Transport: Commission takes legal action against the systematic application of the French and German minimum wage legislation to the transport sector

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Transport: Commission takes legal action against the systematic application of the French and German minimum wage legislation to the transport sector

While fully supporting the principle of a minimum wage, the Commission considers that the systematic application of the minimum wage legislation by France and Germany to all transport operations touching their respective territories restricts in a disproportionate manner the freedom to provide services and the free movement of goods.

Following an exchange of information with the French authorities and a thorough legal assessment of the applicable French legislation, which will become applicable on 1 July 2016, the Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to France. This constitutes the first step in the infringement procedure.

In addition, the Commission decided to send a supplementary letter of formal notice to the German authorities. This follows the launch of an infringement procedure in May 2015 and subsequent extensive talks with the German authorities with a view to reaching an amicable solution. However, neither the reply of the German authorities to the letter of formal notice nor the subsequent discussions have dispelled the Commission’s main concerns.

In both cases, the Commission considers that the application of the minimum wage to certain international transport operations having only a marginal link to the territory of the host Member State cannot be justified, as it creates disproportionate administrative barriers, which prevent the internal market from functioning properly. The Commission considers that more proportionate measures should be taken to safeguard the social protection of workers and to ensure undistorted competition, whilst allowing for free movement of services and goods.

The French and the German authorities now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission.

Background

The Commission supports the principle of a minimum wage, as it ensures social fairness and is in line with the social policy commitment of this Commission. However, as Guardian of the Treaties, the Commission must also ensure that the application of the national measures is fully compatible with EU law. This includes the current posting of workers directive (Directive 96/71/EC), the Enforcement Directive (Directive 2014/67/UE) which has to be transposed into national law by 18 June 2016, existing transport legislation and the Treaty principle of freedom to provide services, the free movement of goods, and having regard to the principle of proportionality.

In 2015, France adopted a law concerning the application of the French minimum wage to the transport sector. The minimum wage applies to cabotage[1] and all international transport operations (transit excluded). The implementing act (décret) was adopted on 7 April 2016 setting out strict enforcement and administrative requirements, including an obligation to establish a representative on the French territory, responsible for keeping the working records and payslips of the posted worker for the purpose of controls, for 18 months following the date of the last posting situation. The law will enter into force on 1 July 2016.

Germany‘s Minimum Wage Act entered into force on 1 January 2015. The law also applies to companies outside Germany that provide services in Germany. Companies outside Germany in certain sectors, including transport, are obliged to notify the German customs authorities via specific forms. Penalties for a breach of these notification obligations can be as high as € 30 000, and € 500 000 in case where the remuneration paid does not comply with the German law.

On 8 March 2016, the Commission proposed a revision of Directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers. In addition, forthcoming initiatives for the road transport sector should contribute to more clarity and better enforcement of the rules applicable to employment contracts in the transport sector and may address the specific challenges the application of the provisions of the Posting of Workers Directive raises in this specific sector.

For more information:

– On infringements in the area of EU mobility and transport.

– On the key decisions of the June infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/16/2097.

– On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

– Information on the infringement procedures.

[1] Cabotage refers to the national carriage of goods carried out by non-resident hauliers on a temporary basis in a host Member State.

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Road transport: Commission refers Denmark and Finland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with cabotage rules

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Road transport: Commission refers Denmark and Finland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with cabotage rules

The European Commission decided today to refer Denmark and Finland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to properly apply the “cabotage” rules, as laid down in the Regulation (EC) 1072/2009 on access to the international road haulage market.

The Regulation allows hauliers with a Community licence to perform up to three national carriage operations in a Member State other than their own, following the unloading of an international transport, a practice known as “cabotage”. There are no further restrictions under EU law.

Finnish law, however, limits cabotage to ten operations in a three-month period. The Commission considers that this additional restriction is not warranted. Additionally, under the Regulation each cabotage operation may involve several loading and unloading points. However, Finnish law considers that each loading or unloading constitutes a cabotage operation. Under Danish law, a single cabotage operation can involve several loading ‘or’ unloading points, but not both. In the Commission’s view, these further restrictions are also not warranted.  

The European Commission sent reasoned opinions to the Danish and Finnish authorities on 24 September 2015 and 29 April 2015, respectively. As Denmark and Finland have failed to bring their legislation in line with EU law, the European Commission has decided to refer both Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Commission is aware that the Finnish Parliament will shortly vote on a draft Government decree which could adequately address its concerns. If the adoption of this decree is confirmed, the Commission will reconsider the decision adopted today.    

Background

Regulation (EC) 1072/2009 of 21 October 2009 guarantees uniform criteria for the access to the road haulage market by EU hauliers from the EU Member States. This is important for the completion of an internal market in road transport and to maintain a level playing field between hauliers.

Cabotage aims to improve the efficiency of road freight transport by reducing empty trips after the unloading of international transport operations.

For more information:

– On infringements in the area of EU mobility and transport.

– On the key decisions of the June infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/16/2097.

– On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

– Information on the infringement procedures.

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Commission proposes to fine SLOVAKIA in connection with landfill in Žilina

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Commission proposes to fine SLOVAKIA in connection with landfill in Žilina

The European Commission is taking Slovakia back to the Court of Justice of the EU and is proposing a fine for its failure to comply with the Court’s judgement of April 2013 to ensure that decisions on the operation of the landfill in Žilina–Považský Chlmec are taken in line with EU rules, thereby avoiding serious risks for human health and the environment.

The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on 25 April 2013 (C‑331/11) that Slovakia was violating EU law by authorising the operation of the existing landfill Žilina–Považský Chlmec without a site conditioning plan and by not having taken a final decision on the operation of the landfill on the basis of an approved site conditioning plan. Three years later, Slovakia has still not taken a definite decision regarding the status of the landfill. The Commission is asking the Court of Justice of the EU to impose the minimum lump sum of € 939,000, and a daily fine of € 6,793.80 which would be paid from the date of the Court’s ruling until the Slovak authorities fully comply with EU law. These penalties, proposed by the Commission under the Lisbon Treaty, take into account the duration of the infringement, its gravity, and the size of the Member State. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court.

Under the Landfill Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26), Member States had to close non-compliant existing landfills by 16 July 2009 unless they provided the appropriate ‘site conditioning plans’ – with planned measures to meet the requirements of the Directive – which would allow them to continue to accept waste for disposal. Although the Žilina landfill is no longer taking waste, there has been no real progress in the procedure for its closure in line with the Landfill Directive. The Commission has, therefore, decided to take Slovakia back to the Court of Justice of the EU and to propose fines.

Background

Under EU law, only safe and controlled landfill activities should be carried out in Europe. The Landfill Directive(Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26) lays down standards to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste. It aims to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects, in particular on surface water, groundwater, soil, air, and human health, of the landfilling of waste by introducing stringent technical requirements for waste and landfills.

For more information:

– On EU waste legislation in general.

– On statistics on environmental infringements.

– On the key decisions of the June infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/16/2097.

– On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

– Information on the infringement procedures.

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Free movement of capital: Commission refers Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with EU rules on the rights of cross-border investors in agricultural land

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Free movement of capital: Commission refers Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with EU rules on the rights of cross-border investors in agricultural land

The European Commission sent a letter of formal notice in October 2014 and a reasoned opinionin June 2015 requesting the Hungarian authorities to bring their rules into line with EU law. As the Commission has not been notified of any measures taken to remedy the situation, Hungary is now being referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

In December 2013, the Hungarian parliament approved a law which terminated certain so-called “usufruct rights” – contracts giving the right to use a property and to profit from it – held by investors in Hungary. It deprived both foreign and domestic investors of their acquired rights and of the value of their investments without providing them with compensation. The original contracts were subject to a 20-year transitional period, which meant that such contracts were expected to end on 1 January 2033. The new law shortened this period to four and a half months, resulting in the investors’ contracts being terminated, without compensation, on 1 May 2014.

The Commission maintains that, among other things, the very short period between the publication of the legislation and its date of application was not sufficient to give investors the opportunity to adapt to the new legal environment.As a result, the law deprived existing investors of their acquired rights and the value of their investments in a way that did not ensure legal certainty and the respect of the right to property, as enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.The Commission is of the opinion that this violates the principles of free movement of capital and freedom of establishment. The Commission takes note of the fact that a Hungarian court has also referred the matter to the Court for a preliminary ruling (cases C-52/16and C-113/16).

