Sept. 2, 2015
Passenger transport markets in Europe have been, and continue to be, liberalised across jurisdictions and sectors.
Since July 2015, passenger coach operators in France have been allowed to operate without regulation on longer routes (over 100km). For shorter routes, ARAFER, the French regulator for rail and roads, will test whether the coach service is likely to threaten the viability of the public rail service offered by SNCF on the same route. What changes could this reform bring, and how might the economic test be applied?
May 20, 2015
March 27, 2015
The cost issue of regulation is a recurring issue.
One can complain specifically, when companies are protesting about the "cost of regulation" or when the topic is taken as an object of study, through the cost / benefit calculation.
A practical question of importance is whether there is a "legal question" or not.
The "juridicity" of a question is defined by the fact that discussing about this question has an effect on the outcome of a case before a judge. This concrete definition, leaving the judge's power, binding nature of the rule (here the balance between cost and benefit) the effectiveness of its decision before the judge, its consideration by him in the decision he makes, has been proposed in France by Carbonnier. It is opposed to a definition of Law by the source, the author of the rule, which identifies law for example through Parliament Acts, because the text is adopted by the legislator, listed source of law.
The first definition, more sociological, more flexible, giving the spotlight on judge better corresponds to a legal system which gives more room for ex post and for the judge. It is logical that we find more demonstrations of this conception in the common law systems.
However, the issue of cost / benefit is being debated before the Supreme Court of the United States, about the latest environmental regulations, adopted by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). It is a question of law. It is under the empire of the judge.
For it is in this light that President Barack Obama in November 2014 asked a very costly regulation, and it was under his leadership that the Environmental Protection Agency has developed texts. Indeed, pollution of certain plants are the cause of asthma and laid in public health imperative to fight a regulation that results in a direct cost on firms. Indeed, some plants pollution is the cause of asthma and President Obama has asked public health imperative to combat by a regulation that results in a direct cost on the industry. The regulations adopted in 2012 they cost a $ 9 million, some claiming that future ones could result in billions of costs directly related to business The President emphasized by stating that the health of children was priceless.
By challenging those of 2012 before the Supreme Court, in the case Michigan v. EPA, this is the other texts that conservative states and companies have in mind because it is the principle that is posed: : does A regulator have the right to take regulations very "expensive" when the advantage, however legitimate it is, is small-scale in terms of costs? The Supreme Court, having chosen to handle the case, listened to March 25, 2015, the arguments of each other and discussed the case.
The question is the integration or not into the constitutional notion of "necessity of the law" of the "cost / benefit" calculation. This is a crucial point because the concept of "necessity of the law" is a common notion to the constitutions of many countries.
However, not only the so-called judges "conservatives" as Justice Antonio Scalia, took position felt it was crazy not "consider" the cost of new regulations from the expected health benefits, but also Justice Stephen Breyer called "progressive," said "irrational" the environmental regulator has not taken in consideration such an imbalance between cost and benefit.
It is true that Justice Breyer was formerly professor of competition law at Harvard.
Judgment will be given in June.
Feb. 18, 2015
February 17, 2015, as the previous "Contrat de Régulation Économique" (Economie Regulatory Contract), the firm Aéroport de Paris (ADP) has made available on its site to all "for consultation" the draft "Contrat de Régulation Economique ("Economic Regulatory Contract) for the period 2016 -2020.
Published in the wake of the meeting of the Board of ADP, the text is presented as a tool "for the Paris place", especially for air transport.
This shows that the document is primarily intended for investors and financial markets, the document being placed on the company website in the section for the "investors".
This illustrates the evolution from the traditional "contrats de plan" (plan contracts). But then, who are the parties to these types of contract?
Indeed, the very term "Regulatory contract" is new in public Law. It appears as a sort of modernization of "plan contract." The Conseil d'État (French State Council) finally admitted the contractual nature of these planning contracts. In these contracts, are parties were the State and the company in charge of a public service.
