Austrian EU-Presidency 2018 - Position Paper of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber on the - EUKN

 
Austrian EU-Presidency 2018 - Position Paper of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber on the - EUKN
Position Paper of the
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber on the

       Austrian EU-Presidency
                         2018

                                February 2018
Impressum

Medieninhaber und Herausgeber:
Wirtschaftskammer Österreich,
Wiedner Hauptstraße 63, 1045 Wien, http://wko.at
Redaktion: Stabsabteilung EU-Koordination
Autorin: Mag. Lisa Rilasciati

February 2018
CONTENT

INTRODUCTION                                                                   4
STRONGER INTEGRATION OF SOCIAL PARTNERS AND ECONOMIC CHAMBERS
AT EUROPEAN LEVEL                                                              4
FUTURE OF EUROPE                                                               5
STRONGER CONSIDERATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY AND FOCUS
ON MEASURES WITH A CLEAR EUROPEAN ADDED VALUE                                  5
DEEPENING ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION (EMU)                                    6
COMPLETION OF A REAL FINANCIAL UNION                                           6
MULTIANNUAL FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK POST 2020                                      6
EU-ENLARGEMENT                                                                 7
BREXIT                                                                         7
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION                                           8
EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY – THE EUROPEAN SEMESTER                                   8
GROWTH AND COMPETITIVENESS                                                     9
BALANCED CONSUMER PROTECTION                                                   9
THINK SMALL FIRST PRINCIPLE                                                    9
BETTER REGULATION PUSHED BY THE REFIT-PLATFORM                                 10
REFORM OF THE BUSINESS STATISTICS                                              10
PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE ON STRENGTHENING NATIONAL COMPETITION
AUTHORITIES (ECN+)                                                             10
NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES IN THE SERVICE SECTOR                                  11
SMIT - SINGLE MARKET INFORMATION TOOL                                          11
DIGITAL DOMESTIC MARKET                                                        11
CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS REGULATION                                               12
INSOLVENCY PROCEEDINGS                                                         12
TRANSPORT                                                                      13
EUROVIGNETTE DIRECTIVE                                                         13
BETTER ACCESS TO THE EU ROAD HAULAGE MARKET -                                  13
POSTING OF WORKERS DIRECTIVE: SPECIFIC RULES FOR THE TRANSPORT SECTOR NEEDED   14
WORKING TIME DIRECTIVE: REGULATION ON DRIVING TIMES AND REST PERIODS           14
SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY                                                            15
ETS AVIATION                                                                   15
ELECTRONIC CONSIGNMENT NOTE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY ROAD    15
UNION OF CITIZENS                                                              16
EUROPEAN PILLAR OF SOCIAL RIGHTS                                               16
COORDINATION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEMS                                    16
REFORM OF THE POSTING OF WORKERS DIRECTIVE                                     16
EU AS A GLOBAL PLAYER                                                          17
TRADE AGREEMENTS                                                               17
INSTRUMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT (IPI)                                 17
PROPOSAL FOR A REVISED VERSION OF THE EU-DUAL-USE DIRECTIVE                    18
MARSHALL-PLAN FOR AFRICA                                                       18
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT                                                       19
ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY AND CLIMATE POLICY                                         19
ENERGY POLICY                                                                  19
INTRODUCTION
In the second half of 2018 Austria will be chairing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Austrian EU-
Presidency has to deal with a number of important issues. The Presidency’s major challenges include the implementation
of the European Security and Migration Agenda, the fight against terrorism, the debates on the multi-annual financial
framework post2020, the Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom and the debate on the future of the European
Union.

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber of Austria (WKÖ) demands to focus in the second half of 2018 on growth,
investments in the future, competitiveness, cutting red tape for businesses and the creation of new jobs. We have to
strengthen the European economy and make Europe fit for the next decade.

The Austrian EU Presidency will take place in a politically sensitive time because the European Parliament’s legislature
ends in 2019, as is the European Commission’s term of office. Numerous dossiers have to be finalised before the EP
elections in spring 2019, and the course for a new legislative period should be set as well.

With this paper the WKÖ, as legal representative of Austrian companies, defines the priorities of the Austrian economy
for the second half of 2018. The WKÖ is the legal representation of approximately 480,000 Austrian companies as well
as social partners on the employers’ side. It is registered under No 10405322962-08 in the Transparency Register of the
European Commission and of the European Parliament.

For further informations please contact:

MMag. Christian Mandl 					                     Mag. Lisa Rilasciati
Leiter der Stabsabteilung EU-Koordination (WKÖ) Stabsabteilung EU-Koordination (WKÖ)
T: +43 5 90 900 4316 					                      T: +43 5 90 900 4336
E: christian.mandl@wko.at 				                  E: lisa.rilasciati@wko.at
I: http://wko.at/eu 					I: http://wko.at/eu

STRONGER INTEGRATION OF SOCIAL PARTNERS AND
ECONOMIC CHAMBERS AT EUROPEAN LEVEL
The European social partners and economic chambers should be more included in relevant EU policies, such as the
European Semester, measures to deepen the EMU and regarding economic governance.

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber supports the establishment of a macroeconomic dialogue in the Eurozone
including all European social partners and economic chambers as well as a further expansion of the European Social
Dialogue including European economic chamber not only in the negotiations of social legislation.

4
FUTURE OF EUROPE
In 2017, the European Commission launched a debate on the future of Europe on the basis of a White Paper and several
Reflection Papers. Reform proposals regarding the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union have already been
adopted by the Commission, further proposals regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework beyond 2020 are expected
in spring 2018. In January 2018, a Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and “Doing Less More Efficiently” will
start its work.

The Austrian EU Presidency shall promote the debate on the future of Europe in order to enable reforms before the
European Elections in June 2019.

A strong and functioning European Union is of particular interest to the Austrian economy as more than 70% of foreign
trade is conducted with other EU Member States.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • A closer cooperation between some Member States is already reality, for example Schengen, the Economic
     and Monetary Union (EMU) and the enhanced cooperation according to article 20 TEU. Yet one has to bear
     in mind that in certain areas, as for example environmental, energy and transport policy, EU-wide provisions
     are required to avoid a distortion of competition. Also, in the field of labour law and social policy, legislative
     measures must continue to be applied to the whole EU. With regard to the Economic and Monetary Union,
     some standards in the field of social policy (for example the sustainability of social security systems; the
     functioning of labour markets) have to be converged. This should not be achieved by legislative means but
     rather by determining common goals and their periodical review.
   • Simplifying the regulatory environment and avoiding further burdens on companies are essential requirements
     for Europe also in the future.

STRONGER CONSIDERATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY AND FOCUS ON MEASURES WITH A CLEAR
EUROPEAN ADDED VALUE

The efforts of the European Commission to act only in areas with a European added value will be supported by the Task
Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and “Doing Less More Efficiently”. This task force will be chaired by the 1st Vice
President Frans Timmermans and start its work in January 2018. It consists of 3 members of national parliaments, the
European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions respectively. It will present its recommendations to president
Juncker before 15 July 2018, in particular regarding the better application of the principles of subsidiarity and
proportionality in the preparation and implementation of EU legislation.

Furthermore, it will identify areas where decision making and/or implementation could be redelegated in whole or
in part to the Member States. In September 2018, the Commission will adopt a communication regarding the further
promotion of subsidiarity, proportionality and better regulation.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • The principle of subsidiarity, as fundamental principle and operational framework, should be further developed
     and strengthened. This can be achieved, if in the future only rules with a clear European added value are
     adopted. As a consequence, over-regulation can be avoided and a business-friendly environment be established.
   • Respecting the principle of subsidiarity, new legislative acts should only be proposed if firstly, the issue is not
     covered by another legal act and secondly, the impact assessment shows a clear European added value as well as
     an economic added value.
   • Regarding the Single Market not everything should be regulated in detail, wherever possible the principle of
     mutual recognition should be applied. This principle ensures the free movement of goods and services making
     the harmonisation of national legislation unnecessary.

                                                                                                                          5
DEEPENING ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION (EMU)

In order to make the EMU more stable, resilient and competitive, a stronger integration of economic, fiscal and financial
policy is necessary that is also inforceable. At the end of May 2017, a paper on the future of EMU was published in the
context of the discussion on the future of Europe. It discusses several options regarding the further development of EMU.
In December 2017 further details including a roadmap were published.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
    • First, consistent application and enforcement of existing instruments, is important, for example within the
      framework of the European Semester or in the case of procedures for macroeconomic imbalances.
    • The shift of competence from national to European level is only reasonable if all Member States adhere without
      exception to the EMU rules. EMU cannot be a simple transfer union. Risk-minimisation reduces the incentive to
      budget discipline. The principle of economic self-responsibility must be the focus.
    • Member States have not sufficiently implemented necessary structural reforms. WKO therefore supports a stronger
      link between national reforms and the use of EU funds.
    • An intensive dialogue with social partners is necessary for the further cautious development of the EMU and
      implementation of rules.
    • A common fiscal policy including a stabilisation function can only be at the end of a process of successful
      convergence in economic and social terms.

COMPLETION OF A REAL FINANCIAL UNION

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber supports balanced and targeted regulation. However, over-regulation should
be avoided. The further development of the banking unions, including the fiscal consolidation of the single deposit
insurance fund, is important, but subject to conditions.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
    • No communitisation of bank debts within the European Deposit Insurance Scheme or at least the adoption of the
      risk-reducing measures as a prerequisite for a European Deposit Insurance Scheme.
    • SMEs need easier access to alternative financing sources and to a diversified capital market.
    • Concerning Capital Market Union, there should be the right balance between bank and venture-capital financing.
    • The unbundling between banks and their countries of origin should be pushed ahead, but without further risk-
      sharing.
    • A liability union carries the risk that moral hazards are encouraged.
    • A change in the regulatory treatment of government bonds would therefore be useful under certain conditions.
    • No increases of new equity capital for bank investments and real estate financing under Basel IV.
    • Yes to a reform of the supervisory authorities applying the principles of economy, profitability and expediency,
      but without additional burden on banks.
    • Proportionality principle - Consideration of the variety in banking structures (e.g. in Austria).
    • Maintaining cash as an important freedom of choice for consumers and entrepreneurs.

MULTIANNUAL FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK POST 2020

The European Commission probably submist a first proposal for the financial framework post2020 in May 2018. The
challenges of the next EU budget are on the expenditure side and not on the revenue side: spending needs focus more
on an European added value and has to be linked to EU economic policy coordination. The WKÖ supports the European
Commission approach that there is clear value added when EU-level measures go further than would be possible at the
national level.

6
POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • The EU budget should focus on stimulating growth, investment and job creation.
   • There is a European added value in the area of competitiveness, research and development, the Connecting
     Europe Facility, the integration of migrants into the work process and major projects like ITER or Galileo.
   • The funding for research and development is to be raised, in order to counter the downward trend in R & D. At
     the same time, there is a need for adequate funding for research and development activities under the European
     Defense Fund.
   • It is necessary to prolong the COSME program in the new financial framework post2020. The largest share of
     the COSME budget flows into the access to finance and Austrian companies profit above average from the credit
     guarantee facility. The COSME program finances important programs such as the Enterprise Europe Network and
     Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
   • The funding for the Connecting Europe Facility initiative should not be reduced to meet infrastructure
     objectives, e.g. the completion of the core network in traffic by 2030.
   • The rural development program is to be further enhanced.
   • EU revenue: Member States’ contributions must be consistent with their economic performance and should
     be further measured according to the gross national income. The WKÖ sees no need for new tax-based capital
     resources. According to the principle of subsidiarity, it is better to leave the Member States the decision on how
     to finance the national contribution to the European budget and what taxes they should use for this purpose.

EU-ENLARGEMENT

The EU enlargement process in the Western Balkans region is a priority of the Austrian Presidency. Following the European
Commission‘s Strategy for ‚A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans‘
published on 16 February 2018 EU-accession of the Western Balkans is in the EU’s political, economic and security interests.
The EU‘s enlargement policy must be part and parcel of the larger strategy to strengthen the Union by 2025 set out by
President Juncker in his State of the Union speech of September 2017 and his Roadmap for a more united, stronger and
more democratic Union.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • The Austrian Economic Chamber strongly supports the enlargement process for the Western Balkan countries.
     We welcome the fact that the Commission points out in the new stategy that Montenegro and Serbia migh
     complete the accession process in 2025 after fulfilling all criteria. The EU integration of the Western Balkans is
     of crucial political and economic importance for both, the EU and Austria.
     Austria has benefited more than other Member States from extended trading opportunities with Eastern Europe
     and from its participation in the increasing EU‘s Internal Market. During the past 15 years trade activities with
     Eastern Europe has accounted for more than three-quarters of the total volume. Exports to the new Member
     States of the European Union nearly doubled since their EU-accession.
     In 2016 Austria’s foreign direct investments have amounted to 190 billion Euro, 58 billion Euro thereof have
     been used in Central and Eastern Europe. Compared to other countries Austrian investing activities focus
     strongly on Central and Eastern Europe.

BREXIT

Austrian businesses benefit by being able to trade with the United Kingdom. Either directly without barriers or indirectly
through working in supply chains for larger exporting companies like the German automotive sector. The United Kingdom
is Austria’s 8th-largest export market. A Brexit may have potential negative impacts on the Austrian economy and its
business. To which extent depends on the future relationship. It will be manageable for our economy, but some sectors
are likely to be more sensitive to the impact of Brexit. WKÖ therefore calls for post-Brexit UK to remain as close as
possible to EU’s Single Market.

                                                                                                                          7
POSITION OF THE WKÖ
    • The Austrian business community is concerned about the slow progress in the negotiations.
    • There is the urgent need to bring this period of uncertainty to an end. Entrepreneurs need enough time to
      prepare for the Brexit and its legal and practical consequences.
    • A transitional arrangement is necessary in order to ensure legal predictability and certainty for businesses.
    • The WKÖ favours a status quo like solution for the transitional arrangement, which allows goods and services to
      move freely and without any restrictions.
    • With regard to a future agreement, WKÖ calls for a far-reaching solution. The closer the cooperation, the better
      for the Economy. The future model should enable access to the Single Market for trade in goods and services,
      zero or close to zero tariffs on goods and a minimisation of new non-tariff barriers as well as no significant
      regulatory divergence.
    • However, WKÖ fully supports the EU’s redlines in order to preserve the integrity of the Single Market (Access to
      the single market requires acceptance of all four freedoms, rejection of a sector-by-sector approach).

RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION

The Austrian Council Presidency is during a key phase in European research, development and innovation policy: the
drafting of the future 9th EU Research and Innovation Framework Program post-2020 will take place in this phase.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
    • The focus will be on the implementation of innovation and on the economic impact.
    • Available budget should be increased.
    • The position of the business community should be included in the thematic orientation.
    • A better alignment with other EU instruments (especially the Structural Funds) is required.
    • Clear division of labour between EU sectoral policies, FP9 and national / regional policies.
    • Further development of support structures for innovation in SMEs (EEN, COSME).
    • The governance of the European Research Area (ERA) has to be reviewed.

It is also in the interest of the business community to use the presidency of the Council as a prelude to a sustainable
international marketing of Austria as a base for research and innovation.

EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY – THE EUROPEAN SEMESTER

Increasing globalisation requires a strategy for growth, employment and competitiveness in Europe. WKÖ therefore
supports the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Member States should strengthen their competitiveness by
implementing structural reforms and creating a stable economic framework. This is the only way to succeed in this
international competitive environment. Therefore, WKÖ supports a strong economic surveillance at European level.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
    • The European Semester process has to be strengthened in order to make it a successful instrument.
    • A close and transparent consultation process between social partners, governments and the European Union’s
      institution is necessary.
    • Political recommendations and policy warnings have to become compulsory. Enforcement through incentives is
      not enough; sanctions have not been sufficiently implemented.
    • The EU2020 strategy and its objectives should continue in the next decade. However, it is important not to go
      beyond already concluded objectives in order to remain globally competitive.