More information:

– On the key decisions of the June infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/16/2097.
– General information on infringements proceedings in the areas of EU financial services.

– Information on the infringement procedures.

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Rail transport: Commission refers Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fulfil its duty of sincere cooperation

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Rail transport: Commission refers Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fulfil its duty of sincere cooperation

Today, the European Commission decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU owing to the conduct adopted by the German authorities at the 25th session of the Revision Committee of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) held in Bern, Switzerland, on 25-26 June 2014.

Germany voted against two of the proposed amendments to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), contrary to the European Union’s position as established by way of Council Decision 2014/699/EU, and it openly distanced itself from the vote that had been cast in accordance with that decision. In one of the two cases, where that decision provided for the exercise of the voting right by the Union itself and where the Union had voted accordingly, Germany openly contested this exercise of the voting right by the Union.

By adopting such conduct, Germany failed to fulfil its obligations under this Council Decision as well as under Article 4(3) of the Treaty on EU, which establishes the principle of sincere cooperation. In so doing, Germany weakened the Union’s position in its discussions with its international partners. 

Background

The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) is an intergovernmental organisation that develops uniform systems of law relating to international rail transport. It has over 50 members in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

The EU is a full member of OTIF, as are most of its Member States. According to the Accession Agreement, the EU can exercise voting rights for the purposes of OTIF decisions in areas for which it is competent.

Detailed EU-internal arrangements are set out in Council Decision 2013/103/EU of 16 June 2011, in particular Annex III thereof.

For more information:

– On infringements in the area of EU mobility and transport.

– On the key decisions of the June infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/16/2097.

– On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

– Information on the infringement procedures.

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June infringements' package: key decisions

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: June infringements’ package: key decisions

In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions, covering various sectors and EU policy areas (see Annex I and II), aim to ensure proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The key decisions taken by the Commission (including 2 letters of formal notice, 11 reasoned opinions, and 5 referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union) are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 44 cases where the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.

For more information on the EU infringement procedure, see the full MEMO/12/12. For more detail on all decisions taken, consult the infringement decisions’ register.

1. Environment

(For more information: Enrico Brivio – tel.: +32 229 56172, Iris Petsa – tel.: +32 229 93321)

 

A referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Commission proposes to fine SLOVAKIA in connection with landfill in Žilina

The European Commission is taking Slovakia back to the Court of Justice of the EU and is proposing a fine for its failure to comply with the Court’s judgement of April 2013 to ensure that decisions on the operation of the landfill in Žilina–Považský Chlmec are taken in line with EU rules, thereby avoiding serious risks for human health and the environment. The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on 25 April 2013 (C‑331/11) that Slovakia was violating EU law by authorising the operation of the existing landfill Žilina–Považský Chlmec without a site conditioning plan and by not having taken a final decision on the operation of the landfill on the basis of an approved site conditioning plan. Three years later, Slovakia has still not taken a definite decision regarding the status of the landfill. The Commission is asking the Court of Justice of the EU to impose the minimum lump sum of € 939,000, and a daily fine of € 6,793.80 which would be paid from the date of the Court’s ruling until the Slovak authorities fully comply with EU law. These penalties, proposed by the Commission under the Lisbon Treaty, take into account the duration of the infringement, its gravity, and the size of the Member State. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court. Under the Landfill Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26), Member States had to close non-compliant existing landfills by 16 July 2009 unless they provided the appropriate ‘site conditioning plans’ – with planned measures to meet the requirements of the Directive – which would allow them to continue to accept waste for disposal. Although the Žilina landfill is no longer taking waste, there has been no real progress in the procedure for its closure in line with the Landfill Directive. The Commission has, therefore, decided to take Slovakia back to the Court of Justice of the EU and to propose fines. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

 

Reasoned opinions

Water: Commission calls on AUSTRIA to enact EU rules on the chemical pollution of waters

The European Commission is urging Austria to enact the Directive on priority substances in the field of water policy (Directive 2013/39/EU) in their domestic law, an obligation which had to be fulfilled by 14 September 2015. Priority substances are chemicals which present a significant risk to or via the aquatic environment within the EU. This Directive aims to reduce such pollution of waters at the source by setting levels of concentration which are safe for the aquatic environment and for human health. The Directive takes into account new priority substances for the achievement of good surface water chemical status – which is defined in terms of compliance with all the quality standards established for chemical substances at European level – with a focus on emerging pollutants. After the Austrian authorities missed the original deadline, the European Commission sent a letter of formal notice on 20 November 2015. As the domestic legislation for the enactment of the Directive is still at the consultation and assessment stage, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. Austria now has two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to bring national legislation in line with EU law; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the Austrian authorities to the Court of Justice of the EU.

