Here it is at last: the debated proposal for a Directive on a common system of financial transaction tax. This type of tax was initially proposed by the economist James Tobin.
The idea is to tax a great number of financial instruments – including instruments which are negotiable on the capital market, money-market instruments (with the exception of instruments of payment), units or shares in collective investment undertakings (which include UCITS and alternative investment funds) and derivatives agreements. The tax rates will be set by Member States, but must not be less than 0.1% of the taxable amount in most cases.
According to the Commission the new tax will have progressive distributional effects, i.e. its impact will increase proportionately with income, as higher income groups benefit more from the services provided by the financial sector.
Directive 2011/35/EU concerning mergers of public limited liability companies has been published in the Official Journal. The directives sets rules for merger by acquisition, merger by formation of a new company, and other operations treated as mergers. The main objective of the directive is that the shareholders of merging companies be kept adequately informed.
The new Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims has been published in the Official Journal. The directive repeals the old Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA.
The directive adopts a broader concept of what should be considered trafficking in human beings and includes additional forms of exploitation. These include forced begging, exploitation of criminal activities, etc.
The recent results from an independent investigation in Belgium showed systematic child abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy in the country. But what can the European Union do about it?
In March 2010 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new Directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Many serous forms of sexual offences against children are criminalised, including sex tourism. More importantly, the proposal would ensure that abused children have easy access to legal remedies and do not suffer for participating in criminal proceedings. The proposal also foresees the establishment of special programmes for offenders to prevent them committing new offences, and prohibitions imposed on them from carrying out activities with children.
In the light of the results from the investigation in Belgium I believe that this proposal deserves serious consideration and priority treatment.
Posted in Education, Science and Culture, Human Rights, Justice and Internal Affairs, Procedural Law
Tagged child pornography, criminalisation, Directive, European Union, sex tourism, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children
The European Commission has proposed a directive to set common minimum standards for the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. According to the proposal Member States must ensure that any person who is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence is provided promptly with information on his procedural rights in simple and accessible language, including as a minimum:
– the right of access to a lawyer, where necessary free of charge,
– the right to be informed of the charge and, where appropriate, to be given access to the case-file,
– the right to interpretation and translation,
– the right to be brought promptly before a court if the suspected or accused person is arrested.
The Commission says that a number of recent studies have shown that the way suspects are informed of their rights varies widely and that in the majority of cases information on rights is only provided orally, which decreases its effectiveness and makes it more difficult to monitor. The proposal naturally invokes the comparison with the Miranda warning in the US.
Posted in Human Rights, Justice and Internal Affairs, Procedural Law
Tagged arrest, Directive, European Union, habeas corpus, interpretation, Miranda, proposal, right of access to a lawyer, translation
The Council has adopted a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on a new draft directive aimed at introducing harmonised EU rules for entities managing alternative investment funds (AIFM), such as hedge funds and private equity funds.
One of the main issues that stand in the way of compromise is the rules for e hedge-fund managers outside the EU. The European Parliament proposes that a non-EU AIFM that wants to market its funds in the EU would have to voluntarily subject itself to the directive’s requirements.
Bloomberg quotes Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services commissioner, saying that he would work with finance ministers and the Parliament to get “a dynamic compromise,” which keeps “the integrity of the internal market.”
The new Directive 2010/24/EU concerning mutual assistance for the recovery of claims relating to taxes, duties and other measures has been published in the Official Journal. The new directive covers mutual assistance on all pecuniary claims against the taxpayer concerned or against a third party which substitute the original claim. Compulsory social security contributions are excluded from the application of the directive.
The Commission has proposed the adoption of two new directives – a directive on on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and a directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting victims.
Both directives will repeal prior framework decisions and will be adopted under the new rules of the Treaty of Lisbon – that means the co-decision procedure – adoption by the Council AND the European Parliament.
As the Commission points out, the two proposals will allow it to monitor and sanction poor implementation of the directives.
The European Commission has proposed a new Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings. The main provisions are:
Interpretation would have to be provided for communication with lawyers as well as during investigations – such as police questioning – and at trial.
To make sure that proceedings are fair, the proposal covers written translation of all essential documents such as the detention order, the charge sheet or indictment or vital pieces of evidence. Citizens should not have to rely only on an oral translation that summarises the evidence.
Citizens must have the right to legal advice before waiving the right to interpretation and translation. People should not be pressured into giving up their rights unless they have spoken to a lawyer.
Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds has been published in the Official Journal. It replaces the old Directive 79/409/EEC and covers the protection, management and control of wild birds.