Justizpalast Wien – Veranstaltung “ Die Welt in Bewegung“











Washington. White House News

WASHINGTON — Reacting to a series of highly publicized rapes on college campuses, the White House on Monday released guidelines that increase the pressure on universities to more aggressively combat sexual assaults on campus.

The recommendations urge colleges, among other measures, to conduct anonymous surveys about sexual assault cases, adopt anti-assault policies that have been considered successful at other universities and to better ensure that the reports of such crimes remain confidential. The guidelines are contained in a report by a White House task force that President Obama formed early this year, and the administration is likely to ask Congress to pass measures that would enforce the recommendations and levy penalties for failing to do so. The government will also open a website, NotAlone.gov, to track enforcement and provide victims with information.

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama

Stepping Up to Stop Sexual AssaultFEB. 7, 2014
Many advocates for such a crackdown may see the proposals as an inadequate response to a crisis, but the White House is hamstrung about what it can do without congressional action and has just begun its own attack on the issue.

“Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said. “No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn’t exist. We need to give victims the support they need, like a confidential place to go, and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The task force says that one in five college students has been assaulted, but that just 12 percent of such attacks are reported.

Mr. Obama appointed the panel after a number of recent cases — at Yale, at Dartmouth and at Florida State — focused attention on the problem and led to accusations that college and university officials are not doing enough to police sexual crimes committed by students. The resulting furor has led to calls that Washington, where Congress and the administration are already moving to crack down on sexual assault in the military, take similar action when it comes to colleges and universities.

“The American people have kind of woken up to the fact that we’ve got a serious problem when 20 percent of coeds say they’ve been sexually assaulted,” said Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, said the recommendation for mandatory sexual assault surveys “has been consistently the No. 1 request of student survivors and advocates.”

“I am pleased that the task force has recommended this important step to increasing transparency and accountability, and look forward to growing our bipartisan coalition supporting this and other much-needed reforms,” she said.

The report emphasizes that universities need to do a better job to make sure that sexual assault reports remain confidential. Sometimes fears that reports will become public can discourage victims from coming forward.

The task force further found that many assault-prevention training efforts are not effective, and it recommends that universities and colleges institute programs like those used at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Kentucky, which train bystanders on how to intervene.

Lawmakers and the White House have previously condemned the assaults on campuses, but the federal government has largely left responses up to college officials and the local authorities. Congress last year passed the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, which requires that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking cases be disclosed in annual campus crime statistics. But victims’ advocates say that does not go far enough.

And a federal law from two decades ago that requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses, including sexual offenses, is rarely enforced, critics say.

There have been some high-profile instances in which the Department of Education has gotten involved in an effort to raise awareness by imposing fines at universities where the most egregious cases have been reported.


Last year, the agency fined Yale University $165,000 for failing to disclose four sexual offenses involving force over several years. Eastern Michigan University paid $350,000 in 2008 for failing to sound a campus alert after a student was sexually assaulted and killed. The department also reached a settlement last year with the University of Montana at Missoula after investigating the university’s sexual-misconduct policies and finding them woefully inadequate.

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, universities that violate student rights in sexual assault cases also risk the loss of federal funding, but the punishment has never been applied.

In the recommended “climate surveys,” participants anonymously report their experiences with unwanted physical contact, sexual assault or rape, and how their schools responded. Some lawmakers would like to see such surveys be mandatory and to possibly make federal funds like Pell grants contingent on their being carried out.

Ms. Gillibrand and Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, who both spent much of last year trying to legislatively police sexual assault in the armed forces, have now turned significant attention to such problems on the nation’s campuses.

“After a year of working hard to reform how the military handles sexual assault cases,” Ms. Gillibrand said in an email, “the stories I have heard from students are eerily similar.”

Ms. McCaskill said she planned to conduct her own survey of 350 colleges.

In all, nearly a dozen senators seeking new federal funding to battle campus sexual assaults.