 

Birds Directive: Commission calls on FRANCE to protect wild birds

The European Commission is requesting France to put an end to the illegal poaching and killing of ortolan buntings (Emberiza hortulana), a non-huntable migratory bird species strictly protected under the EU legislation on the conservation of wild birds. The Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC) prohibits activities that directly threaten birds, such as their deliberate killing or capture, destruction of nests and removal of eggs, and associated activities, e.g., trading in live or dead birds, with special emphasis on the protection of habitats for endangered and migratory species. Although the French law prohibits this practice, ortolan buntings are poached along their migratory route in the southwest of France at the end of the summer, to be cooked and eaten, and this illegal practice is tolerated by law enforcement authorities. Between 1980 and 2012, the whole European population of this species has declined by 84%, while the poaching of ortolans in France is spoiling the conservation efforts undertaken by other Member States to reverse the decline of the species. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in January 2013, urging the French authorities to refrain from illegal trapping. But as the practice continues, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. France now has two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to bring national legislation in line with EU legislation; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the French authorities to the Court of Justice of the EU.

 

2. Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

(For more information: Vanessa Mock – tel.: +32 229 56194, Letizia Lupini – tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

A referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Free movement of capital: Commission refers HUNGARY to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with EU rules on the rights of cross-border investors in agricultural land

The Commission has decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with EU rules on the rights of cross-border investors in agricultural land.

The European Commission sent a letter of formal notice in October 2014 and a reasoned opinionin June 2015 requesting the Hungarian authorities to bring their rules into line with EU law. As the Commission has not been notified of any measures taken to remedy the situation, Hungary is now being referred to the Court of Justice of the EU. In December 2013, the Hungarian parliament approved a law which terminated certain so-called “usufruct rights” – contracts giving the right to use a property and to profit from it – held by investors in Hungary. It deprived both foreign and domestic investors of their acquired rights and of the value of their investments without providing them with compensation. The original contracts were subject to a 20-year transitional period, which meant that such contracts were expected to end on 1 January 2033. The new law shortened this period to four and a half months, resulting in the investors’ contracts being terminated, without compensation, on 1 May 2014. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

 

Reasoned opinions

The Commission requests CYPRUS and IRELAND to enact EU rules on financial reporting

The European Commission has requested Cyprus and Ireland to bring their legislation on financial reporting into line with EU law. The Accounting Directive (Directive 2013/34/EU) – which repeals the Council Directives (Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EEC and Seventh Council Directive 83/349/EEC) – aims to reduce the administrative burden for small companies and improve the quality and comparability of the information disclosed in financial reports. It sets out EU-wide rules on annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings. Member States had to transpose these rules into national law by 20 July 2015. Having missed the original deadline, Cyprus and Ireland were sent letters of formal notice in September 2015. Today’s request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. If Cyprus or Ireland fails to act within two months, these Member States may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

 

3. Mobility and Transport

(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – tel.: +32 229 50595, Alexis Perier – tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

Referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union

Rail transport: Commission refers GERMANY to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fulfil its duty of sincere cooperation

Today, the European Commission decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU owing to the conduct adopted by the German authorities at the 25th session of the Revision Committee of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) held in Bern, Switzerland, on 25-26 June 2014. Germany voted against two of the proposed amendments to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), contrary to the European Union’s position as established by way of Council Decision 2014/699/EU, and it openly distanced itself from the vote that had been cast in accordance with that decision. In one of the two cases, where that decision provided for the exercise of the voting right by the Union itself and where the Union had voted accordingly, Germany openly contested this exercise of the voting right by the Union. By adopting such conduct, Germany failed to fulfil its obligations under this Council Decision as well as under Article 4(3) of the Treaty on EU, which establishes the principle of sincere cooperation. In so doing, Germany weakened the Union’s position in its discussions with its international partners. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