8
GROWTH AND COMPETITIVENESS
The Single Market is the cornerstone of European integration. In Austria and the EU, it has contributed to economic
growth and higher employment as well as many advantages for businesses and citizens. Nevertheless, remaining trade
barriers have to be further reduced, and the regulatory framework has to become more business-friendly. In order
to achieve a better implementation of the Single Market it is therefore of utmost importance that already existing
instruments which are installed to remove single market barriers, such as complaints against a breach of EU law, EU Pilot
or infringement procedures, are intensely used.

BALANCED CONSUMER PROTECTION

A number of legislative proposals on consumer protection are currently on the agenda of the European institutions, such
as the proposal for a directive on rules for the supply of digital content and the directive on contracts for the online
sales of goods. These two directives intend to fully harmonise the guarantee rules on European level. Furthermore, the
proposal for a regulation on geo-blocking should be mentioned, where Trialogue-negotiations are already underway. In
that context, the Commission intends to propose in the course of 2018 (March/April) further legislative proposals for a
“Targeted revision of certain consumer protection directives”.

During the negotiations up to now Austria has advocated for a sense of proportion in accordance with a fair balance
between consumer and business interests that we ask for (e.g. for maintaining the 6-month time limit for the reversed
burden of proof in the case of non-conformity).

We would like to encourage the Austrian representatives in the Council to continue to actively follow this approach as
the current legislative framework for consumer protection at European level is already now far from achieving a balance
between consumer and business interests. This results in unbearable burdens especially for smaller companies (for
example the bureaucratic requirements of the Consumer Rights Directive).

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • Maintaining the 6-month time limit for the reversed burden of proof in the case of non-conformity, the
     2-year guarantee period, and the hierarchy of remedies as it is necessary to preserve room for entrepreneurial
     competition.
   • Serious restrictions to entrepreneurial freedom must be firmly rejected (e.g. the obligation to contract
     contained in the geo-blocking regulation or an obligation to grant a “guarantee for the lifespan of goods” are
     clearly rejected).
   • It is not necessary to create new EU-provisions (such as the EU-wide introduction of drastic sanctions for
     infringements of consumer protection rules envisaged by the Commission), but much more to simplify the
     existing regulatory environment. Especially the Consumer Rights Directive requires a revision. It should provide
     more SME-friendly solutions and more legal clarity (e.g. exemption for “off premises contracts” initiated by the
     consumer, a simplification of excessive information obligations by creating a comprehensive model withdrawal
     form).
   • The principle of subsidiarity must be upheld. The kind of enforcement must remain within the competence
     of the Member States. Profound interventions into national civil law systems are to be rejected (e.g. the
     announced harmonization of remedies for unfair commercial practices).

THINK SMALL FIRST PRINCIPLE

The business structure all over Europe and especially in Austria is dominated by SMEs. Therefore, we believe that it is
necessary to increasingly focus on SMEs during the legislative process. Think Small First has to be the guiding principle
and should be applied to all draft proposals, as well as the Small Business Act. The WKÖ opposes to obligations for
businesses to provide extensive information. In particular, the obligation to provide information on already compulsory
consumer protection regulations is an unnecessary burden for SMEs. Another example is the extension of the six-month
period for the reversal of the burden of proof, which unilaterally only considers consumer interests.

                                                                                                                       9
BETTER REGULATION PUSHED BY THE REFIT-PLATFORM

Since 2012 the REFIT-program (Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme) reviews on a yearly basis the acquis
communautaire. The REFIT Platform brings together the Commission, national authorities and other stakeholders in
regular meetings to improve existing EU legislation. Its purpose is to advise the Commission on how to make EU
regulation more efficient and effective while reducing burden and without undermining policy objectives. Platform
members’ work includes reviewing suggestions received via the online ‘Lighten the load - Have your say’ form and
making recommendations to the Commission.
     • Better national coordination and involvement of stakeholders in preparation and resolution of the REFIT-
       platform
     • Transparent process in opinion-forming of the national resolution for the REFIT-Platform
     • Promoting a more efficient working process of the REFIT-Platform

REFORM OF THE BUSINESS STATISTICS

The plan is a radical simplification of Intra-EU-trade statistics (“Intrastat”) by implementing a single-flow-system. This
will significantly reduce administrative burden on enterprises. At the same time, however, service statistics shall be
further extended, what would lead to a disproportional burden on enterprises.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • Refusal of a general reporting obligation for all European Business Statistics. It’s up to the member states to
       decide if a reporting obligation is necessary.
     • Scientific estimation methods shall be an equivalent data source, not a subordinated one.
     • Surveys on Global Value Chains shall be restricted due to methodological deficits.
     • Binding specifications for burdening Commission regulations (5% limit).
     • Deletion of the new variables “labour costs” and “gross investment” that parent companies would have to
       report on their subsidies abroad (“outward FATS”).
     • Change the periodicity of the survey on ICT usage and e-commerce from annually to biennially.

PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE ON STRENGTHENING NATIONAL COMPETITION AUTHORITIES (ECN+)

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber welcomes a minimum harmonisation on institutional and procedural regulations
concerning national competition authorities in order to improve the enforcement of European competition law. However,
the proposed directive should not negatively interfere with or complicate existing well-functioning enforcement
systems. European Commissions present proposal is far beyond the objective of a minimum harmonisation. At the same
time the proposal leaves many questions open, such as whether there will be an undue interference in existing national
structures. Therefore we demand a profound revision of Commissions proposal.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • Recitals must be brought in line with the directives text.
     • The field of application and definitions must be adjusted.
     • The application of fundamental rights and the Rule of Law must be safeguarded.
     • The rules concerning the institutional independence and the issue of resources should be clarified.
     • Existing standards of legal protection and the flexibility in national competence distributions of competences
       must be maintained.
     • Fines and penalty payments have to be matched with applicable law.
     • The handling of leniency rules should be optimized and the interaction of leniency programms in competition
       and criminal law in Austria should not be burdened unnecessarily.

10
NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES IN THE SERVICE SECTOR

According to Directive 2006/123 / EC, Member States are required to notify the Commission of changes to national
legislation on services, so that the EU executive body and the other Member States may raise concerns about possible
incompatibilities with EU law at an early stage. The Commission proposes improvements to this mechanism in the
present draft Directive to make the procedure more time-saving, effective and transparent.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • We welcome the measures planned to strengthen the role of notification procedures in the service sector.
   • In this way, the creation of new barriers to the Internal Market can be prevented in advance and controversial
     and lengthy infringement procedures can be avoided, the latter can only be initiated ex post.
   • The Commission’s proposals are based on the notification procedure for goods and information society services
     which have proved to be very successful.

SMIT - SINGLE MARKET INFORMATION TOOL

The European Commission is proposing a Single Market Information Tool (SMIT), as outlined in the Single Market
Strategy of October 2015, that would enable it to gather information directly from selected market players. The goal is
to improve the enforcement of existing Single Market rules and to prepare proposals for effective policy intervention.

The tool would be used to request information - in cases of serious Single Market malfunctioning - from firms such as
cost structure, pricing policy, profits, features of goods and services and the geographical distribution of customers and
suppliers.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • WKÖ is against any direct access to companies through the European Commission. We reject the possibility for
     the European Commission to request directly information from companies, including confidential information.
   • Any reporting or information obligations as explained with regards to the Single Market Information Tool would
     mean an additional administrative burden for companies.
   • In addition it is not at all clear which market participants would be addressed by the Commission and at which
     stage.
   • The Commission itself does not have investigative powers to enforce union law in the Single Market area. This
     is why we question the introduction of such an instrument, which would change the competences set between
     the EU and the Member States, as stated in the treaties.

DIGITAL DOMESTIC MARKET

The cyber security/ENISA new proposal is intended to improve cyber-attack responsiveness. The European Union Agency
for Network and Information Security should have a permanent mandate and the responsibility of the Agency should be
strengthened in the agency´s expertise in cyber security, development of standards and certifications and R&D (research
& deployment).

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • One requirement for a confident and successful digitisation of the economy is the protection of in-house
     infrastructures against espionage and cybercrime.
   • Enterprises, especially SMEs should be motivated by incentives to implement a coding and security technology.
   • Regulatory measures per se do not increase cyber security.
   • First and foremost, information and training measures, together with awareness-raising measures must be
     implemented with companies.

                                                                                                                      11
INSOLVENCY PROCEEDINGS

The proposal for a directive on preventive restructuring frameworks, second chance and measures to increase the
efficiency of restructuring, insolvency and discharge procedures, contains basic requirements for all national insolvency
proceedings. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber rejects the proposal of the European Commission, as Austria has
a well-functioning insolvency law. Furthermore, the European Union is not entitled to intervene in national insolvency
proceedings.

The proposal of the European Commission is to be revised substantially in content, as the interests of legitimate
creditors are ignored.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • If a debtor is solvent his creditors have to have the unlimited right that their claims are paid within due time
       and entirely.
     • If a debtor is insolvent, an insolvency procedure has to be started promptly.
     • Restructuring within an insolvency proceeding is also permissible, therefore it must be an obligation to start an
       insolvency proceeding if all conditions are met.
     • The proposal purposed an intervention in existing rights, therefore a substantial control of the proceeding by
       independent third parties is to be ensured.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber sees the classification into creditor classes critical.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber refuses to post approval rates only on the amount of the debts, because
       small and medium-sized creditors have little chance vis-à-vis major creditors. This is contrary to the “think-
       small-first” principle, but is also the reason why large companies see benefits in it.
     • The requirements for a second chance, especially the discharge period not longer than three years without any
       others requirements, are also refused.

12
TRANSPORT
The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber supports a further harmonisation of the European legal framework for the
transport sector in order to create a level playing field and to ensure a uniform transposition of EU law throughout the
European Union. Differing national implementation of EU law and new administrative burden lead to a distortion of
competition.

The mobility package “Europe on the move” that the European Commission presented in May 2017 should result
in further unification, de-bureaucratisation and simplification of regulations for the road transport sector and thus
eliminat adverse distortions of competition for Austrian companies.

