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Single market information tool (SMIT)

06-05-2019

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by price discrimination based on residency. While many market players do not cooperate with the Commission, for instance not disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. The SMIT proposal would provide the Commission with powers such as to request business-related information (e.g. cost structure or product volumes ...

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by price discrimination based on residency. While many market players do not cooperate with the Commission, for instance not disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. The SMIT proposal would provide the Commission with powers such as to request business-related information (e.g. cost structure or product volumes sold), and to address market failures in a more efficient way. The SMIT, however, has raised some criticism in the Council and EP, inter alia, because of the Commission’s choice of the legal basis for the proposal. Parliament’s Legal Service stated in an opinion that the correct legal basis for the Commission proposal is Article 337 TFEU: a legal basis which gives no legislative role for the EP. On 12 July 2018, the IMCO committee adopted a report which would amend the proposal’s legal basis. The JURI committee subsequently adopted an opinion stating that the Commission proposal goes beyond the powers available under the proposed revised legal basis. The report was initially due to be voted in plenary in October 2018, but was taken off the agenda. As the parliamentary term has concluded, the report has now lapsed. Third 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.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth 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.

Access to the occupation of road transport operator and to the international road haulage market

08-04-2019

The regulations on admission to the occupation of road transport operator and on access to the international road transport market have been contributing to the functioning of EU road transport and fair competition between resident and non-resident hauliers since December 2011. Despite the improvements they have brought to the sector, however, persistent shortcomings such as diverging national application of the rules and uneven enforcement called for a revision of both acts. On 31 May 2017, as part ...

The regulations on admission to the occupation of road transport operator and on access to the international road transport market have been contributing to the functioning of EU road transport and fair competition between resident and non-resident hauliers since December 2011. Despite the improvements they have brought to the sector, however, persistent shortcomings such as diverging national application of the rules and uneven enforcement called for a revision of both acts. On 31 May 2017, as part of a 'mobility package', the European Commission adopted a new proposal to address the main shortcomings affecting the sector, and improve its competitiveness and efficiency. In June 2018, Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) adopted its report and a negotiating mandate for trilogue. However, Parliament did not endorse the mandate and in July 2018, rejected the report, referring it back to the committee. In the meantime, the Council reached a general approach on the three proposals in the package, in December 2018. On 10 January 2019, the TRAN committee adopted a compromise proposal but failed to reach an agreement on the two linked files on driving times and posting. In March, the Conference of Presidents decided to include this file on the agenda of the March II plenary session. After procedural complications, Parliament adopted its first-reading position during the subsequent plenary session, on 4 April 2019.

Mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context

25-01-2019

Often isolated, and with generally poorer access to public services, the EU's border regions face a unique set of challenges. This has been recognised under Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which provides that particular attention should be paid to cross-border regions when developing action to strengthen the EU's economic, social and territorial cohesion. Yet while the EU has provided significant support over the years, particularly within the framework of European ...

Often isolated, and with generally poorer access to public services, the EU's border regions face a unique set of challenges. This has been recognised under Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which provides that particular attention should be paid to cross-border regions when developing action to strengthen the EU's economic, social and territorial cohesion. Yet while the EU has provided significant support over the years, particularly within the framework of European territorial cooperation, helping to strengthen connectivity and create new growth and jobs, numerous obstacles continue to hamper cross-border cooperation. Organised to identify these remaining bottlenecks, the Commission's 2015 cross-border review revealed legal and administrative barriers to be the main obstacle to cross-border cooperation while, in parallel, the 2015 Luxembourg Presidency put forward plans for an EU cross-border mechanism, with an informal working group set up to develop the idea. Both processes have fed into discussions in recent years to create a mechanism for cross-border areas, leading to the current proposal, introduced as part of the multiannual financial framework's cohesion policy package. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Single digital gateway

19-12-2018

As part of the ‘compliance package’, the Commission intends to provide a single digital entry point to offer easy and efficient online access for businesses and citizens, comprising: (1) information about Union and national law and administrative requirements, (2) procedures, such as company registration, and (3) services providing assistance upon request. The portal would serve start-ups and growing companies, as well as helping companies conducting business in another country. Access to these services ...

As part of the ‘compliance package’, the Commission intends to provide a single digital entry point to offer easy and efficient online access for businesses and citizens, comprising: (1) information about Union and national law and administrative requirements, (2) procedures, such as company registration, and (3) services providing assistance upon request. The portal would serve start-ups and growing companies, as well as helping companies conducting business in another country. Access to these services would be non-discriminatory, i.e. citizens and businesses from other Member States would have full access to the information and services, and this not only in the language used in the country in which they want to do business. The proposal builds on several existing schemes, such as single points of entry at national level; these cover only a few fields, are not always interconnected, suffer from being little known and are therefore underutilised. In May 2018, trilogues concluded with a provisional agreement, which was then confirmed by both Parliament and Council. The final act was signed on 2 October 2018.

European Maritime Single Window environment

18-12-2018

This briefing analyses the impact assessment accompanying the legislative proposal of the Commission to establish the European Maritime Single Window environment (EMSWe). The goal of the EMSWe is to decrease and harmonise throughout the EU, the reporting formalities and obligations of the maritime operators when calling at ports in the EU. The IA provides the overview of the main problems of the existing legislation and the policy options considered by the Commission to deal with them. Despite some ...

This briefing analyses the impact assessment accompanying the legislative proposal of the Commission to establish the European Maritime Single Window environment (EMSWe). The goal of the EMSWe is to decrease and harmonise throughout the EU, the reporting formalities and obligations of the maritime operators when calling at ports in the EU. The IA provides the overview of the main problems of the existing legislation and the policy options considered by the Commission to deal with them. Despite some minor inconsistencies, the IA provides a solid analysis of the current problems related to reporting obligations of ships when calling at a port.

Money laundering and tax evasion risks in free ports

17-10-2018

Freeports are conducive to secrecy. In their preferential treatment, they resemble offshore financial centres, offering both high security and discretion and allowing transactions to be made without attracting attention of regulators and direct tax authorities. This study argues that the legal anti-money laundering and tax evasion framework in place in the EU (and elsewhere) is only partially effective in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.

Freeports are conducive to secrecy. In their preferential treatment, they resemble offshore financial centres, offering both high security and discretion and allowing transactions to be made without attracting attention of regulators and direct tax authorities. This study argues that the legal anti-money laundering and tax evasion framework in place in the EU (and elsewhere) is only partially effective in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.

An overview of shell companies in the European Union

17-10-2018

In April 2018, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) requested a study on shell companies in the EU. In response to this request, the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit (EVAL) and the European Added Value Unit (EAVA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) prepared this study. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies in the European Union. In particular, it approaches the issue through ...

In April 2018, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) requested a study on shell companies in the EU. In response to this request, the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit (EVAL) and the European Added Value Unit (EAVA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) prepared this study. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies in the European Union. In particular, it approaches the issue through a set of ‘proxy’ indicators at a member state level. It proceeds by presenting main risks associated with the shell companies. Finally, if presents policies aiming at mitigating these identified risks.

European Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund, a cross-border mechanism and Interreg

14-09-2018

The European Commission recently issued the legislative proposals for the spending programmes of the MFF 2021-2027, including the legislative package on cohesion policy. Three of these proposals (on the ERDF and the Cohesion fund, on a new mechanism for cross-border cooperation and on Interreg) are covered by one IA. It provides a good description of policy challenges and ‘lessons learned’ from previous programmes. Potential effects of proposed measures are, however, discussed rather generally, neglecting ...

The European Commission recently issued the legislative proposals for the spending programmes of the MFF 2021-2027, including the legislative package on cohesion policy. Three of these proposals (on the ERDF and the Cohesion fund, on a new mechanism for cross-border cooperation and on Interreg) are covered by one IA. It provides a good description of policy challenges and ‘lessons learned’ from previous programmes. Potential effects of proposed measures are, however, discussed rather generally, neglecting in particular social, environmental and other specific or indirect impacts. Additional explanations regarding the assumptions (and uncertainties) underlying the analysis would have increased the completeness, precision and accountability of the IA.

Tax transparency for intermediaries

03-07-2018

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 directive was adopted on 25 May 2018, and it is to be applied from 1 July 2020. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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