 

Road transport: Commission refers DENMARK and FINLAND to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with cabotage rules

The European Commission decided today to refer Denmark and Finland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to properly apply the “cabotage” rules, as laid down in theRegulation (EC) No 1072/2009on access to the international road haulage market. The Regulation allows hauliers with a Community licence to perform up to three national carriage operations in a Member State other than their own, following the unloading of an international transport, a practice known as “cabotage”. There are no further restrictions under EU law. Finnish law, however, limits cabotage to ten operations in a three-month period. The Commission considers that this additional restriction is not warranted. Additionally, under the Regulation each cabotage operation may involve several loading and unloading points. However, Finnish law considers that each loading or unloading constitutes a cabotage operation. Under Danish law, a single cabotage operation can involve several loading ‘or’ unloading points, but not both. In the Commission’s view, these further restrictions are also not warranted. The European Commission sent reasoned opinions to the Danish and Finnish authorities on 24 September 2015 and 29 April 2015, respectively. As Denmark and Finland have failed to bring their legislation in line with EU law, the European Commission has decided to refer both Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

 

Letters of formal notice

Transport: Commission takes legal action against the systematic application of the FRENCH and GERMAN minimum wage legislation to the transport sector

Today, the European Commission decided to take legal action against France and Germany owing to the consequences of the application of their respective minimum wage legislation to the road transport sector. While fully supporting the principle of a minimum wage, the Commission considers that the systematic application of the minimum wage legislation by France and Germany to all transport operations touching their respective territories restricts in a disproportionate manner the freedom to provide services and the free movement of goods. Following an exchange of information with the French authorities and a thorough legal assessment of the applicable French legislation, which will become applicable on 1 July 2016, the Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to France. This constitutes the first step in the infringement procedure. In addition, the Commission decided to send a supplementary letter of formal notice to the German authorities. This follows the launch of an infringement procedure in May 2015 and subsequent extensive talks with the German authorities with a view to reaching an amicable solution. However, neither the reply of the German authorities to the letter of formal notice nor the subsequent discussions have dispelled the Commission’s main concerns. The French and the German authorities now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

 

Reasoned opinions

Road transport: Commission requests CROATIA, CYPRUS, DENMARK, LUXEMBOURG, THE NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL and SWEDEN to correctly implement EU rules on driving licences

The European Commission requested today to Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden to correctly transpose and implement the European rules on driving licences, as contained in Directive 2006/126/EC. The Commission has identified several shortcomings in the transposition of the Directive, including: the failure of Cyprus to ensure that all EU driving licences are equally mutually recognised; the failure of Denmark to correctly define several driving licence categories; the failure of Luxembourg to issue only harmonised driving entitlements which are provided by this Directive; the failure of the Netherlands and Portugal to correctly implement the harmonised administrative validity periods for licences; and the failure of Sweden to correctly transpose the requirements on medical fitness, especially for drivers who are dependent on alcohol. In addition, the Commission has requested Croatia to connect to the EU driving licences network (“RESPER”), which can help Member States to cooperate with each other and ensure that licences are issued in accordance with EU rules. These rules also help to reduce the possibility of fraud, guarantee the effective freedom of movement for EU drivers and reinforce safety on European roads. The Member States concerned now have two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to bring their national legislation in line with EU law; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer these countries to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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Speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the 20th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the 20th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016

President,

Prime Ministers,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

[Introduction: the reasons for President Juncker’s visit]

I would like to thank the Forum for its invitation, and to thank also all the people you never see who have organised this event. This year marks your 20th anniversary, and I offer you my congratulations and best wishes for the future.

Over the last two decades, this Forum has become a meeting point for business and politics. This year is no different. You have brought together more than 800 politicians and business leaders from every corner of the globe.

First, I would like to say a few words about why I am here today.

We have those who like the idea I am here and those who do not like the idea that I am here. But I like the idea that I am here.

