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Spirit drinks: Definition, labelling and geographical indications

21-02-2018

In December 2016, the European Commission proposed to replace Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 – the Spirit Drinks Regulation – with a new one, with the aim of aligning it with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal mainly involves grouping the provisions adopted by the Commission into delegated and implementing acts. In addition, it replaces the existing procedures for the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of spirit drinks with new ones, modelled on the recently ...

In December 2016, the European Commission proposed to replace Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 – the Spirit Drinks Regulation – with a new one, with the aim of aligning it with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal mainly involves grouping the provisions adopted by the Commission into delegated and implementing acts. In addition, it replaces the existing procedures for the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of spirit drinks with new ones, modelled on the recently updated procedures for quality schemes applied to agricultural products and foodstuffs. According to spirits industry representatives, the proposal contains some substantive changes that need to be studied in detail to determine their impact. The procedure is still in its initial stages. The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted its report on 24 January 2018. A mandate on opening interinstitutional negotiations is expected to be voted during the February II plenary. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Motor vehicles: new approval and market surveillance rules

21-02-2018

The automotive industry is a major player in the European economy, accounting for 6.4% of gross domestic product and 2.3 million jobs in the European Union (EU). In September 2015, the Volkswagen (VW) case highlighted weaknesses in the implementation of type-approval rules for motor vehicles in the European Union, in particular as regards standards on emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide. In 2016, as part of preparations from previous years but also in response to the VW case, the European ...

The automotive industry is a major player in the European economy, accounting for 6.4% of gross domestic product and 2.3 million jobs in the European Union (EU). In September 2015, the Volkswagen (VW) case highlighted weaknesses in the implementation of type-approval rules for motor vehicles in the European Union, in particular as regards standards on emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide. In 2016, as part of preparations from previous years but also in response to the VW case, the European Commission proposed strengthening the type-approval system for motor vehicles. Its goal is to ensure effective enforcement of rules (including through market surveillance), to strengthen the quality and independence of technical tests and to introduce EU oversight on the type-approval process.

Tax transparency for intermediaries

21-02-2018

The situations highlighted by the 'Panama papers' and 'Paradise papers', among others leaks show how certain intermediaries and other providers of tax advice appear to have facilitated companies and individuals in avoiding taxation, often through complex cross-border schemes involving routing assets to, or through, offshore entities. Among the tools to fight tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning are established mechanisms for disclosure of tax information and publication of tax-relevant information ...

The situations highlighted by the 'Panama papers' and 'Paradise papers', among others leaks show how certain intermediaries and other providers of tax advice appear to have facilitated companies and individuals in avoiding taxation, often through complex cross-border schemes involving routing assets to, or through, offshore entities. Among the tools to fight tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning are established mechanisms for disclosure of tax information and publication of tax-relevant information by companies. In June 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal aimed at ensuring early information on such situations, by setting an obligation to report cross-border arrangements designed by tax intermediaries or taxpayers and by including the information collected in the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities within the European Union. The proposal responds to calls made by both the European Parliament and the Council. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The European Council and the Multiannual Financial Framework

21-02-2018

With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the MFF was for the first time given a legal basis in the EU Treaties and a new procedure was introduced for its adoption. The MFF is now laid down in a regulation adopted by the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, once European Parliament consent is obtained. The post-2020 MFF process will represent the second full application of this new procedure, following the negotiations on the MFF for 2014-2020. The Treaty of ...

