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Brussels, 20 November 2009

Financial services: Commission takes action to ensure that 10 Member States implement EU rules

The European Commission has taken action to ensure that agreed Internal Market legislation is implemented in a total of 10 Member States. The Commission has decided to refer Belgium, Ireland, Greece and Luxembourg to the European Court of Justice as they have failed to fully implement into their national laws the latest Directive in the field of accounting within the prescribed deadline. The United Kingdom will also receive a reasoned opinion concerning the lack of transposition of this Directive on the territory of Gibraltar. In addition, the Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Greece, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom for failure to implement Directive 2007/44/EC, which lays down the procedures and criteria for the prudential assessment of acquisitions and increase of holdings in the financial sector. Reasoned opinions are 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 European Court of Justice. Finally, the Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to ask Belgium for full information on its execution of a previous judgment of the European Court of Justice concerning implementation of a Directive on prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Accounting Directive – Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and United Kingdom

This Directive (2006/46/EEC), among other issues, increases the maximum thresholds that may be applied by Member States in determining which companies may be exempted from certain disclosure requirements. It also extends the disclosure requirements for companies on material transactions with related parties such as key management members and spouses of board members, and on arrangements that do not appear in the balance sheet such as transactions or agreements which companies may have with entities. Furthermore, an annual corporate governance statement as a specific and clearly identifiable section of the annual report also has to be disclosed.

Once implemented, non-listed European companies will also have to provide more information to the investors and other citizens about risks they are facing. At the same time, the Directive takes into account the interest of small and medium-sized companies by allowing their exemption from certain reporting requirements thus eventually reducing their administrative burdens.

The transposition deadline for the Directive was 5 September 2008.

The latest information on the implementation of this Directive is available at:

Rules for the prudential assessment of acquisitions in the financial sector – Greece, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and United Kingdom

This Directive tightened the procedures that Member States' supervisory authorities have to follow and determined the criteria they must apply, when assessing proposed mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or increase of capital participations in the banking, insurance and securities sectors. The deadline for transposing the Directive expired on 21 March 2009. Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal have not yet adopted any measure implementing the Directive in national law, while Spain and Italy have only partially implemented it. The United Kingdom has not yet implemented the Directive for Gibraltar.

Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing – Belgium

The Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to Belgium under Article 228 of the EC Treaty following a recent Court of Justice judgment concerning Belgium's failure to implement the definition of politically exposed person as well as the technical criteria for simplified customer due diligence procedures and for exemption on grounds of a financial activity (Directive 2005/60/EC). This measure is part of the EU's efforts to combat money-laundering practices. The transposition deadline itself had already expired on 15 December 2007.

The latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States can be found at:

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