In the coming weeks, the European Union and its Member States will hold a number of important meetings. We will spend many hours talking about our relations with Russia. I take the view that we must also talk with Russia – its leadership, its people. For some this may be a radical idea, for me it is common sense.

From the start of my life in politics, I have always worked to build bridges and for dialogue. I believe that the peace and prosperity of humankind lie in openness and exchange. They are not declared in a treaty but built by ordinary men and woman in daily life. People who live, work and trade together have little desire for war.

[Interdependence and the need for dialogue]

The programme of this year’s Forum tells a story. Migration, climate change, inequality, cybercrime… These are the great challenges of our 21st century. They demand cooperation between all nations who aspire to peace, prosperity and social justice.

This is true not only because we cannot solve these problems alone. It is true because – in the world of 2016 – our economies and our societies are more intertwined than ever before.

The European Union and Russia are no exception. Millions of people communicate and trade each day. Russian citizens receive more Schengen visas than anyone else: over 3 million in 2015. And even in 2015 we exchanged goods and services worth 210 billion euros.

And this is far more than a question of trade. Today, and in spite of our differences, the European Union works with Russia to tackle a number of global issues and regional conflicts, ranging from the fight against terrorism to the nuclear programme in Iran, and the conflict in Syria.

And so, this is our starting point: we are interdependent.

The question is what we want to make of it. We could simply accept it as our fate – the fate of geography. Or – like me – we can see it is a shared responsibility, which calls on us to work together and use our power wisely.

But first we need to have a frank conversation about where we stand today.

The illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and the conflict in and around eastern Ukraine put the relations between the European Union and Russia to a severe test.Russia’s actions have shaken the very principles of the European security order. Sovereign equality, the non-use of force and territorial integrity matter. They cannot be ignored.

But even before these dramatic events, our ties were strained. The EU’s efforts to engage and explain were not always welcomed or accepted.

But if our relationship today is troubled and marked by mistrust, it is not broken beyond repair. We need to mend it, and I believe we can.

I have always believed in the power of dialogue. When our relations are tense, we must keep talking. Even when economic sanctions are in place, we must keep the door open. And if I am here with you today, it is because I want to build a bridge.

I have known President Putin for many years. We talk often, and we talk openly – very openly. If we need to have a frank conversation today, it will not be the first time and probably not the last. We will talk as long as it takes.

[Common vision for the future; how we get there]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe we have a choice to make. It is true that history has often divided our peoples. Even as the twentieth century recedes into the past, its shadow lies across us still. And yet, in spite of our heavy burden, we are free to choose our path into the future.

Our world today is more fragile and uncertain than ever. We have truly entered the age of fragmentation. And in this world, Russia has an opportunity – and also a duty, I would say – to use its power for the greater good, working alongside the European Union and as our partner.

For the European Union and Russia, the prize, one day, could be great: a vast region governed by the rule of law, trading freely and working together on common projects.

Of course, this will not happen overnight, but it is not a utopian vision. It is one which – with good will and ambition on both sides – would serve the best interests of our citizens.

In such a world, we may disagree on many things but we must agree on the rules. We might follow different economic policies but we must live up to our WTO obligations. Our vision of the fair society might not be the same but we must fulfil our international commitments on civil and political rights.

These are the issues we must be able to agree upon for our relationship to flourish. The past 25 years have shown it is not an easy task. At times it seemed impossible, but at other times we made it work.

But our path must begin with Ukraine. The Ukrainian people have decided which kind of future they want for their children, and everyone must respect that.

Russia is party to the Minsk agreements. It has made commitments and put them on paper, as have the other signatories. Therefore, the next step is clear: full implementation of the agreements. No more, no less.This is the only way to begin our conversation, and the only way to lift the economic sanctions that have been imposed.

And let me be clear. On Minsk, the European Union is united. And so is the G7.

A stable and democratic Ukraine that continues its economic transition can only be good for Russia: good for the Russian economy, good for Russian businesses and good for Russian citizens.

But a stable Ukraine, at peace with its neighbours, offers a greater prize still. It offers a vision of how the entire region might develop for the good of all.

Each sovereign nation must be free to choose its relations with its neighbours. If one country wishes to develop closer ties with Russia or the European Union – or both at the same time – this choice must be respected. Such a choice can never be seen as an act of aggression or division.