International Court of Justice, News


Peace Palace, Carnegieplein 2, 2517 KJ The Hague, Netherlands

The International Court of Justice pays tribute to Judge Manfred Lachs (Poland), former President of the Court
THE HAGUE, 4 April 2014. On Wednesday 2 April, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) unveiled a bust of Manfred Lachs, former Member (1967-1993) and former President (1973-1976) of the Court, at the Peace Palace in The Hague where the Court has its seat.

International Court of Justice

International Court of Justice

The bust was presented to the principal judicial organ of the United Nations by Poland to mark the centenary of Mr. Lachs’ birth on 21 April 1914. The unveiling of the bust was followed by a seminar on his life and work, which concluded with the screening of excerpts from a documentary on the same subject.
The event, which was attended by some 60 guests, including ambassadors, professors of international law and people who had known the eminent Polish jurist, was organized jointly by the Court and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Netherlands.
In his opening speech, the President of the Court, H.E. Mr. Peter Tomka, said that Manfred Lachs “was one of the most notable and influential international lawyers of the second half of the 20th century . . . [and] played a pioneering role in the development of international law for what was then a new field, the activities of States in outer space”. Mr. Tomka recalled that “at the age of 52, in 1966, [Lachs] was elected to the International Court of Justice . . . Subsequently, [he] was twice re-elected, on both occasions in the first ballot, in 1975 . . . and then in 1984.”
Judge Tomka went on to note that “Lachs was an influential Judge on the Bench; during his almost 26 years in the Court, [he] participated in 29 cases and 8 advisory proceedings”. He added that “Manfred Lachs, as President, not only skilfully led the Court in deciding several important cases during his Presidency, but also discussed with the Dutch authorities the conditions for the Court’s work in The Hague”.
H.E. Mr. Artur Nowak-Far, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, said that it seemed “that it was the desire to make the world a fairer place that drove Judge Lachs’ professional and life mission”. Mr. Nowak-Far explained that “[w]hen [Lachs] became the president of the ICJ the world and international law were going through a critical period”, adding that “[d]ecolonisation brought about a change of the ICJ’s approach to international law. Judge Lachs was an advocate of opening up to legal systems from outside Europe and North America. He believed that the ICJ should represent legal systems from different parts of the world, while international law had a special role to play: that of preserving civilisation.”

H.E. Mr. Jan Borkowski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Netherlands, recounted Manfred Lachs’ “extraordinary life” and the different stages of his career, pointing out in particular Lachs’ faith in multilateral diplomacy and his major contribution to the work of the United Nations General Assembly from 1947 to 1966, especially within the Sixth Committee.
Ambassador Borkowski expressed the hope that “the bust of Professor Manfred Lachs, along with the bust of yet another exceptional Polish Judge of the International Court of Justice, namely Professor Bohdan Winiarski, will symbolize Poland’s unwavering commitment to international justice”.
H.E. Judge Mohamed Bennouna, Member of the Court, in turn pointed out that “besides his outstanding abilities as a practitioner and judge at this Court . . . Manfred Lachs taught international law with the passion that is characteristic of those who lovingly devote themselves to transmitting knowledge to the younger generations and developing their analytical skills”.
imageJudge Bennouna remarked that he “shares the late Manfred Lachs’ view on the need for an interdisciplinary approach to international law, one capable of integrating social realities, in much the same way as the great pioneers Charles de Visscher, Philippe Jessup, Taslim O. Elias or Mohammed Bedjaoui did”. Moreover, he added: “the advice which [Manfred Lachs] gave to teachers and thinkers in international law is still relevant today, particularly when he urges them to be armed with imagination and reason, while relying on true social humanism”.
H.E. Mr. Philippe Couvreur, Registrar of the Court, recalled Judge Lachs’ efforts “to take the Court out of the relative isolation to which it was subject at the end of the 1960s” and to defend “its special status among the organs of the United Nations”.
The Registrar also evoked the principles which inspired Manfred Lachs during the revision of the Rules of Court in the 1970s, of which he was one of the main architects, and Judge Lachs’ concern “to make the Court’s functioning and procedure more compatible with the needs and realities of its time”, as well as with the requirements of its universal character. Mr. Couvreur concluded by saying that “Manfred Lachs managed, as few others have, to combine a knowledge of the most fundamental issues of international law with an awareness of the practical challenges of international life, leaving us with an invaluable legacy of teachings”.
The original language version of the texts of the speeches given at the seminar are appended to this press release.
Photos of the event are available on the Court’s website under the heading “Press Room / Multimedia” (they appear at the bottom of the page).
Photos of Judge Lachs from the Court’s archives are available from the Court’s Registry. Requests should be sent by e-mail to the Information Department.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945 and began its activities in April 1946. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York. The Court has a twofold role: first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned); and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system. The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. Independent of the United Nations Secretariat, it is assisted by a Registry, its own international secretariat, whose activities are both judicial and diplomatic, as well as administrative. The official languages of the Court are French and English. Also known as the “World Court”, it is the only court of a universal character with general jurisdiction.

