European Union

John Downes's picture

Working Time Directive

The International Transport Federation held a day of action to protest about the application of this Directive. This is the largest sector not covered by the Directive. Approximately 3.5m transport workers are employed in the sector. The European Commission threatened to propose legislation for the sector if no agreement was reached between employers and unions by 30 September. Agreement was finally reached between the employers' organisations and trade unions in the railway and maritime sectors. However, no agreement was reached in the road transport sector.

John Downes's picture

Airport Slots

Commissioner Neil Kinnock announced plans to buy and sell take-off slots. In July, British Airways and American Airlines were required to relinquish 267 slots (without compensation) in order to obtain EU approval for their alliance. The plans for buying and selling the slots will require legislative changes and are unlikely to be effected before 2001.

John Downes's picture

Milan Airports

The Commission has declared the arrangements for distribution of air traffic between Milan's two airports (a new airport was recently opened) as contrary to EU law. The effect of the arrangements is to give advantage to Alitalia. [IP/98/795]
John Downes's picture

Tourism and the Euro

A conference was held in Brussels on 16 October to help the tourism sector prepare for the introduction of the Euro. The new currency comes into effect in participating countries on 1 January 1999. The Conference was opened by Commissioners Christos Papoutsis and Emma Bonino and addressed best practice, training needs, and liaison with the banks. Further details are available from DG XXIII on 00 32 2 295 3736.

John Downes's picture

End of Duty Free

Duty-free sales come to an end on 1 July 1999. From that date, sales on board ships and aircraft on journeys within the EU will be subject to the excise duty at the rate applicable in the country where the goods were loaded on to the vessel or aircraft. VAT will apply at the rate of the Member State of departure. These rules apply to intra-EU journeys, notwithstanding the fact that during the journey the vessel crosses into international airspace or waters. [IP/98/858]

Manuel Masseno's picture

Greece and the Euro

The ECOFIN Council approved Greece's convergence programme for 1998-2001 which would enable it to meet the criteria required for it to join the single currency on 1 January 2001.