This vision goes far beyond economic cooperation and trade. Our people must be at the heart of it.

Today, Russian students and youth workers are the biggest participants in our Erasmus Plus programme. Last year, more than 3,000 young people took part in the exchanges between the European Union and Russia. This is good, but we want to do more.

European civil society will continue to work with our Russian partners. We will deepen our cooperation in education, science, research and culture. And I hope that Russia wants to do the same, because a vibrant civil society and a free media are the foundation of a stable democracy.

By bringing our people closer together at all levels, we build trust and a shared understanding that a peaceful and prosperous society can only be built on fundamental freedoms, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

[European Union: a partner and asset for Russia]

Today, the European Union is emerging from a series of crises that have tested our institutions to the limit. We have achieved much. But we still have much work to do. We remain a reliable partner and a committed actor on the world stage.

In the face of the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, we have restored order and put in place a European response.

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, our recovery is on track and the euro remains the world’s second reserve currency.

In the first quarter of this year, the Eurozone was the fastest growing part of the Western world. Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in five years. Investment is picking up and public finances are improving.

Today, we are deepening the world’s biggest Single Market of 500 million consumers. Our Energy Union will help to deliver secure and affordable energy, equipped with clear rules making our market open and our economy more competitive. We need to be sure that all countries of Central and Eastern Europe have non-discriminatory access to energy supplies. I have a strong preference for pipelines that unite rather than for pipelines that divide.

And with our international partners we have worked hard to secure an international order that is based on rules and cooperation – from climate change to global trade to fair taxation.

In all of these ways, the European Union’s project for peace and prosperity is alive and well. I believe Russia should welcome this because a stronger and more effective EU is a strategic asset and a better partner for everyone.

[Conclusion]

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can have no illusions about the problems weighing on our relationship today. They exist. They are real. It would be pointless, possibly dangerous, to ignore them. We must tackle them urgently so that we can focus instead on a better future for our countries and peoples. That will benefit our neighbourhood.

Together, the European Union and Russia – even with our differences – must share a commitment to the basic human values that underpin a free society. In the end, only these values can bring lasting security here and in the wider world.

This is a journey, Ladies and Gentlemen, that requires an honest conversation about our relationship today. It begins with Minsk, and it begins with the respect for international law. It will be a difficult conversation, I have no doubt, but it is a necessary one.

Thank you for listening.

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А. Борисов: Для развития в России социального предпринимательства необходимо совершенствовать законодательство

imageMIL OSI – Source: Russia – Council of the Federation – Press Release/Statement

Headline: А. Борисов: Для развития в России социального предпринимательства необходимо совершенствовать законодательство

Социальное
предпринимательство — один из факторов инновационного развития отечественной
экономики, отметил сенатор.


«Признание государством социальных
предпринимателей равноправными партнерами в решении задач модернизации
социальной сферы – залог позитивных общественных преобразований». Об этом
заявил заместитель председателя Комитета Совета Федерации по социальной
политике Александр Борисов, комментируя
утверждение Правительством РФ Стратегии развития малого и среднего
предпринимательства в Российской Федерации на период до 2030 года.

Сенатор отметил, что Стратегией предусматривается
комплексный подход к решению задачи по увеличению доли субъектов малого и среднего предпринимательства в сфере социальных услуг, а также снятие
ограничений для вхождения новых организаций на рынок соцуслуг. Это будет
способствовать реализации положений принятых в последнее время федеральных
законов, ориентированных на социальную защиту инвалидов, людей старшего
поколения и лиц, нуждающихся в социальном сопровождении.

По словам Александра Борисова, в рамках реализации Стратегии будут осуществлены
дополнительные меры поддержки субъектов социального предпринимательства. В частности, создаются специализированные организации региональной инфраструктуры — Центры инноваций социальной сферы.

За последние три года такие центры уже созданы
в 18 субъектах РФ. Результаты мониторинга их деятельности Рабочей группой,
которая была создана решением профильного Комитета СФ по инициативе Александра Борисова, свидетельствуют о том, что социальное предпринимательство активно развивается именно в тех
регионах, где эффективно действуют Центры инноваций социальной сферы. Это Астраханская,
Белгородская и Вологодская области, Алтайский и Ставропольский край, Республика
Башкортостан.