Because here the contract is an instrument of "economic regulation" the open public consultation draft rather expresses a global conception of ADP, the company which manages the Paris airports, for the future of the development of critical infrastructure that is the airport as the heart of global development of air transport.
The enterprise manager of the airport in the heart of the contract (rather than the State) in setting objectives for the coming four years is the letter and spirit of the French law of 20 April 2005 about Airports, which put the apparatus of this "Contrat de Régulation Economique" in place.
In this, the infrastructure manager is set by law as a "regulator of second degree", as can be a financial market enterprise. The company that manages and develops the Paris airports undoubtedly belongs to the category of " critical firms", as well it manages the future of the sector and helps to keep France a place in the world.
More, A.D.P. behaves like a Regulator, since it is carrying out the "public consultation", the consultation paper prepared by it, being placed on its site and developing its ambitions for the sector and for France. But A.D.P. also expressed as a financial and economic actor, emphasizing the competitive environment, demanding in passing more stability and clarity in the regulation in which it moves ...
That is why the consultation mechanism provided by the law must be more complex. Indeed, ADP can not be judge and jury. Therefore if the project raises observations, they must be formuled not to ADP but to the Ministries of Aviation and Economy, within a month. They shall communicate theiir content to ADP . Then the Commission consultative aéroportaire (French Airport Consultative Committee) will be consulted. At the end of this process, the "Contrat de Régulation Economique" will be signed.
Seing the end of the process, it remains in line with the plan contracts, since it remains the Economic Regulatory Contract is signed between the State and the essential infrastructure manager. But the consultation process shows firstly investors are the first recipients of the statements made by a privatized company presenting its draft primarily in terms of competitive context and international development and secondly the airlines that use daily services of the airports are also directly involved by theses questions of tarification.
Airlines protest against the increase in the money that will be asked. This will be imposed, since it is tarification and princing public policy. We are in unilateral rules. But it is indeed a "price" they feel to pay, they also heard a speech referring to competition in what the mechanism is presented as a "contract".
But then, does it take to admit that these "contracts for economic regulation" are not between two parties that are the state and the regulator of second degree that is the infrastructure manager but must be three, the State, the infrastructure manager and "stakeholders" that are mainly airlines?
This practical difficulty is much to the fact that the qualification of "contract" is difficult to justify in proceeding in which prevail unilateral mechanisms.
Feb. 14, 2015
The repression is inseparable from how to repress. This is why the procedural difficulties are indicative of underlying fundamental problems. Currently, the basic issue updated by the battles around the procedures of financial sanctions is about the sanction bais.
For the regulator, the penalty is one tool among others to regulate financial markets. The penalty in a continuum with its legislative powers, are its teeth and claws through which financial markets are developing. The purpose of financial policy justifies an objective repression with a probationary system often based on presumptions leading to impute breaches players in some positions on or financial markets. The regulator must have this card in hand and use it according to this method.
Moreover, if it happens that people commit reprehensible misconducts, perceived as such by the social group, they should be punished, possibly up to the prison. Only the criminal justice is legitimate to do so legitimately weighed down by the burden of proving intentionality, etc.
We must distinguish these two types of criminality. It is from there that the two procedures and two probationary systems can take place at the same time but on different offenses.
For now this is not the case, as "financial misconduct" are only the carbon copy of "financial crimes" lightened loads of evidence that protected the defendant and who should answer for now twice.
Procedural problem? No, problem of criminalization, which won't be released by procedural solutions, the most hazardous being to create a new institution, the most calamitous being to weaken the system by removing one of the ways of prosecution. It is necessary to make distinctions in the offenses that are currently redundant.
Thus, repression as a regulatory tool used by the Regulator is in focus, but the real financial criminal law remains to be consolidated to achieve its own and classic goal: punish faults including through the prison.
Feb. 12, 2015
In France, the decrees adopted February 10, 2015 for the implementation of the "rail reform" illustrates the willingness of the Government to decide alone, the advisory role of the regulator remaining marginal
There is no point in counting one by one the powers of a Regulator and add them to try to measure its power. We must measure what consideration the others have of the exercise of its powers it.
