9.5.2006   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 110/33


Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council, as regards the base year for the allocation of quotas of hydrochlorofluorocarbons with respect to the Member States that acceded on 1 May 2004

(COM(2004) 550 final — 13632/05 Add. 1 + Corr. 1)

(2006/C 110/06)

On 16 November 2005 the Council decided, under Article 175(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, to consult the European Economic and Social Committee on the abovementioned proposal.

The Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 27 February 2006. The rapporteur was Ms Cassina.

At its 425th plenary session, held on 15 and 16 March 2006 (meeting of 15 March), the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 139 votes to two with six abstentions.

1.   Summary and conclusions

1.1

The EESC welcomes the amendment to Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 (Article 4(3) (new point (i)); the addition of the European Parliament, as co-legislator, to the title of this regulation; and the proposed change to its legal basis.

2.   Content and evaluation of the proposed changes

2.1

The proposed amendment of Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 entails adding new letter point (i) to Article 4(3), stipulating that a new base date for allocating hydrochlorofluorocarbon quotas applies to the Member States which joined the EU on 1 May 2004: these will no longer be allocated on the basis of the 1999 quotas but on that of the average of the market shares in 2002 and 2003.

2.1.1

This change to the base date is in response to a purely trade-related imperative, preventing the exclusion of businesses present on the market only after 1999 and having minimal impact on the distribution of the total allocation of quotas, the quantities of which remain unchanged: there are thus no environmental consequences. The change to the base date also ensures that any future challenges on the basis of alleged breaches of the principles of ‘non-discrimination and legitimate expectations’ can be met.

2.2

The EESC notes and welcomes the addition of the European Parliament, as co-legislator with the Council, to the title of the regulation in question.

2.3

Lastly, the EESC approves the change of the legal basis of the Regulation itself from Article 57(2) of the Treaty of Accession to Article 175(1) of the EC Treaty, in line with Addendum 1, Corrigendum 1 and the agreement reached by the Working Party on the Environment on 21 October 2005.

Brussels, 15 March 2006.

The President

of the European Economic and Social Committee

Anne-Marie SIGMUND