As part of its ambitious aviation strategy, the European Commission has proposed harmonising European drone rules. The Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Joint Undertaking recently unveiled U-Space – a blueprint on the use of drones in low-level airspace. The European Aviation Safety Agency is seeing to it that U-Space has rules that ensure the safe integration of drones into the airspace.
The European Commission recently announced its proposal to amend the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, with the aim of contributing to EU climate objectives regarding the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Although the emission and compensation criteria have not yet been clearly defined, according to this new scheme, there will be three main phases to implement the measures set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Private aviation in Europe will soon be subject to heightened regulatory standards following the implementation of EU Regulation 800/2013. Operators of complex motor-powered aircraft for non-commercial operations must comply with the new regulation standards from August. Aircraft financiers should consider how this affects their investment in these aircraft and whether action needs to be taken to mitigate any potential adverse exposure.
The highly charged aviation emissions issue will reach a critical crossroads at the next International Civil Aviation Organisation assembly in 2016. If no agreement on a global emissions reduction scheme is reached, the European Union may reintroduce the full-scope EU Emissions Trading Scheme covering all flights within, to and from the European Union, which could have wide-ranging consequences for aircraft operators and owners.
EU Directive 2017/828, amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement, was recently published. The directive provides several options for member states when transposing the directive into national law. Depending on how the respective national legislature make use of these options, there will be minor or major changes to the national law.
Under certain strict conditions, agricultural producers can coordinate their pricing and quantities without falling foul of the EU competition rules. However, the European Court of Justice recently confirmed that not all practices by agricultural producer organisations and their associations are automatically excluded from the application of those rules. This judgment is a timely reminder that the EU competition rules apply broadly to the agricultural sector and that any exclusions will be interpreted restrictively.
The European Court of Justice recently clarified a number of thorny issues regarding excessive pricing, which had been otherwise unaddressed by previous case law. The ECJ offered answers to the questions of how many countries must be surveyed when seeking to demonstrate excess through cross-border comparisons, how relative purchasing power should be taken into account and whether a defendant can claim that average prices are fair even if specific customer rates are not.
In its recent ruling on the European Commission's 500-page Intel decision, the European Court of Justice revisited 40 years of jurisprudence as to when a dominant company's rebate scheme may be abusive. Though not a final decision, the case marks a potentially major departure from the arguably form-based approach to rebates advocated by the European Union's lower court.
Although enshrined in the EU treaties since inception, 'unfair pricing' as an abuse of market power was a little-used tool in enforcers' armoury. The few cases that were brought tended to be based on exceptional circumstances, and many failed on the facts. A May 2017 EU probe has brought the abuse back to the enforcement agenda. However, this is unlikely to denote a new trend; it is too early to say that this is the new normal.
The European Commission continues to expand the concept of selectivity – the key feature of any state aid measure – to outlaw member states' measures as state aid. It has done so in its high-profile tax rulings cases, and the European Court of Justice refused to curtail this expansive approach in its judgment in the Spanish goodwill cases.
The European Union has proposed a new EU framework for screening foreign investment that raises security and public order concerns for the European Union and its member states. The commission intends to launch, and possibly complete, the proposed framework by the end of 2018. Opposition by several member states means that it is unclear whether the proposal will be approved by the Council of the European Union.
Five years on from the G20's commitment to implement measures to increase transparency and reduce risk in the derivative markets, there have been significant changes to regulations affecting the derivatives markets in the European Union. However, many new rules are still not yet in force and some, such as the margin requirements under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, will not be fully implemented until 2020.
The European Commission recently published the final delegated regulation on the margin requirements for derivative trades not cleared by a central counterparty. Under the European Market and Infrastructure Regulation, certain counterparties will need to exchange both initial and variation margin in respect of derivative trades not cleared by a central counterparty. These rules will have far-reaching consequences for derivatives documentation.
The European Commission has introduced a new EU regulation on over-the-counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. The regulation provides clearing obligation and risk mitigation techniques for certain derivative contracts, trade reporting, registration, financial and risk management requirements for clearing organisations and new trade execution requirements.
Almost four years since the EU Over-the-Counter (OTC) Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories Regulation came into force, one of its main requirements – to clear certain OTC derivative trades through a central counterparty – is now coming into effect. The clearing obligation will affect many derivatives users, including pension schemes.
Implementation of the new EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive has been delayed until January 2018. The directive introduces a number of changes, including an expanded range of commodity derivatives, narrower exemptions for firms dealing in commodity derivatives, changes to mandatory position limits and reporting requirements and an expansion of the European Securities and Markets Authority's power.