So it is with its advice power. Sometimes, in fact, its opinion is worth as much as if it adopted the text itself, as those who read its comments are impressed. Sometimes, the Regulator may have taken a rational opinion, motivated and relevant, those to whom it is addressed don't care.
The result is often that the Regulator takes note of this weakness against which strictly within the framework of this opinion mechanism the regulatory body can do nothing, but in a continuation of powers between the Ex Ante and the Ex post, because the area is an enclosed space, the diverse attitudes will be remembered, especially when the Regulator will be exercising its powers to resolve disputes or its power of sanctions. And there ...
Take the example of railway activities. The French Regulatory Authority of Railway Activities (Autorité de Régulation des Activités Ferroviaires - ARAF )) is a new regulator, in front of powerful actors, where the State has interests. The fact that these interests are legitimate don't remove the weight that such integrated public operator is facing the regulator. On 27 November 2014, ARAF expressed negative opinions about the main draft decrees. January 6, 2015, the Autorité de la Concurrence (French Competition Authority) has also made a critical opinion, including in its discontent and the law of "Railway Reform" and the draft decrees.
February 11, 2015, 7 decrees implementing the February 10, 2015 have been published. Adverse opinion on three of them by the regulator (ARAF) were swept away. We can admit quite, both regarding the Competition Authority opinion, since we are in terms of regulation and not in the simple competition system, and about ARAF opinion because its opinion is only a consultative and executive power remains in line with the will of Parliament. It's almost as if the Regulator had not said a word.
Thus, under the hierarchy of norms, in the letter and in spirit, the decrees are in line with the law they enforce. No blame.
But it is not excluded that the regulator of rail activities can remember of having been so little after, when it must be considered as a kind of judge in civil functions (dispute resolution) and in punitive functions (sanctions) that almost the same will appear before the regulatory body.
Jan. 22, 2015
A simple question: be regulator, is it a profession?
As soon as one asks the question, it should be down. Indeed, the time has passed when the regulator was a natural person. Today, in most cases, the regulator takes the form of a Regulatory Authority, that is to say an entity with or without legal personality, incorporated in the State or professional.
Individuals appear as a member of the Authority, even if it is true that the President of the Regulatory Authority often has a very importan role!footnote-17.
The choice of Commissioners is crucial to the independence and effectiveness of the regulatory authority. It is appropriate that the person has "authority" over the area, must be respected and participates effectively in the collective action of the College.
Let us try to recall the two sets of criteria to determine how one thinks the "good regulator" before taking such case the appointment of Mr. Yann Padova as a new member of the College of the Commission de Régulation de l'Énergie (French Energy Regulatory Commission).
Jan. 20, 2015
The integration into economic chains, third way between exclusion of competition or abandon competition: January 15, 2015, the European Commission opened a consultation on the implementation of the device in the new CAP
The original spirit of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was to think of agriculture as a sector unfolding in time, subject to natural hazards, including actors, both farmers and the population that is fed, having interests on which national states shall ensure.
The spirit of the new Common Agricultural Policy is different, even opposite, which explains the length of its gestation. Indeed, competition becomes the principle guarantor of innovation, fair prices for consumers and competitiveness of the European agricultural industry facing global competition, which leads to assist agricultural enterprises, to worry about products quality, away from the subtraction of these products of the principle of competition.
The political agreement was reached in 2013, the basic technical texts were completed in 2013 for the new apparatus be applicable to January 1, 2014, including a Regulation of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in argricultural products (CMO).
It points out that the agricultural sector is subject to competition law only if the Community legislature didn't stipulate differently!footnote-16. The Regulation almost affirms the opposite principle: "It should be provided that the rules on competition relating to the agreements, decisions and practices referred to in Article 101 TFEU and to abuse of a dominant position apply to the production of, and the trade in, agricultural products, provided that their application does not jeopardise the attainment of the objectives of the CAP.". The Regulation details: A special approach should be allowed in the case of farmers' or producer organisations or their associations, the objective of which is the joint production or marketing of agricultural products or the use of joint facilities, unless such joint action excludes competition or jeopardises the attainment of the objectives of Article 39 TFEU.