European Court Experts presents, International Court of Justice News

European Court Experts presents, International Court of Justice News

The ICJ, a court open only to States for contentious proceedings, and to certain organs and institutions of the United Nations system for advisory proceedings, should not be confused with the other mostly criminal judicial institutions based in The Hague and adjacent areas, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY, an ad hoc court created by the Security Council), the International Criminal Court (ICC, the first permanent international criminal court, established by treaty, which does not belong to the United Nations system), the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL, an independent judicial body composed of Lebanese and international judges, which is not a United Nations tribunal and does not form part of the Lebanese judicial system), or the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA, an independent institution which assists in the establishment of arbitral tribunals and facilitates their work, in accordance with the Hague Convention of 1899).

Opening speech by H.E. Mr. Peter Tomka at the seminar on the life and work of Manfred Lachs
We meet here today to commemorate the centenary of a great Polish lawyer, diplomat, scholar and teacher, former judge and President of this Court, the International Court of Justice, Manfred Lachs.
He was one of the most notable and influential international lawyers of the second half of the twentieth century. He was born in Stanislawów (Stanislaw) in eastern Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on 21April1914. In late 1918 it became part of the newly re-established independent Poland. After the outbreak of WWII it became part of the Soviet Union and is now part of the Ukraine, known under the name Ivano-Frankivs’k. He studied law at the University of Kraków where he received not only his LLM but also, in 1937, the degree of Doctor iuris. He pursued his legal education in Vienna, in France, where he received a doctorate from the University of Nancy in 1939, and in London. He was there in England when Poland was attacked by Germany and the war started. He luckily escaped the tragic fate of his family who became victims of the holocaust.
War crimes was the subject of his first book published in 1945. He was one of the delegates of the Polish government–in–exile to the United Nations War Crimes Commission that had been meeting in London between 1944 and 1946. He also took active part in the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, having been attached to the prosecutor’s office. There he participated in the drafting of the indictments regarding Nazi criminal acts in Poland. He also advised the Polish delegation at the Paris Peace Conference.
imageFor some 20 years he served in the Polish Foreign Ministry, first as Director of the Legal and Treaties Department (1947-1960) and then as Legal Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (1960-1966). He represented Poland in numerous international conferences and in 20 sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Sixth (Legal) Committee. He was a popular, highly-respected and influential figure in that body. No other person has served as Chairman of the Sixth Committee for three sessions. Manfred Lachs was given that honour and elected to chair the United Nations General Assembly Legal Committee in 1949, 1951 and 1955, having also served as its Vice-Chairman in 1952.
He played a pioneering role in the development of international law for what was then a new field, the activities of States in outer space. The First Sputnik was launched to orbit the earth in 1957, and Jurij Gagarin flew into outer space in 1961. Manfred Lachs chaired between 1962-1966 the newly established Legal Sub-Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. He was a skilful negotiator and effective chairman, as demonstrated by the fact that the General Assembly adopted, first, in 1963 the Declaration, and then in December 1966, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
In 1961, he was elected to the International Law Commission and actively participated in its work between 1962 and 1966 when the Commission finalized its draft articles on the Law of Treaties. He not only actively contributed to that outstanding project but also played a critical role in outlining the future work of the Commission on the issues relating to Succession of States, having served as Chairman of its Sub-Committee for that topic.

Manfred Lachs, while being very active in diplomatic and international legal practice, pursued in parallel his academic interests and vocation. He gave lectures as a Professor at the Academy of Political Sciences in Warsaw and from 1952 as a Professor of International Law at the University of Warsaw. Between 1961 and 1966 he also served as Director of the Institute of Legal Sciences in the Polish Academy.
Very few international lawyers and academics have been given the honour of giving lectures at the Hague Academy of International Law on four occasions. Manfred Lachs was one of those few. In 1957, he gave lectures, in French, on “Le développement et les fonctions des traités multilatéraux”, which were published in the well-known Recueils. A monograph, based on these lectures, was published a year later in Polish, and later in Russian, Hungarian and Spanish translations. In 1964, he was invited to lecture at the Academy again, then on a highly topical issue, the International Law of Outer Space. Twelve years later, in 1976, and already as a Judge of the Court, he gave lectures on “Teachings and Teaching of International Law”. These lectures provided a basis for a book entitled “The Teacher in International Law”, published in 1982 and for which he received the Award of the American Society of International Law. Finally, in 1980 he gave a general course under the title “The Development and General Trends of International Law in Our Time”.
Manfred Lachs had been for many years (in fact for a quarter of a century) a Member of the Curatorium of the Hague Academy, later, from 1977, serving as its Vice-President.
At the age of 52, in 1966, he was elected to the International Court of Justice. This was not an easy election. It was held shortly after the Court’s Judgment in the South-West Africa cases, a decision which elicited a lot of disappointment and criticism within the United Nations. Although Manfred Lachs’ predecessor on the Bench, another Polish judge, named Winiarski, was among those seven Judges who with the casting vote of President Percy Spender of Australia dismissed the case for lack of standing on the part of the Applicants, Liberia and Ethiopia, Lachs was luckier in the election than the Australian candidate, another well-known figure in the United Nations corridors, Sir Kenneth Bailey. Lachs was elected in the first ballot, having received 103 votes out of 119 cast in the General Assembly and 14 out of 15 in the Security Council. Bailey failed to be elected after 23 rounds of voting in the Security Council and 11 in the General Assembly. Subsequently, Lachs was twice re-elected, on both occasions in the first ballot, in 1975 with 102 votes out of 140 in the General Assembly and 13 votes out of 15 in the Security Council and then in 1984 with 99 votes out of 159 in the General Assembly and 13 out of 15 in the Security Council.
imageAs a newly elected judge, Lachs entered a divided Court. The vote was split in the 1966 South-West Africa cases, when seven judges dismissed the case, an outcome that many of those judges had wanted, but failed to achieve in 1962, when the Court by eight votes to seven upheld its jurisdiction in the case. That division affected the election of the President in 1967. For some two months, between 6 February, when the term of office of the previous President expired (and he retired) and early April, the Court failed to elect a new President. In the end, a compromise candidate appeared in the judge from Peru (and former President of that country), José Bustamante y Rivero. Lachs was deeply concerned about the standing of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. He was one of those who strived to establish closer relations with, and better awareness of the Court’s work by, the United Nations organs sitting in New York, in particular the General Assembly. It was on the initiative of Lachs and several of his colleagues that the Court decided to submit regularly a report to the United Nations General Assembly on its activities.

In 1973 he was elected by his peers as President of the Court, while the Court was still experiencing the post South-West Africa divisions. The candidate favoured by the then conservative minority bore with difficulty the election of Lachs, younger not only in terms of age (then 58), but also in terms of seniority, to the Presidency of the Court. This affected their relationship. Even 10 years later, the other candidate, already for some six years in retirement, wrote with some bitterness in an article on 40 years of the Court, that “the best were excluded”.
Manfred Lachs, as President, not only skilfully led the Court in deciding several important cases during his Presidency, but also discussed with the Dutch authorities the conditions for the Court’s work in The Hague. It may be of interest to note how his talks were recalled by the late Pieter Kooijmans, the then 40-year old State Secretary in the Foreign Office, later Professor of International Law at Leiden University, Foreign Minister, and ultimately himself a judge of this Court. Let me quote him from his reminiscences:
“The World Court was considering the possibility of moving out of The Hague as a number of its members were dissatisfied with the conditions under which they had to carry out their function; relations between the Court and the host-government had been strained for some years and the possible transfer of the Court’s seat had been placed on the agenda of the General Assembly. Those who know Manfred Lachs also know that strained relations were not much to his liking. But and that is even more important he was of the opinion that moving the Court from its long-established base would ultimately damage the Court. It should not be forgotten that the Court had barely recovered from the profound loss of esteem it had suffered as the result of its decision in the South-West Africa case of July 18, 1966. This esteem had been regained to a certain extent by the famous obiter dictum in the Barcelona Traction case on obligations erga omnes and by the advisory opinion on Namibia but, nevertheless, the Court’s reputation was still vulnerable. Moving the Court away from The Hague could entail various risks for the Court, which he all discussed with me. If there was one thing which mattered in this world for Manfred Lachs, professionally speaking, it was the Court and at that moment he was President of that Court and that gave an extra dimension to his concern.
Together with the then Foreign Minister we were able to solve all problems and the Court stayed at The Hague. But as the present Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, I wish to say that it is to a great extent due to Manfred Lachs that these problems could be solved and that the item of the seat of the World Court could be removed from the General Assembly’s agenda. His straightforwardness, his openness, his integrity and his fairness were of great help. Although he loved The Hague and The Netherlands, it was not his love for this country but his deep love for the Court which prompted him to try to keep the Court in The Hague.”
During his Presidency, the Court dealt with several cases, some of them with significant implications. Particularly delicate were two cases brought by Australia and New Zealand respectively, against France in connection with French nuclear tests in the Pacific. To some relief, perhaps, for a good number of Members of the Court, in the end it was not necessary to rule on the applications, the cases having become moot (or without any object) following the issuance of a communiqué by the Office of the French President on 8 June 1974 stating that “in view of the stage reached in carrying out the French nuclear defence program France will be in a position to pass on to the stage of underground explosions as soon as the series of tests planned for this summer is completed”.

The other two judgments which Lachs signed as the Court’s President were the Judgments in the Fisheries jurisdiction cases between the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively as the Applicants and Iceland (as the non-appearing) Respondent.
The Judgments were delivered in the period when the international law of the sea was going through a process of dynamic evolution, in particular within the framework of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which culminated in the adoption of the so-called new constitution for the ocean, the UNCLOS. That Convention firmly established new concepts, in particular the exclusive economic zone. In view of that development, the two Judgments are now rather part of legal history than a frequently invoked jurisprudence.
imageUnder his Presidency, the Court delivered two advisory opinions. The first one, of a rather “technical nature” on the Application for Review of Judgment No. 158 of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal case (Fasla case), the second one on a much more important matter, on Western Sahara.
Lachs was an influential judge on the Bench; during his almost 26 years in the Court, having participated in 29 cases and eight advisory proceedings, he dissented only twice, the first time being in his first case, the North Sea Continental Shelf joined cases, where he advocated equidistance as a guiding principle for maritime delimitations. Subsequent developments, in particular the jurisprudence of this Court in the last two decades, has gone in that direction. The other dissent he attached to an advisory opinion concerning the Application for Review of Judgment No. 273 of the UNAT (Mortished case). As his colleague on the Bench at that time, Judge Schwebel, wrote in a tribute to Manfred Lachs, “[h]is opinion opposing the according of repatriation grants to members of the United Nations Secretariat who never repatriated themselves remains persuasive”.
I met Manfred Lachs only briefly on two occasions: in 1986 in Salzburg at a Seminar for young diplomats on international co-operation and peaceful uses of outer-space and in September 1990 in The Hague at a Conference organized by the Academy of International Law, on the peaceful settlement of disputes in Europe.
Unfortunately, I cannot claim that I knew him personally well. But let me conclude with a quote from his colleague on the Bench for some 12 years, Sir Robert Jennings, who was the Court’s President when Manfred Lachs passed away:
“Being our senior Judge, his interventions were usually made late, when everything seemed to have been said. Yet, time after time, in a short, economical, even terse intervention, he would redefine the problem in a way that enabled us all to see it in a new and clearer light. . . .
Lachs was a wonderful friend and colleague. A private and even rather shy man, he nevertheless had great presence: always courteous, with perfect manners, always well and correctly dressed with just a touch of the dashing about it; . . . [with] the glint of his eye when he sighted some intellectual problem to be wrestled with. Many recollect his generous hospitality, his supportive wisdom unfailingly offered, his infectious cheerfulness and good humour; his help to those in trouble; and his frequent almost casual acts of generosity and kindness with which he enriched the lives of so many . . . who had the good fortune to know him.”

Retail Investing: Short Term Concerns for Long Term Options Investing

imageRecently I presented the OICs (Options Industry Council) newest options seminar, Options Fundamentals. Options Fundamentals is part one OICs new three part series developed with retail investors in mind. This three part series is presented over three months with each section being presented one month after the previous section. Next month will be Trading and Understanding Risk and the last in the series is Option Trade Management.

Options Fundamentals covers the components of an option contract, the rights of option holders and the obligations of short option positions as well as some basic strategies such as buying calls and buying puts. I’ve been teaching options for the OIC for over 10 years now and have been in the options business since 1982. I’ve spent my career on the retail side of the business talking to and learning from Account Executives, Financial Advisors and Registered Reps for firms across the country. I’ve never traded firm money or made markets on the floor, I’ve always dealt with investors and their Registered Rep. – a role that I’ve always found enlightening and rewarding.

As the years passed, I’ve noticed large numbers of individual investors taking greater responsibility for their investments and taking a more active role in their financial futures. Many are turning to options, they have found that options are very flexible and offer solutions to short term concerns that long term investors come across from time to time. Many times investors are concerned about earnings or a new product release. This concern is short term, the investor believes in the company and may have owned the stock for years, but they may be concerned about a short-term event like bad earnings or a delayed product release. The thought process begins:


European Court Experts, Wall Street News

What if the stock drops? What if the stock really drops? Should I sell, should I tough it out?

Here is where the protective put helps. The protective put acts like an insurance policy by establishing a short term (may be long term if a LEAP is used) possible selling price for the stock should something potentially negative occur. Sure you pay a premium for the policy and if the nothing bad happens you will lose that premium, but if it does, that protection can help minimize any loss. It is really no different than car or home insurance in many ways. Every six months I pay Joes All Star Insurance for collision and theft coverage for 2 cars and so far I haven’t collected, but I sleep better at night. The protective put acts the same way. The protection is there if you need it, but you’re happy when you don’t.

Another option strategy employed by long-term investors is the covered-write. Many times investors buy stocks hoping for a rise in the price but don’t see the rise they were expecting. Again, they believe in the stock, but could use a little additional income (can’t we all!).

Here’s where the covered-write may help. The investor can sell a call. Now a short call is an obligation to sell stock at a certain price within a certain period of time, so this position limits upside potential. However, in exchange for giving up that upside potential the investor receives a premium. That premium is his to keep no matter what happens to the stock. If the stock does not rise above the price before the options expiration date, the option expires worthless and the investor keeps the premium. If the stock falls, the investor still keeps the premium. If the stock rises high enough, the investor will be obligated to sell his shares. There are actions the investor can take to avoid selling the stock, this falls into trade management.

Wall Street, New York

Wall Street, New York

Trade management you ask? Do you like to buy and hold? Set it and forget it? If you prefer to set it and forget it then options may not be for you. Options require time, effort and some maintenance. You must be aware of stock movements and option movements; you must understand what happens if the stock goes up or goes down and what happens as time passes – all of which impact your investment.

Not every option strategy works in every situation, but they work in some situations that may apply to your needs. The flexibility offered to both short term, and long term investors is not found in any other financial product.

