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Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas & Partners
On 24 October 2006, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on how to improve the enforcement of monetary claims in Europe. At the moment fragmentation of national rules on enforcement causes difficulties for proper functioning of the Internal Market. The Green Paper proposes possible solution improving the efficiency of the enforcement of judgments. A European procedure for the attachment of bank accounts would have protective effect blocking the debtor's funds in a bank account without immediately transferring these to a creditor. The procedure would be subject to conditions for the granting of the order including an adequate level of debtor protection. An attachment order issued in one Member State would be recognised and enforceable directly throughout the European Union without the need for a declaration of enforceability. Such a new and self-standing European procedure would be available in addition to measures existing under national law. The Commission invites interested parties to submit comments before 31 March 2007. The Commission intends to organise a public hearing on the subject matter of the Green Paper. The Green Paper is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/news/consulting_public/news_consulting_public_en.htm
On 24 October 2006, the European Commission adopted a new Recommendation with measures to ensure adequate and properly managed financial resources for all decommissioning activities of nuclear installations as well as for the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The Commission proposes the establishment of competent national bodies, which are independent in their decisions from the contributors to the decommissioning funds, with a mandate and the capacity to deliver an expert judgment on decommissioning matters. Recommendation also pays special attention to new nuclear constructions. While a segregated fund - either externally or internally managed - with appropriate controls on use is the preferred option for all nuclear installations, a clear recommendation to this effect is made for the newly established ones. The decommissioning of nuclear installations is set to become an increasingly important issue in the years ahead. It is a fair assumption that approximately one third of the 148 power reactors currently operating in the enlarged European Union will need to be decommissioned by 2025.
On 23 October 2006, Environment Council expressed its political agreement on the comprehensive new air quality directive as well as its conclusions on hazardous waste movements. The directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe will streamline existing EU air quality legislation and introduce a limit on airborne concentrations of fine dust particles (known as PM2.5). In addition to fixing an annual concentration limit for PM2.5, the directive will require Member States to reduce people's exposure to this group of particles by 20% between 2010 and 2019. The air quality directive will also give Member States some flexibility if they face difficulties in complying with some existing air pollution standards. The Council's text allows Member States a compliance extension of up to three years after the directive enters into force.
The proposed directive is one of the key measures under the Thematic Strategy on air pollution, adopted by the Commission in September 2005.
On 24 October 2006, the Commission adopted under EC Treaty state aid rules a new regulation on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty to national regional investment aid, whereby the block exemption for regional investment aid was established.
The regulation applies to transparent forms of regional investment aid. An investment scheme shall be deemed transparent, provided the ex ante precise calculation of aid intensity as a percentage of investment costs is possible and no risk assessment is required. Noteworthy, regional aid schemes involving public shareholdings, risk capital and state guarantees are presumed not to fulfil this criterion. Such schemes remain subject to prior notification to the Commission in accordance with Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty. However, insofar as state guarantees are concerned, the new regulation allows Member States to notify the methodology by which they propose to calculate the aid intensity of state guarantees. Once the Commission has approved this methodology, the Member State will be able to apply the regulation to regional guarantee schemes as well.
The block exemption regulation is based on the new Regional Aid Guidelines for regional aid 2007-2013 adopted in December 2005. The latter rules are intended to re-focus regional aid on the most deprived regions of the enlarged EU, while allowing for the need to improve competitiveness and to provide for a smooth transition.
In order to implement the new Regional Aid Guidelines, the Commission approves a regional aid map for each Member State for the period 2007-2013. A regional aid map defines the regions of a Member State eligible for national regional investment aid for large enterprises under EC Treaty state aid rules and establishes the maximum permitted levels of such aid in the eligible regions. The adoption of the regional aid map for the Member State concerned is a pre?condition to ensure the continuity of the regional policy and Structural Fund programmes after 2006, as all current maps will expire on 31 December 2006. If no new regional aid map is approved by the Commission before 1 January 2007, the Member State in question will not be able to grant any regional aid within its territory.
On 24 October 2006 the Commission also approved the regional aid maps covering the period 2007-2013 for the Czech Republic, Ireland as well as Lithuania. Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty foresees the possibility to grant state aid to promote the economic development of areas where the standard of living is abnormally low or where there is serious underemployment. The Regional Aid Guidelines define this type of regions as having a GDP below 75% of the Community average. In line with these principles, the whole territory of Lithuania will continue to be eligible for regional investment aid at a maximum aid intensity of 50% of the eligible costs. Lastly, in order to simplify the assessment of the measures which still need to be notified (very large investment projects, certain aid measures which are not based on a scheme, operating aid) the Commission adopted a second regulation setting out the necessary information to be provided on appropriate notification forms.
More information on the new block exemption regulation as well as notification forms is available at:
More information on regional aid maps is available at:
From 16 October 2006, the European Commission provides to the business free online access to excise registration numbers which are attributed to operators which are allowed to produce, store, transport and/or receive excise products under suspension of duties. This on-line access to 'SEED-on-Europa' (System for the Exchange of Excise Data), which is available in all EU languages, allows verification of the validity of economic operators' excise numbers and the categories of goods for which the operator is authorized. This will increase legal certainty and transparency for traders wishing to send excise goods under suspension of duties.
The launch of 'SEED-on-Europa' marks the first step in the implementation of a paperless environment for excise movement procedures in support of an effective e-Excise policy.
More information on the state of this project:
On 19 October 2006, the Parliament adopted Law No X-866 on Amending and Supplementing of Articles 12, 13, 14 and 30 of the Law on Profit Tax. Under this Law it has been resolved to exempt from taxation the income derived from increase of the property value as a result of transfer of shares in cases where a transferring entity has held more than 25 percent of the shares with voting rights of the entity whose shares are being transferred for at least 2 successive years, and the entity whose shares are being transferred is acting in an EEA state or a state with whom an agreement on avoidance of double taxation has been concluded and is a payer of the corporate tax or analogous tax in such a state. The Law also prescribes that any loss accrued as a result of such transfer of shares may be deducted from the taxable proceeds from transfer of securities during tax period; however, the amount of such deducted loss may not exceed the amount of taxable income derived from increase of the property value of securities during such tax period and the non-deducted amount of such loss will not be brought forward to the following tax year. These provisions of the Law will apply for the purposes of calculation of the corporate tax for the year 2007 and subsequent tax periods.
On 4 October 2006, the Commission adopted the "Global Europe: competing in the world" strategy, aimed at integrating the EU's trade policy into its competitiveness and economic reform agenda.
The Commission's initiative focuses on the following core issues: opening for the EU companies of new markets abroad as well as ensuring their competitiveness therein; and preserving the EU markets open. The strategy involves Commission's actions, such as:
Development of the EU's trading system through both multilateral and bilateral free trading agreements;
Setting out a comprehensive new strategy on China;
Elaboration of the global strategy for protecting intellectual property rights;
Renovation of the Market Access Strategy to focus on non-tariff barriers;
Conduction of a public consultation to reflect on and possibly reform the EU's anti-dumping and other trade defence instruments.
More information on the EU trade policy review is available at:
On 5 October 2006, the European Commission adopted proposal for directive which aims at improving safety on the major roads, i.e. the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) through infrastructure measures and better engineering. This draft directive aims to bring road safety management to higher standards throughout the EU. It defines guidelines and best practices for all stages of infrastructure management, including road safety impact assessments, road safety audits, network safety management and safety inspections. The directive does not impose technical standards or procedures but invites Member States to make better use of existing procedures and practices.
More information at: