. With regard to Market Surveillance of Products the Members agreed to harmonise penalties for infringements of the proposed Regulation to at least offset the economic advantage sought through the infringement as well as to encourage the allocation of revenues collected from such penalties to market surveillance activities. The Committee also called on the Commission to establish a Pan-European Injuries Database. A clear distinction with regard to non-compliant products and products presenting a risk as well as a call on the market surveillance authorities to carry out sample checks on sufficient numbers of products has been established in the final report. With regard to the Consumer Product Safety the Members seek to ensure that the regulation will stand as a safety net for the product legislation and to oblige manufacturers and importers to place a country of origin marking on their products. The Rapporteur furthermore found support for her proposal for an "EU Safety Tested" mark to attest that the product has been tested and found safe by an independent third party.
Although the IMCO Committee unanimously approved the mandate to enter trialogue negotiations on both draft reports, due to the developments in the Council no progress has been achieved and the reports were submitted to the 2014 April II plenary. The IMCO reports were adopted by the Plenary on 15 April 2014, however the proposal to introduce a voluntary 'EU Safety Tested' marking was rejected.
Consumer Product Safety:
Rapporteur: Christel Schaldemose (S&D)
Shadows: EPP (to be appointed), M. Pretzell (ECR), R. Rochefort (ALDE), J. Mastalka (GUE/NGL), P. Durand (Greens), M. Zullo (EFDD).
Market Surveillance of Products:
Rapporteur: EPP (to be appointed)
Shadows: C. Shaldemose (S&D), M. Pretzell (ECR), D. Charanzova (ALDE), J. Mastalka (GUE/NGL), P. Durand (Greens), EFDD (to be appointed)
Notwithstanding the progressing integration of the single market, motor vehicle registration problems remain a frequent obstacle for citizens when exercising their rights under EU law in their daily lives. To address those problems, on 4 April 2012, the Commission presented a legislative proposal aimed to harmonise, streamline, and simplify the procedures for re-registration of motor vehicles registered in another Member State. On this basis, on 9 July 2013 IMCO adopted a report, which seeks to further simplify the vehicle registration formalities and conditions.
Following a slow progress in the Council, IMCO decided to enter informal negotiations with a view of reaching agreement with the Council on 23 January 2014. However, on 31 January 2014, a majority of Member States requested an impact assessment on the taxation aspects of this proposal before continuing work on it, and the Presidency suspended its negotiations until the impact assessment will have been delivered by the Commission.
The debate on the IMCO report in plenary took place on 15 April 2014 following which the report was sent back to IMCO for further examination while awaiting the Council to resume the negotiations.
Rapporteur: Dita CHARANZOVÁ
Shadow Rapporteurs: Othmar KARAS (EPP), Catherine STIHLER (S&D), Richard SULIK (ECR), Jiri MASTALKA (GUE/NGL), tba (Greens/EFA), tba (EFDD)
Following the Commission's 2012 Communication on Better Governance for the Single Market, IMCO prepared a legislative own-initiative report on Governance of the Single Market (Rapporteur: Andreas Schwab (EPP)) which was adopted in plenary on 7 February 2013, putting forward recommendations on how the Single Market could be further improved and asking that a Single Market pillar be put in place within the European Semester for economic policy coordination. In addition, the report looked into the Single Market aspects of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) which was presented by the Commission in November 2012 in order to set the course for the following European Semester, and in particular on the report on the state of the Single Market integration 2013 that formed part of the AGS. IMCO also decided to look into this subject annually, within each European Semester cycle.
In line with that, an own-initiative report on Governance of the Single Market within the European Semester was then prepared in IMCO, and adopted in plenary on 25 February 2014 (Rapporteur: Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D)). It reiterated the need for a Single Market governance cycle to constitute a substantial pillar of the European Semester, and made a number of suggestions with regard to the key sectors with the highest growth potential (services, financial services, energy, transport, and digital markets) and to the existing Single Market instruments - including the Online Single Market Scoreboard).
To support IMCO's future work in this areas, two studies have been requested via the Parliament's research units: the first on theCost of non-Europe, updating whenever possible the Cecchini report that was published in 1988 and focusing on such areas as consumer acquis, public procurement, services and construction materials, and the second on Indicators for measuring performance of the Single Market,evaluating the existing tools and reflecting on the possible improvements. Both studies were delivered in September 2014.
In October, IMCO started preparing its new report on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2015 (Rapporteur: Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (EPP)) which will be adopted in plenary in March 2015 with a view to the Spring European Council meeting.
To help mitigate the consequences of serious road accidents, the EU has committed to putting in place an emergency call system known as eCall. Based on in-vehicle communication technology, such an electronic safety system will automatically call emergency services in case of a serious crash. The eCall will dial 112 - the Europe's single emergency number and communicate the vehicle's location to emergency services, even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call. It is estimated that it could save up to 2500 lives a year.
To achieve that objective, on 13 June 2013 the Commission presented two legislative proposals aimed at ensuring that, from 1 October 2015, firstly, all new models of passenger cars and light duty vehicles would be fitted with 112 eCall and, secondly, the necessary infrastructure would be created for the proper receipt and handling of eCalls in emergency call response centres - ensuring the compatibility, interoperability and continuity of the EU-wide eCall service.
These proposals have been requested by the Parliament, in particular, in its resolution of 3 July 2012 on e-Call: a new 112 service for citizens (IMCO-TRAN report under Rule 51 by Olga Sehnalová and Dieter-Lebrecht Koch).
Out of the two proposals, the one concerning the deployment of the necessary infrastructure is discussed by the TRAN Committee, with Philippe De Backer (ADLE) as Rapporteur, while the IMCO Committee is the lead committee for the proposal concerning the in-vehicle equipment - the proposed regulation on type-approval requirements for the eCall in-vehicle system and amending Directive 2007/46/EC.
The proposal for a regulation provides for the mandatory introduction of an eCall in-vehicle system in new type-approved vehicles across the EU. Contrary to the current system where eCall is installed by manufacturers on a voluntary basis, the proposal provides for a mandatory fitting of eCall devices in vehicles, starting with new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, by 1 October 2015. It therefore requires vehicle and equipment manufacturers to ensure that, in the event of a severe accident, an eCall to 112 is activated automatically. An eCall can also be triggered manually. Furthermore, the regulation provides for rules on privacy and data protection, as well as for the delegation of powers to the Commission in respect of detailed technical requirements.
The Parliament adopted its position at first reading on 26 February 2014. On 25 September, the IMCO Committee decided to open trilogue negotiations with the Council and the Commission with a view to reaching an early second reading agreement.
Rapporteur: Olga Sehnalová (S&D)
Shadow Rapporteurs: Carlos Coelho (EPP), Louis Ide (ECR), Ulla Tørnæs (ALDE), Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL), Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens/EFA), tbc (EFDD).
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