On 15 January 2015 the European Commission launches a consultation on the "joint salling of olive oil, beef and veal livestock and arable crops, cases covered by the Regulation.
How the new balance will be between competition and regulation?!footnote-20
It is likely that future guidelines will be the place of expression of this balance.
Jan. 10, 2015
January 6, 2015, the French Competition Authority expresses its concern about the effectiveness of the independence of the operator of the rail transport network, now integratednow integrated into the public group that also included public operator faced with competition
Dec. 10, 2014
By decision of the 5th of November 2014, UBS, the Conseil d'État (French State Council) validates the sanctioning power of the French prudential regulator (Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution - ACPR) on the internal control requirements for banks in light of constitutional principle of legality of criminal offenses and penalties, in refusing to transmit a priority question of constitutionality in this regard.
Constitutional Law will have an increasingly important role to play in regulatory Law. This is especially true since the State Council uses its power to filter itself become a sort of Constitutional Court or maybe a Supreme Court.
One can think so reading the UBS decision on the 5th of November 2014.
Indeed, to refuse to transmit to the Conseil constitutionnel (French Constitutional Council) the priority question of constitutionality formulated by UBS, the French Council of State gives what it believes to be the correct interpretation of the constitutional principle of legality of offenses and penalties in banking regulatory Law.
So to say there is no "question", the Conseil d'État says there is no "problem" because, through the interpretation it gives, the provisions of the Code Monétaire et Financier offers to the Supervisory Authority, the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the power to sanction the bank for having not properly implemented its internal control, comply with the constitutional principle of legality of offenses and penalties, which is applicable in administrative repression.
But because to estimate that there is no "question", it must be said that there is no "problem", it is assumed that the High Administrative Court has acted as Constitutional Court.
We must take note. Is this really what the Constituent wanted by instituting a filter system by the constitutional law of the 23rd July 2008 establishing the priority question on constitutionality? Indeed, in this very sensitive and decisive question of repression in banking and finance, is it not at least to the French Constitutional Council itself to say the authoritative interpretation to remember that the constitutional text it is the guardian?
Updated: Nov. 20, 2012 (Initial publication: Aug. 30, 2012)
A "Chambre régionale de discipline des commissaires aux comptes" (Auditors’ regional chamber of discipline) had imposed a penalty on one of these professionals, who formed a retrial before this chamber. His action is dismissed for lack of text, that confirms the "Haut Conseil du Commissariat aux Comptes (French High Council of the Commissioner of Account). The "Conseil d’Etat" (French Council of State) invalidates the decision, demanding that retrial is open, even without special text, if the applicant claims that the decision was not adopted on the relevant documents.
Une chambre régionale de discipline des commissaires aux comptes avait infligé une sanction à un de ces professionnels, qui forme un recours en révision devant cette chambre. Le recours est rejeté faute de texte, ce que confirme le Haut Conseil du Commissariat aux Compte. Le Conseil d’Etat invalide la décision, en posant qu’un recours en révision est ouvert, même sans texte spécial, si le requérant prétend que la décision n’a pas été adoptée sur des pièces pertinentes.
Updated: Sept. 26, 2012 (Initial publication: Feb. 22, 2010)
The European Parliament vetoed the agreement between the European Union and the United States on the transfer of financial data from the SWIFT network, on the grounds that such transfers violate privacy rights and are disproportionate to their aim of fighting terrorism.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: April 2, 2010)
A decision handed down by the French Court of Cassation (Cour de cassation) validates a right of first refusal contract whose purpose was to prevent financial speculation on the property being sold. This decision, political in nature, opens new possibilities for using the contract as an instrument for regulating real-estate prices.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: March 22, 2010)
Ordinance n° 2010-76 of 21 January 2010 establishes a new independent administrative authority designated as the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel (Prudential Control Authority), resulting from the merger of the approval and monitoring authorities of the banking and insurance sectors.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Feb. 12, 2010)
II-6.5 : Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009, on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions amending Directives 2005/60/EC and 2006/48/EC and repealing Directive 2000/46/EC.