With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the MFF was for the first time given a legal basis in the EU Treaties and a new procedure was introduced for its adoption. The MFF is now laid down in a regulation adopted by the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, once European Parliament consent is obtained. The post-2020 MFF process will represent the second full application of this new procedure, following the negotiations on the MFF for 2014-2020. The Treaty of Lisbon also established the European Council as one of the seven institutions of the European Union and defined its role and powers. In accordance with Article 15(1) TEU, the European Council 'shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political directions and priorities thereof'. Moreover, the European Council 'shall not exercise legislative functions'. Notwithstanding this prohibition on the exercise of legislative functions, and despite the lack of a formal role assigned to it in the financial provisions of the Treaties (Articles 310 to 324 TFEU), the European Council – as was already the case prior to the Lisbon Treaty – played a central role in the 2014-2020 MFF negotiation. Acting on the basis of its competence to 'define the general political directions and priorities', the European Council adopted detailed conclusions on the MFF, which purported to define the MFF ceilings and the financial envelopes for all policy sectors for the seven-year MFF period. In its resolution of 15 April 2014 on the lessons to be learned from the 2014-2020 negotiations, the European Parliament identified the impact of the European Council's involvement in the Parliament's legislative prerogatives as a matter of particular concern. The aspects most often considered when assessing the MFF and its negotiation process are the overall size of the budget, own resources, national bargaining positions, and the tensions between net beneficiary and net contributor countries. To date, only limited attention has been paid to the role of the European Council. This Briefing analyses the European Council's involvement in the process of adopting the 2014-2020 MFF during the different negotiation phases and outlines the concerns expressed by the Parliament in this respect. It also provides an indicative timeline and potential milestones for the post-2020 MFF negotiations and looks at the possible role of the European Council in this process, thereby attempting an initial assessment of possible similarities with and differences to the 2014-2020 MFF negotiations.

A new directive on work-life balance

20-02-2018

Despite significant progress for some social groups in the area of work-life balance, there has been a general trend of decline since 2011, and progress amongst Member States has been uneven. This proposed directive (complemented with non-legislative measures) should lead to the repeal of the existing Framework Agreement on Parental Leave, made binding by Council Directive 2010/18/EU (the Parental Leave Directive). The new directive contains proposals for paternity, parental and carers' leave. Stakeholders ...

Despite significant progress for some social groups in the area of work-life balance, there has been a general trend of decline since 2011, and progress amongst Member States has been uneven. This proposed directive (complemented with non-legislative measures) should lead to the repeal of the existing Framework Agreement on Parental Leave, made binding by Council Directive 2010/18/EU (the Parental Leave Directive). The new directive contains proposals for paternity, parental and carers' leave. Stakeholders have been divided over the level of ambition of the proposed measures. Both EU advisory committees have issued opinions and some national parliaments have expressed their reasoned and other opinions. The Council of the EU issued a progress report in November 2017. The European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) is expected to start consideration of its draft report on the proposed directive in spring 2018.

Contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services

19-02-2018

On 21 November 2017, the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Committee (IMCO) and Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted their joint report on the European Commission's proposal for a directive regulating the private-law aspects of contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services in the internal market. The Council of the EU agreed on a general approach in June 2017. Trilogue meetings began on 5 December 2017 and are still on-going. The main changes proposed by the ...

On 21 November 2017, the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Committee (IMCO) and Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted their joint report on the European Commission's proposal for a directive regulating the private-law aspects of contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services in the internal market. The Council of the EU agreed on a general approach in June 2017. Trilogue meetings began on 5 December 2017 and are still on-going. The main changes proposed by the joint report of the two Parliament committees are concerned with the duration of legal guarantees for digital content and services, liability for hidden defects and the short-term right to reject defective digital content. An issue which is still being discussed is the relationship between the directive and EU public law rules on the protection of personal data. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view previous editions of this briefing, please see: PE 608.748 (October 2017).

Cities: Front line of climate action

16-02-2018

Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change challenge and delivering on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In the European Union (EU), where nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas, many cities are leading the way in this regard, taking action in three areas central to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions – namely, buildings, energy supply, and transport – and acting as living laboratories of climate-change-related innovation. The EU supports ...

Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change challenge and delivering on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In the European Union (EU), where nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas, many cities are leading the way in this regard, taking action in three areas central to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions – namely, buildings, energy supply, and transport – and acting as living laboratories of climate-change-related innovation. The EU supports cities in their efforts by providing guidance, promoting experience-and knowledge-sharing, fostering cooperation, and funding climate action. Climate-relevant initiatives are in place in various policy fields, from transport to the environment, research and innovation, the most high-profile being the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which currently counts over 7 700 signatories. A supportive framework is essential to ensure city-level initiatives have enough resources and potential to effect meaningful change. Easing access to climate funding and strengthening the role of cities in climate governance are among the main challenges ahead, and the main demands of city associations. The latter issue is currently in the spotlight, notably in relation to the proposal for a regulation on energy union governance, part of the EU clean energy package. The European Parliament adopted amendments to the proposed regulation in January 2018. The role of EU regions and cities in implementing the Paris Agreement is also the subject of an own-initiative report, scheduled for debate during the March plenary session. This briefing is an update of an earlier one published in October 2017.