EUROVIGNETTE DIRECTIVE

The so-called Eurovignette Directive regulates the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures.
The Austrian Economic Chamber welcomes the attempt to establish a more harmonised framework for tolls to avoid
distortion of competition. Unfortunately, the proposal is not yet suited to achieve this goal. In several points it will
generate additional costs for companies.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • The obligation to phase out the use of time-based user charges (vignettes) for light duty vehicles by the end of
     2027 and the possibility to introduce congestion charges on top of the infrastructure charge should be deleted.
   • Maximum thresholds for external cost charges (reference values only will not lead to a level playing field)
     should be maintained.
   • Unpredictable additional burden for companies as regards the foreseen variation of infrastructure charges
     according to CO2 emissions has to be avoided. At present there is no certified CO2 emission data available.
     Furthermore, the topic of CO2 emissions is already addressed by fuel taxation.
   • The possibilities for mark-ups should be deleted.
   • Finally, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber calls for a strict earmarking of revenues for the road transport
     sector.

BETTER ACCESS TO THE EU ROAD HAULAGE MARKET -

REVISION OF THE REGULATIONS ON ACCESS TO THE ROAD HAULAGE MARKET AND TO THE OCCUPATION OF
ROAD TRANSPORT UNDERTAKING (1071 AND 1072/2009)

The proposal of the European Commission for better access to the EU road haulage market should establish stricter
and more harmonised conditions in the EU area for market access as well as access to the occupation of road transport
undertaking, but also prevent distortions of competition between Member States. In principle, the Austrian Federal
Economic Chamber supportsthese intentions. The instruments of de-bureaucratisation and simplification of transport
regulations should be used to eliminate distortions of competition for Austrian companies. In addition, the proposed
measures need to be tightened in some points. The new rules for cabotage operations are viewed critically.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ

Revision of the Regulation on Access to the Road Haulage Market (EC) No. 1071/2009
   • In addition to the requirement of financial standing, hauliers should also fulfill the requirement of professional
     competence.
   • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber welcomes the elimination of the possibility to introduce additional
     requirements on the national level.
   • We also support the requirements for establishment in order to prevent shell companies more efficiently.
   • The Austrian Economic Chamber rejects the regulation that rehabilitation of the transport manager can only

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be achieved after a year. The opportunity to include infringements of cabotage regulations in the list of grave
        infringements is regarded as useful.
     • In our view, it should also be possible to hand in the proof of financial standing later within a certain period.
       Within the EU, the same intervals of time should apply.

Revision of the Regulation on Access to the occupation of road transport undertaking (EC) No. 1072/2009
     • The revision is de facto a liberalisation of the cabotage regulation. As such, the Austrian Economic Chamber
       rejects it because wage costs, social costs, and location costs still differ substantially within the EU.
     • The new definition of “cabotage” is too extensive and leads to uncertainties in its execution.
     • We reject the elimination of the permitted maximum number of cabotage operations. The adverse effects are
       not compensated by the reduction of permissible days from seven to five.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber welcomes a minimum of controls of compliance with the cabotage
       regulation, but the percentages are too low. Besides it is to be feared that these controls will not be effective
       because of the proposed modifications of the cabotage regulation. We welcome the proposed regulation
       that evidence of compliance with cabotage restrictions has to be provided during roadside inspections. This
       provision should apply to all cabotage operations and not only the international carriage. In addition, every
       cabotage transport should be accompanied by a uniformly prescribed form.

POSTING OF WORKERS DIRECTIVE: SPECIFIC RULES FOR THE TRANSPORT SECTOR NEEDED

In the case of international road transport, the wage regulations of the host country will be applied if the posting takes
longer than three days per month. For cabotage the wage regulations of the host country continue to apply from day
one.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber welcomes the Posting of Workers directive for the transport sector, but
       requests further clarification:
     • Pure transit operations (without loading and discharge), touristic passenger transports with closed groups of
       travellers (e.g. by coach and ship) and short-term passenger transports (e.g. airport trips or services for skiing
       tourists) should be excluded from the scope.
     • During roadside controls wage documents should not be requested from the driver, but rather from the
       company.
     • One notification every six months ahead of time for all potential drivers

WORKING TIME DIRECTIVE: REGULATION ON DRIVING TIMES AND REST PERIODS

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the driving time regulation which is applicable to drivers of
passenger transports with more than 9 seats and vehicles exceeding 3,5 t in order to ensure applicability, clarification
and legal certainty regarding on-call time and compensatory rest.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • The Commissions’ proposal provides clarifications which we welcome
     • However, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber requests the following: allow to split the 45-minutes break
       to 3x 15 minutes; adopt a specific working time regime for bus drivers; exemptions for regional transport
       operations like construction site traffics and winter road maintenance services.
     • The Austria Federal Economic Chamber rejects the provision that drivers must return to their place of residence
       every 3 weeks as well as the provision prohibiting that drivers spend their rest periods in the vehicle. In
       practice there is a general lack of accommodations and parking spaces close to highways. Moreover, modern
       trucks provide a higher accommodation standard compared to roadside accommodations.

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SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber demands the implementation of the Single European Sky, as it brings extensive
advantages. For example, the reduction of 42 kilometres per flight, the tripling of airspace capacity, an improvement in
safety, a halving of air traffic control costs and a reduction in environment pollution about 10%.

ETS AVIATION

The EU plans to analyse the ICAO resolution about a global compensation regime and to revise the emission regime.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • It should not come to a double burden or a further distortion of competition to the detriment of the EU-Carrier.