The European Directive of September 16th 2009 introduces a clear definition of electronic money and establishes a new prudential supervisory regime of the business of electronic money institutions.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Feb. 11, 2010)
The ‘Autorité des Marchés Financiers’ (French Financial Markets Authority) published a guidebook on the information to be provided in listed securities’ registration documents.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Feb. 11, 2010)
The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF – French Financial Markets Authority) approves the "Provisions" section of the Code of Good Practice published by the Association française de la gestion financière (AFG—French Asset Management Association).
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Feb. 11, 2010)
A French Bill on banking and Financial Regulation was registered with the Presidency of the “Assemblée Nationale” (the lower house of the French Parliament, the National Assembly) on December 16th 2009, and plans for the creation of a council on financial regulation and systemic risk.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Feb. 11, 2010)
The European Commission approves a Swedish export-credit insurance scheme until December 31st, 2010, in accordance with the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures in the current financial and economic crisis
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: July 15, 2012)
II-5.16. On July 12, 2012, the Belgian Constitutional Court annulled a decree by which a region has fixed rates for injection into the electricity distribution network, because the federal power as that exercised by the regulator, is required
In Belgium, the Flemish Region had adopted the Decree of 23 December 2010 to exemp those providing electricity with a renewable source to pay the rate of injection into the electricity transmission network. The Region stated that it was not an act tariff, thus falling under its jurisdiction. The decree, attacked by the energy regulator before the Belgium Constitutional Court, was canceled by the latter in a ruling dated July 12, 2012, because it is an act of pricing, under the only federal competence.
En Belgique, la Région flamande avait adopté le décret du 23 décembre 2010 pour exempter les producteurs d'électricité ayant pour source une énergie renouvelable du payement dû au titre de l'injection de l'électricité dans le réseau de distribution. La Région posait qu'il ne s'agit pas d'un acte de tarification, et que cela relevait donc de sa compétence régionnale. Ce décret, attaché par le Régulateur de l'Energie devant la Cour Constitutionnelle de Belgique, a été annulé par celle-ci dans une décision en date du 12 juillet 2012, parce qu'il s'agit bien d'un acte touchant à la tarification, pour laquelle seul des organes fédéraux sont compétents.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: July 11, 2012)
After suspending the freeze of gas prices for consumers, the "Conseil d’Etat" (French Council of State) in a judgment of 10 July 2012, cancels the freeze, as it constitutes an error of law, because it shows that the Government has not incorporated or offset procurement costs borne by the public service provider.
Après avoir suspendu le gel des tarifs gaiers pour les consommateurs, le Conseil d’Etat, dans un arrêt du 10 juillet 2012, a annulé l’arrêté qui avait imposé ce gel, en ce qu’il constitue un erreur de droit, parce qu’il montre que le Gouvernement n’avait pas incorporé ou offert de compenser les coûts supportés par le fournisseur de service public.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: June 9, 2012)
II-5.14: On May 15, 2012, the "Conseil d'Etat" (French Council of State) seized the Court of Justice of the European Union of a preliminary question about the national tariff in support of wind energy
In France, the Minister of Ecology has issued an Order to facilitate the
purchase of electricity generated by wind. The text is being challenged
before the "Conseil d’Etat" (State Council) for illegality, in that it
constitutes state aid. The State Council considers the matter serious
enough to suspend the proceeding and seized the Court of Justice of the
European Union of a preliminary question on 15 May 2012.
