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EC acts against 12 Member States on implementation of EU rules

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The European Commission has taken action against a total of 12 Member States on implementing EU Internal Market rules in the areas of acquisitions in the financial sector, pension funds, shareholders’ rights, and anti-money laundering.

Greece, Netherlands, Poland and Portugal: Prudential assessment of acquisitions in the financial sector

The Commission will refer Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal to the European Court of Justice over their implementation of 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. The deadline for transposing the Directive was 21 March 2009. Greece and Poland have only partially transposed the Directive, while the Netherlands and Portugal have still not adopted any measures transposing the Directive into national law. These countries were sent a reasoned opinion in November 2009.

Directive 2007/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 on procedural rules and evaluation criteria for the prudential assessment of acquisitions and increase of holdings in the financial sector

Poland: Pension funds

The Commission will refer Poland to the Court of Justice over its implementation of Directive 2003/41/EC on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision. All Member States had to transpose the Directive in its entirety by 23 September 2005. In 2009, the Commission issued a reasoned opinion to Poland and the country is now preparing a draft law transposing the directive. The Commission will examine the law as soon as it is adopted and will take appropriate action should the new law prove to be incomplete.

Directive 2003/41/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 June 2003 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision

Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden: Shareholders rights

The Shareholders' Rights Directive imposes on Member States the obligation to transpose by 3 August 2009 at the latest. In the absence of implementation at national level, the Commission has decided to address reasoned opinions to Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.
The Shareholders' Rights Directive introduces minimum standards to ensure that shareholders of companies whose shares are traded on a regulated market have a timely access to the relevant information ahead of the general meeting and simple means to vote at a distance. Important elements of this are the publication of documents on the internet as well as enabling proxy voting and electronic participation. The Directive also abolishes share blocking and introduces minimum standards for the rights to ask questions, to put items on the general meeting agenda and to table resolutions. The Directive allows Member States to take additional measures to facilitate further the exercise of the rights referred to in the Directive.

Ireland and Spain: Anti-money laundering

The Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive imposes on Member States the obligation to transpose by 15 December 2007. In the absence of implementation at national level, the Court of Justice declared that Ireland and Spain failed to fulfil their obligations under that Directive. The Commission is now asking these two Member States, in a letter of formal notice (under Article 260), for full information on their compliance with this judgment.

The Directive is applicable to the financial sector as well as to lawyers, notaries, accountants, real estate agents, casinos, trust and company service providers. Its scope also encompasses all providers of goods, when payments are made in cash in excess of €15.000. Those subject to the Directive need to:

  • identify and verify the identity of their customer and of its beneficial owner, and to monitor their business relationship with the customer;
  • report suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing to the public authorities -usually, the national financial intelligence unit; and
  • take supporting measures, such as ensuring a proper training of the personnel and the establishment of appropriate internal preventive policies and procedures.

Austria and France: Professional qualifications

Austria and France will both receive a letter of formal notice (under Article 260) requesting full information on the measures they have taken to comply with previous judgments of the Court of Justice regarding the implementation of Directive 2005/36/EC on professional qualifications. The transposition deadline was 20 October 2007. Austria's judgment was given on 24.09.2009 (C-477/08); France's on 01.10.2009 (C-468/08).

Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications


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