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IP/05/1037

Brussels, 3 August 2005

Internal Market: Commission acts to ensure 13 Member States implement EU laws

The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement procedures against 13 Member States for failure to implement in national law one or more of eight different Internal Market Directives. The Commission will ask Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom to implement quickly the necessary legislation in a total of 25 cases covering Directives on supplementary supervision of financial conglomerates, reorganisation and winding up of credit institutions, activity of e-money institutions, accounting rules, winding up of insurance services, life assurance, postal services and conditional access services. These requests take the form of “reasoned opinions”, the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court.

Supplementary supervision of financial conglomerates: Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic and Latvia

The European Commission has sent reasoned opinions to eight Member States - Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic and Latvia – for non transposition, by August 2004, of Directive 2002/87/EC on the supplementary supervision of credit institutions, insurance undertakings and investment firms in a financial conglomerate. Financial conglomerates are cross-sectoral financial groups with activities in both the banking/investment services and insurance sectors. This Directive lays down specific measures for the prudential supervision of these financial groups with a view to ensure their financial soundness and solvency. Once properly implemented by all Member States, the Directive will benefit consumers, depositors and investors in the European Union by stimulating financial market efficiency and increasing competition. The Directive was a priority measure under the Financial Services Action Plan.

Reorganisation and winding up of credit institutions: Greece, Portugal, Sweden and Czech Republic

The Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Greece, Portugal, Sweden and the Czech Republic for non transposition of Directive 2001/24/EC on the reorganisation and winding up of credit institutions. The Directive provides that in the case of failure of a credit institution with branches in different Member States, the winding up process is subject to a single bankruptcy proceeding initiated in the Member State where the credit institution has its registered office (known as the home state) and governed by a single bankruptcy law, that of the home state. As long as the Directive is not implemented fully by all Member States, there is a risk of conflict of jurisdictions and the equal treatment of creditors in the different Member States is not guaranteed.

Activity of e-money institutions: Estonia

The Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to the Republic of Estonia for non transposition of Directive 2000/46/EC on the taking up, pursuit of and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions. The Directive coordinates the conditions of exercise of the business of electronic money institutions and provides for a specific prudential supervisory regime aimed at ensuring their financial integrity and sound operation. It sets thus a level playing field for operators in this area to the benefit of bearers of electronic money issued throughout the EU.

Accounting rules: Greece, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg

The Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to Greece, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg asking them to write Directive 2003/51/EC into national law. These Member States did not reply or failed to give a satisfactory reply to the letter of formal notice sent in March 2005.

Directive 2003/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18.6.2003 amends Directives 78/660/EEC, 83/349/EEC, 86/635/EEC and 91/674/EEC on the annual and consolidated accounts of certain types of companies, banks and other financial institutions and insurance undertakings. These Directives define which types of companies have to produce accounts, establish which format should be used for the profit and loss account and the balance sheet and lay down which valuation principles should be applied. The Directives also impose requirements to disclose the accounts.

The IAS Regulation, adopted in June 2002, requires all EU companies listed on a regulated market - such as a stock exchange - to use IAS from 2005 onwards and allows Member States to extend this requirement to all companies. Where IAS are not applied, the 4th and 7th Company Law Directives (78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC), also known as the Accounting Directives, will continue be the basis of EU accounting requirements and may therefore remain applicable to up to 5 million companies in Europe. They needed to be modernised.

Directive 2003/51/EC brought EU accounting requirements into line with modern accounting theory and practice. It allows Member States which do not apply IAS to all companies to move towards similar, high quality financial reporting. In doing so, all inconsistencies with International Accounting Standards (IAS) have been eliminated.

Directive on the reorganisation and winding-up of insurance undertakings: Czech Republic

The European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion to the Czech Republic for non-communication of national measures writing into national law Directive 2001/17/EC on the reorganisation and winding-up of insurance undertakings (“the Winding Up Directive”). According to the provisions of that Directive, where an insurance undertaking with branches in other Member States fails, the winding up process must be subject to a single bankruptcy proceeding initiated in the Member State where it has its registered office. The Directive is designed to guarantee protection of policyholders in such instances. The Czech Republic was to implement the Directive by the date of accession, 1 May 2004.

Recast Life Assurance Directive: United Kingdom

A reasoned opinion has been sent to the United Kingdom for non-communication of measures writing into national law the provisions mentioned in Article 69 paragraph 1 of the Recast Life Assurance Directive 2002/83/EC with regard to the territory of Gibraltar. Article 69 paragraph 1 had to be transposed by 15 June 2004. Legislative measures ensuring transposition of the relevant provisions in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland were communicated to the Commission in February 2005. The United Kingdom has not disputed that the provision needs to be implemented also in Gibraltar and has indicated that the legislative process is on-going. However, no implementing legislation has been communicated to the Commission as far as Gibraltar is concerned.

Postal services: Estonia

The Commission has adopted a reasoned opinion addressed to the Estonian national authorities following their failure to transpose on time Directive 2002/39/EC on the further opening to competition of the Community postal services. While acknowledging that the Estonian authorities are taking active steps to adopt appropriate national measures to transpose the Directive, the Commission regrets the delay in introducing national legislation particularly as reform of the postal sector is one of the key elements of the Lisbon strategy.

Directive 98/84/EC on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access: Republic of Latvia and Slovak Republic

The Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to the Republic of Latvia and to the Slovak Republic for non-communication of national measures writing into national law Directive 98/84/EC (“the conditional access Directive”). These two Member States were to have communicated the measures by 1 May 2004, the date of their accession to the European Union.

The two Member States now have a period of two months within which to comply, after which the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice if it has not received a satisfactory reply.

The latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/secretariat_general/sgb/droit_com/index_en. htm


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