«Социальное предпринимательство стало
заметным общественным явлением в российской экономике, которое нуждается в самостоятельном правовом регулировании. Основываясь на экспертной оценке и анализе практики государственной поддержки социального предпринимательства за рубежом, Рабочая группа подготовила предложения о совершенствовании
отечественного законодательства в целях формирования стабильной правовой основы
социального предпринимательства», — сообщил парламентарий.

По его словам, в настоящее время на рассмотрении Государственной Думы находится законопроект о внесении изменений в Федеральный закон «О развитии малого и среднего предпринимательства в Российской Федерации». Его принятие будет способствовать повышению адресности
при оказании поддержки социальным предпринимателям, что признается Стратегией
одним из приоритетов ее реализации.

Как один из авторов законопроекта, Александр Борисов выразил уверенность,
что его принятие позволит уточнить сферы, в которых может осуществляться
деятельность, отнесенная к социальному предпринимательству, и установить
критерии отнесения хозяйствующих субъектов к субъектам социального
предпринимательства.

Встреча с Президентом Гвинеи Альфой Конде

MIL OSI – Source: President of Russia – Kremlin –

Headline: Встреча с Президентом Гвинеи Альфой Конде

В.Путин:
Уважаемый господин Президент! Дорогие друзья! Позвольте вас сердечно
поприветствовать в России, в Петербурге. Гвинейская Республика –
наш давний, надежный партнёр в Африке. Мне очень приятно с Вами познакомиться
лично, уважаемый господин Президент. Хочу Вас поблагодарить за то, что Вы
приехали и принимаете очень активное участие в работе Санкт-Петербургского
международного экономического форума. Хотел бы отметить, что
отношения между нашими странами развиваются весьма позитивно и контакты между
нашими ведомствами иностранных дел показывают, что наши мнения по ситуации в Африке, на международной арене в значительной степени совпадают. Что касается
экономических связей, то объём их в стоимостном выражении пока можно назвать весьма
скромным, но тенденция очень хорошая – за прошлый год увеличение в 2,2 раза.
Российские компании уже работают на рынке Гвинеи, и нам известно об интересе
других российских производителей осваивать рынок вашей страны и инвестировать в него. Всячески будем поддерживать и содействовать реализации этих планов. Добро пожаловать!

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16. Juni 2016 – Tag der offenen Tür in der Villa Hammerschmidt

MIL OSI – Source: Deutschland Bundesregierung –

Headline: 16. Juni 2016 – Tag der offenen Tür in der Villa Hammerschmidt

16. Juni 2016

In der Villa Hammerschmidt findet am Sonntag, den 26. Juni 2016, anlässlich des Jubiläums “Bonn – 20 Jahre deutsche UNO-Stadt” ein Tag der offenen Tür statt. Von 11.00 bis 18.00 Uhr können Besucherinnen und Besucher den Bonner Amtssitz des Bundespräsidenten auf einem Rundgang durch die Villa kennenlernen.

Im Park der Villa Hammerschmidt präsentieren sich internationale Organisationen, Nichtregierungsorganisationen sowie Wissenschaftseinrichtungen und informieren über zahlreiche Entwicklungsprojekte.

Ein Bühnenprogramm mit Musik und Gesprächsrunden und Mitmach-Aktionen für Kinder runden den Tag der offenen Tür ab.

Der Zugang befindet sich in der Adenauerallee 135. Beim Einlass werden aus Sicherheitsgründen Personen- und Taschenkontrollen durchgeführt. Mit Wartezeiten ist zu rechnen. Es wird darum gebeten, keine großen Gepäckstücke mitzubringen.

Neben der Villa Hammerschmidt stehen der Kanzlerbungalow und die historischen Räume im ehemaligen Bundeskanzleramt, dem jetzigen Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), den Gästen zur Besichtigung offen.

Hinweise für die Redaktionen:

– Detaillierte Informationen zum Programm finden Sie unter: www.bundespräsident.de/offene-villa-hammerschmidt
– Für den Tag der offenen Tür ist keine Akkreditierung notwendig. Für Medienvertreter mit Presseausweis steht ein Presse-Eingang (Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 16) zur Verfügung.

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