ELECTRONIC CONSIGNMENT NOTE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY ROAD (E-CMR)

The UN Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) applies to every contract for
the carriage of goods by road in vehicles for reward, when the place of taking over of the goods and the place designated
for delivery are situated in two different countries, of which at least one is a contracting country. Nearly all European
States as well as several third countries are contracting parties of the convention. Austria has signed the convention in
1956 and ratified it in 1960. In addition to the CMR consignment note, since 2008 the Additional Protocol to the CMR
introduces the possibility of using an electronic consignment note (e-CMR).

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • We applaud the Austrian intention to sign and ratify this addendum in the near future. As a necessary step
     towards digitalisation, the introduction of the possibility of an electronic consignment note will facilitate the
     efficiency of international carriage of goods by road. So far, only eleven EU Member States (Bulgaria, Czech
     Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain) and Switzerland
     are contracting partners of the Additional Protocol. In our view, the incoming Austrian presidency represents
     a unique opportunity to encourage actively all hesitant Member States in signing and ratifying the Additional
     Protocol. Especially with regard to Germany, our main trade partner, we consider its accession to the protocol of
     outmost importance.

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UNION OF CITIZENS
EUROPEAN PILLAR OF SOCIAL RIGHTS

The European Pillar of Social Rights was proclaimed at the Gothenburg social summit in November 2017. The principles
are primarily addressed to the Member States, which have to report on the progress in the framework of the European
semester.

Two legislative proposals have been presented: The directive on work-life balance provides rights for paternal, parental
and care leave. The compensation for these leaves shall be at least the level of the sick pay. The revision of the Written
Statement Directive should expand information obligations for employers vis-à-vis employees. Furthermore a set of basic
legal rights shall be in provided for all workers irrespective of their status.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • The directive on work-life-balance rejected because of financial and subsidiarity reasons. An extension of the
       Written Statement Directive to establish a set of legal rights for all employees is also refused.
     • Currently, a second consultation of the European social partners takes place to revise the Written Statement
       Directive. No negotiations between European social partners started, therefore a formal proposal for a directive
       is to be expected in Q1 2018. The proposal will be negotiated under the Austrian EU-Presidency.

COORDINATION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEMS

The Directive on Social Security Coordination ensures that EU-employees are subject to the legislation of only one
Member State; that they are treated equally with the nationals of the country in which they are insured; that their
rights acquired in other countries can be aggregated and acquired rights can also be exported to another country.

The purpose of this proposal is to amend the provisions on unemployment benefits, care services and rights of
economically inactive EU citizens regarding certain social and family benefits.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • Appreciates that the entitlement to unemployment benefit arises only after three months’ work within that
       country. For shorter periods the Member state of former employment will be responsible for paying those
       benefits.
     • The provision that economically inactive citizens moving from one Member State to another can only access
       welfare benefits, if they satisfy the condition of legal residence, is welcomed.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber rejects the extension of the period for exporting unemployment
       benefits from three to six months, as it will be more difficult to monitor the willingness to work by the public
       employment services of the host Member State.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber rejects, that the unemployment benefits for frontier workers after 12
       months of activity shall be paid by the former state of employment. The reason is, that someone who has his
       residence in another Member State, can also make a living from the benefits provided in that Member State.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber demands the prohibition of a retroactive issuance of A1-forms for
       posted workers and the possibility to check the rightful issuance of the form by national courts.
     • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber also requests an indexation of exported family benefits.

REFORM OF THE POSTING OF WORKERS DIRECTIVE

The aim of the posting of workers directive is to ensure equal treatment between temporarily posted workers to another
Member state and workers of that Member State concerning specific working conditions, like wages, maximum working
time, minimum rest periods, annual leave, rules relating to the protection of workers, and the ban on discrimination.

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The purpose of the present proposal, is to extend the posting directive to all sectors, except the transport sector, which
is regulated separately, and to apply the principle “equal pay for equal work”. Both proposals are already current law in
Austria.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
   • The automatic application of the complete labour law to the posted worker after two years is rejected, as this
     would complicate internal postings excessively.
   • Any improvement in administrative cooperation as already provided for in the Enforcement Directive 2014/47 is
     welcomed in order to avoid distortion of competition.

EU AS A GLOBAL PLAYER
TRADE AGREEMENTS

The ambitious EU-trade policy for improved economic and trade relations with partner countries ensures more growth,
employment and prosperity, also in Austria. This includes measures against protectionism in third countries, a stronger
cooperation between the EU and trade partners in the form of multilateral, regional and bilateral negotiations as well as
institutionalised talks to prevent trade conflicts beforehand.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ

Transparency and Implementation of trade agreements:

On the part of the Austrian chair, more active impulses for more enhanced transparency and efforts for implementation
in the EU Trade Policy of trade agreements would be very welcomed. It’s primarily the entrepreneurs who directly
face the advantages and disadvantages of trade agreements and other trade measures. The WKO therefore demands
that companies (especially SMEs) be able to bring the practical business perspective into the discussions about trade
agreements.

Trade agreements must be explained in a simple and understandable manner, because the most criticisms of trade
agreements result from the fact that their content is, as with all international treaties, legally very complex and
hardly comprehensible in terms of language. A practical presentation of the negotiations and their results, webinars,
multilingual brochures and short movies would be useful.

Current Status/ Expectations of the Austrian EU Council Presidency
   • Promote the implementation of the agreements with Japan, Mexico and Mercosur, which are expected to be
     negotiated by the end of 2017, so that they can be applied provisionally from 2019 onwards.
   • Agreements (start 2018) with Australia, New Zealand and Chile should also be pushed in order to finalise them
     in 2019.
   • Promote free trade agreements with Indonesia and the Philippines as well as investment protection agreements
     with China and bring them to a close under the Austrian EU presidency.
   • Any provisional application of the trade part of the agreements with Singapore and Vietnam, depending on the
     progress of the negotiations.

INSTRUMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT (IPI)

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber fundamentally supports the initiative to provide adequate market access
conditions for all European companies in third countries through an effective IPI. When resuming negotiations on a
revision, the WKO demands the following points

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POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • Improved changes of access for European companies to procurement markets in third countries.
     • Reciprocity: The EU must be able to limit the EU procurement market, if other partner countries do not allow
       for the same framework conditions for EU companies.

PROPOSAL FOR A REVISED VERSION OF THE EU-DUAL-USE DIRECTIVE

The aim of the directive is the harmonisation of Dual Use-regulations and their application within the EU to create a
uniform framework and thus a level playing field.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ
     • In principle the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber welcomes a harmonisation of the Dual-Use regulation and
       the prevention of an abusive usage of cyber surveillance technologies.
     • However, the drafted proposal is based on unclear legal terms and provides for overflowing and in practice
       hardly manageable regulations. This high and additional inspection effort is hardly affordable, especially for
       SMEs.
     • The regulation establishes legal uncertainty and the risk of criminalisation of the economy, as the violation
       of registration and licensing requirements in connection with the Dual- Use regulation, is subject to judicial
       penalties.
     • The unilateral EU licensing requirement for goods listed in category 10 creates clear competitive disadvantages
       vis-à-vis competitors from third countries, as the licensing requirement (for the first time in the Dual-Use
       regulation) is introduced without international coordination.
     • The EU should rather strengthen its efforts to achieve an appropriate control of dangerous surveillance software
       on multilateral level.

Current status:

The proposed regulation is seen very critically by the Member States. The debate in the European Parliament is not yet
concluded. The WKO rejects the present version and recommends a substantive amendment.

MARSHALL-PLAN FOR AFRICA

A new partnership with Africa is important and should be promoted during the Austrian EU Presidency. The Austrian
Federal Economic Chamber favours an aid package for the African private sector involving European SMEs. The focus
should be on strengthening entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and the local skills training. The promotion of the dual
vocational training would open new perspectives and be a contribution against the migratory pressure from Africa.

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EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
WKÖ sees the need for a stronger European cooperation in developing a common understanding of „higher VET“. This
specific type of high level education and training, which is not part of the European Higher Education Area, has to be
strengthened. “Higher VET” should receive more visibility and could also be better included in the European headline
target on the graduation rate from tertiary or equivalent education. First strategic conclusions have to be drawn up in
order to prepare the post 2020 cooperation on education and training. Europe has to address the consolidation of the
various European instruments (ECVET, EQF, ESCO, Europass) on the basis of their impact and in the framework of updated
objectives.

A major concern of the WKÖ is the internationalisation of the Austrian dual vocational training. The Austrian EU-
Presidency in 2018 is a good opportunity to promote this internationalisation. Our priority is to disseminate the
Austrian dual vocational training system as a prime example, including the social partners, and through the transfer of
know-how. Pilot projects are already in progress in the Western Balkans (Slovakia, Serbia, Rumania, Croatia).

ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY AND CLIMATE POLICY
ENERGY POLICY

As the proposals for the project “Energy Union” indicate, a continuing closer cooperation should take place between the
Member States. This is right way to go, but it has to be a balanced one (especially in regard to additional structures).
It is important that all Member State pursue the targets with equal ambition. In the energy sector EU over-regulation
and duplicity should be avoided. An energy policy being targeted towards competitiveness and the prevention of market
distortion must be achieved through the completion of the internal energy market. Renewable technologies should be
directed towards their market maturity and have to compete. The security of supply for companies and households has
to be ensured. Therefore a comprehensive expansion of infrastructure, especially of the grids, is essential. The costs for
the transformation of our energy system should be kept as low as possible and should avoid developments, which are
adverse to competitiveness.

POSITION OF THE WKÖ

Package “Clean Energy for Europe”:
   • In general, the WKÖ appreciates the package “Clean Energy for all Europeans”, but there is still a need for
     amendments.
   • The current existing, very complex and binding framework for integrated, national energy and climate plans,
     will lead to an increased administrative expense for the future.
   • The Governance regulation must establish a framework, but should not intervene in national competences (EC
     supervises, Member States act).
   • Considering the Energy Efficiency Directive, it is essential, that energy efficiency measures, that have been
     implemented by 2020 showing effects beyond, can be counted for the next period after 2020.
Climate Policy: ETS, Effort Sharing, COP 24:
   • The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber claims a balanced revision and implementation of the Emissions
     Trading System (ETS) avoiding the loss of industries to third countries (“carbon leakage”) and keeping the EU
     attractive as a business location.
   • The aviation sector needs a competitive Emissions Trading System and therefore an extension of the “stop the
     clock-regulation” (exemption for third-country-flights from the EU Emissions Trading System) to minimize
     disadvantages for the EU aviation until a worldwide regime of ICAO is established.
   • A fair effort sharing is necessary for the EU implementation of the Paris Climate agreement established through
     EU individual Member States 2030 targets (Effort Sharing).
   • Preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference 2018: Call for the active participation and adequate national
     contributions of all parties to implement decisions of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in December 2019 to
     achieve the 2030 global targets.

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