En France, le ministre de l’Ecologie a émis une ordonnance afin de faciliter l’achat de l’électricité produite par le vent. Le texte est actuellement contestée devant le «Conseil d’Etat" (Conseil d’Etat) pour cause d’illégalité, en ce qu’elle constitue une aide d’Etat. Le Conseil d’Etat considère que l’affaire suffisamment grave pour suspendre la procédure et saisi la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne d’une question préjudicielle le 15 mai 2012.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: April 11, 2012)
The translated summaries are done by the Editors and not by the Authors.
The 12th General Assembly of the Association of Mediterranean Regulators
for Electricity and Gas (MEDREG) was held at the headquarters of the
Greek Regulatory Authority of Energy (RAE), on 14 December 2011. On this
occasion, members of MEDREG have approved the initial proposals made by
the Task Force devoted to investments in energy infrastructure, aiming
to stimulate investment in the Mediterranean region. The MEDRED also
exercises regulatory powers similar to those of ACER.
La 12ème Assemblée Générale de l’Association des Régulateurs Méditerranéens de l’Electricité et du Gaz (MEDREG) s’est tenue au siège de l’Autorité grecque de Régulation de l’Energie (RAE), le 14 décembre 2011. A cette occasion, les membres de MEDREG ont approuvé les premières propositions émises par la Task Force consacrée aux investissements dans les infrastructures énergétiques, ayant pour objectif de stimuler les investissements dans la région de la Méditerranée. La MEDRED exerce en outre des pouvoirs de régulation analogues à ceux de l’ACER.
Other translations forthcoming.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Jan. 13, 2012)
II-5.12: The European Commission adopts a decision regarding the exemptions regarding the notification of public service compensation granted to undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest, in derogation of the prohibition on State Aids.
On December 20, 2011, the European Commission adopted a decision based on the Almark ruling that expounds upon the four conditions necessary so that compensation paid by a State to any state-owned or private company entrusted with the operation of a public service not require prior notification of the European Commission, despite the general prohibition on State Aids. Each state has a wide margin of discretion in the definition of services that could be classified as being services of general economic interest. A communication and de minimis regulation will complete this decision.
Updated: Sept. 25, 2012 (Initial publication: Jan. 4, 2012)
In The Journal of Regulation the summaries’ translation are done by the Editors and not by the authors
On November 28, 2011, the French Council of State issued a summary judgment suspending the Government price freeze on household natural gas prices because the ‘price scissors’ effect it had was harming competition, and because no superior legal norm justified the freeze.
Le 28 Novembre 2011, le Conseil d’Etat a rendu une Ordonnance de référé, suspendant le gel des prix du gouvernement concernant les prix domestiques du gaz naturel, car l’effet de «ciseaux des prix" avait pour effet de nuire à la concurrence, et parce qu’il n’existe pas de norme juridique supérieure justifiait ce gel des tarifs par un décret.
El 28 de noviembre de 2011, el Consejo de Estado francés emitió una orden judicial de congelación del precio del gobierno sobre los precios internos del gas natural, porque el efecto del "precio de tijeras" efecto fue el de perjudicar a la competencia, y porque no existe una norma legal que justifica el congelamiento de las tarifas por decreto.
Il 28 novembre 2011, il Consiglio di stato francese ha reso una sentenza sommaria in cui ordina la sospensione de gelo dei prezzi del gas naturale per le famiglie, previsto precedentemente dal governo, l’effetto “forbice prezzi” causato da tale decisione stava causando danni alla libera concorrenza e poiché tale decisione di gelare i prezzi non era fondata su nessuna norma legale superiore.
El 28 de noviembre del 2011, el Conseil d’Etat (Consejo de Estado de Francia) decidió que la prohibición de los OGM establecido por varias decretos ministeriales en diciembre 2007 y febrero 2008 no son válidos. La razón principal detrás de esta decisión es la falta de prueba suficiente dada por el gobierno francés que los OGM representan una gran amenaza a la salud pública y el ambiente. No obstante, los Ministros de Agricultura y Ambiente declararon el 13 de enero 2012 que esta misma prohibición será adoptada.
Other translation forthcoming.