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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Commission's statement of objections in truck cartel case

The European Commission has been investigating a cartel in the truck industry since at least 2011, when it carried out a series of dawn raids. It has indicated before that the cartel was a very old one. Now the Financial Times has come into possession of leaked documents (reported here) which tell us rather more about the investigation. Apparently the cartelists made agreements about the introduction of emissions technology, dating back to 1997. It involved DAF, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo (which also owns Renault Trucks) and MAN. It was the last-named of these which blew the whistle in the case.

No point in repeating what the FT reported, and anyway hard to do without risking an infringement of copyright. More in the next Motor Law newsletter, if I find more!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Common European Sales Law to be watered down

My old friend from long ago, Anthea McIntyre MEP, reports (on Facebook, as is the modern way) that the widely-disliked CESL, which many think rather unnecessary, is being watered down. Unsurprisingly, she attributes this to "Conservative pressure". Here's what she said (though for all I know it might just have come from a Conservative party press release):
The European Commission has agreed to scale down and refocus plans for a Common European Sales Law (CESL).
In publishing its legislative schedule for 2015 yesterday, the Commission said plans for a CESL would be replaced by a "modified proposal in order to fully unleash the potential of the digital single market."
Conservative MEPs gave the re-think a cautious welcome as a vindication of their determined campaign against the plans.
Ashley Fox, leader of Britain's Conservative and a consistent opponent of the proposed law, said: "This is good news and an encouraging approach from the new commission to weeding out meddlesome and unnecessary legislation so we can concentrate on what really matters.
"The CESL as originally proposed would have duplicated many existing national laws or undermined legislation which actually does a better job for both customers and vendors.
"Now we must be careful that any replacement proposal cannot simply echo what has been withdrawn. Instead we should have much deeper analysis of what actually hinders cross-border trade and online commerce.
Sajjad Karim, Conservative spokesman on legal affairs, said: "The CESL would have achieved nothing but confusion...a classic example of the EU's obsession with legislation making things worse instead of better.
"We have been warning against this for months and I am encouraged that the Commission is coming round to our way of thinking. Now it must move on from this failed project to modern and flexible proposal that will actually help businesses and consumers buy and sell across the EU."

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Truck design rules: reform delayed

The Council and the European Parliament reached agreement on a proposal from the Commission for a directive amending Council Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 on vehicle weights and dimensions. Readers will recall that the Parliament approved the proposal some time ago, but now national interests have become involved and the changes will not come into force for some time – and even then they will not be mandatory.

The most significant change will be to allow vehicles to be 80 to 90 cm longer – which doesn't sound much, but which would enable manufacturers to move away from the brick-like aerodynamics that the present rules (in conjunction with the need to maximise carrying capacity) make necessary, and also to improve the driver's view of cyclists, pedestrians and everything else going on around them. Unfortunately, truck designs have a very long life cycle and a couple of major manufacturers (Volvo and Renault) are committed to new bricks, so Sweden and France have led Member States in delaying the introduction of the new dimensions and making them optional.

Weights and Dimensions page on the Commission website (the link to the proposal is broken).