Official Journal of the European Union

C 302/19

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a Council Decision on consultation and information procedures in matters of credit insurance, credit guarantees and financial credits’

(COM(2004) 159 final — 2004/0056 (CNS))

(2004/C 302/04)

On 13 May 2004, the Council decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under Article 262 of the Treaty establishing the European Community on the abovementioned proposal.

The Section for the Single Market, Production, and Consumption, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 9 June 2004. The rapporteur was Mr Frank von Fürstenwerth.

At its 410th plenary session of 30 June and 1 July 2004 (meeting of 30 June) the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 133 votes, with one vote against and four abstentions:

1.   Contents


The proposal entails codifying Council Decision 73/391/EEC of 3 December 1973 on consultation and information procedures in matters of credit insurance, credit guarantees and financial credits. This Decision has since been modified by Council Decision 76/641/EEC and by the acts of accession of Spain and Portugal, as well as those of Austria, Finland and Sweden.


These Decisions exclusively concern matters pertaining to state export credit guarantees. In particular, they lay down the conditions under which Member States must enter into a consultation procedure with other Member States and the Commission about granting or guaranteeing foreign credits which are being considered. The Decision has no bearing on the private export credit insurance market.


The proposal would replace the various legislative instruments covered by the codification.


The proposal would not alter the substance of the legislative instruments being codified. It does no more than bring them together with only such formal amendments as are required by the codification exercise itself.

2.   Assessment


The proposal comes in response to the Commission's concern to codify legislation, which has been frequently amended, in the interests of clarity and rationality.


To date the provisions in question have been scattered across various legislative instruments. This has made costly searches and lengthy comparisons between the many different instruments necessary in order to ascertain what provisions apply.


The proposal is confined to bringing together the different instruments into one single instrument whilst fully preserving their substance. There is no need to take any action as regards content.


The proposal is to be welcomed in that it boosts transparency and makes EU legislation more comprehensible (1).


Nonetheless the Commission should take the following points into consideration in the codification process:

Whereas (2) of the Council Decision of 03.12.1973 (‘Whereas by a Decision of 26 January 1965 (2) the Council set up a consultation procedure in matters of credit insurance, credit guarantees and financial credits.’) is no longer contained in the proposal and should still be included to ensure it is complete.

Article 20 of the proposal repeals Council Decision 73/391/EEC. Annex III to the proposal, however, also mentions Council Decision 76/641/EEC under the title ‘Repealed Decision with its amendment’. Hence, in order to be consistent, the amendment introduced by Decision 76/641/EEC should also be repealed in Article 20.


Moreover, particular attention needs to be paid to ensuring that the translations are correct since inaccuracies could lead to legal uncertainty and to the legislation being wrongly applied.

Brussels, 30 June 2004.

The President

of the European Economic and Social Committee


(1)  In Portuguese, for example, the following amendments should be made:


In Article 4 (e) ii) and iv) ‘credit starting point’ should be translated as ‘ponto de partida do credito’ rather than as ‘inícui dó crédito’, the two dates not being necessarily the same;


In Article 4 (e) iv) the expression ‘where repayment is not to be effected by equal instalments at regular intervals’ should better be translated by ‘escalonadas em prestações iguais e espaçadas de modo regular’ rather than ‘escalonadas por parcelas de igual montante de modo regular’;


Identically, the expression ‘aid credit’ (e.g. in Articles 4 (f) i) and 5 (e) i)) should be translated by ‘crédito de ajuda’ and not as ‘crédito de auxílio’ which has a completely different sense in the EU legislation concerning ‘State aid’;


Finally, several orthographic mistakes have been found at least in Article 3.2 (first and third lines) ‘ntureza’ and ‘peirem’, Article 10.1 (c): (‘desdadoravel’), and in the Annex I B) d) (‘antiantamentos’).