Once again they do require time and effort, but it’s your money and your financial future, isn’t that worth it?

Used properly options can help control risk, generate income or speculate on stock movements. Remember, options involve risk and are not for everyone. Be sure to know and understand the risks and rewards of any option strategy before entering into that strategy.

World Economic Forum: Realising the potential of Latin America

European Court Experts presents News from the European Economic Forum

European Court Experts presents News from the World Economic Forum

In the run-up to the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2014, President Ricardo Martinelli outlines Panama’s progress and invites you to participate in the discussions that will help to shape its future

It has been a privileged experience to lead this country and help chart its path of economic and social transformation over the course of the past five years. Based on a clear vision of the imperative of development and through an aggressive $20 billion investment plan focused on the areas where the country has its greatest potential, Panama has become the country with the highest economic growth in the region and presently rivals that of any other country in the world. Despite a troubled international economic environment, the rate of growth of its GDP has reached double digits for 2011 and 2012.

We can also now proudly say that Panama’s economy has become the second most competitive in Latin America, after that of Chile. We have, from the beginning, clearly appreciated that this progress must be based upon a joint effort between the local public and private sectors – securely grounded in free-market principles combined with a strong sense of social responsibility.

imageIn addition, Panama has come to stand out as one of the best places to establish business operations for multinational companies. Foreign direct investment has tripled – to $4.6 billion since 2009 – and the investment grade rating of its bonds has been maintained. As a result, Panama has achieved truly global commercial projection and is now one of the most outstanding centres of banking and other financial services in the world. And the number of tourists visiting our beautiful country is now more than 2.2 million annually.

What gives this impressive growth real meaning, however, is that it has come hand in hand with social progress. The past five years of strong economic performance has reduced the unemployment rate from 6.6% to 4.1%, inflation has been controlled, and the number of people afflicted by poverty has steadily fallen. Robust infrastructure investments in healthcare, public transportation and education have resulted in billions of dollars for new hospitals, a vastly improved and expanded transportation system, schools and other social services. Central America’s first subway system will be inaugurated in Panama City next month. Also, we are expecting that once its expansion is completed, Panama and Tocumen International Airport, which we call the “Hub of the Americas”, will become Latin America´s foremost point of connectivity.

For me, it is an honour to host the 2014 World Economic Forum on Latin America in Panama City. The Forum is a particularly prestigious organization that brings together the most important figures from government, the business community, academia and other key elements of civil society.

European Court Experts, International Relations

European Court Experts, International Relations

Panama has a wonderful story of accomplishment to tell. But even more importantly, the country now possesses the energy, dynamism and confidence to continue its trajectory in the coming years and decades – thereby contributing significantly to a hopeful regional future. The forthcoming event presents a unique opportunity for Latin America to double its efforts to achieve the bright future its peoples deserve. And we are confident that its deliberations will greatly contribute to that common objective.

Under the theme of Opening Pathways for Shared Progress, we invite you to accompany us in offering perspectives on, and thoroughly discussing, the opportunities and challenges outlined in the agenda: Driving Economic Dynamism, Innovation for Social Inclusion, and the Modernizing of Infrastructure. We Panamanians will make certain that our greatest infrastructure project – the Panama Canal and its ongoing expansion – figures prominently within that agenda, especially since this year we celebrate its 100th anniversary.

I deeply believe in the unique beauty, opportunities and potential of Panama – and Latin America as a whole. And I am most pleased to invite you all to become active participants in deliberations that will, hopefully, serve to guide the next stage of our region’s development.

European Court of Human Rights: Discours prononcé par S.A.R. le Grand-Duc lors de la Session Solennelle de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme

Discours de Son Altesse Royale le Grand-Duc prononcé à l’occasion de la Session Solennelle de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, le 27 mars 2014
Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Ministre, Mesdames et Messieurs les Juges, Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs,
C’est avec beaucoup de gratitude que la Grande-Duchesse et moi-même avons accueilli vos paroles de bienvenue et votre initiative de nous inviter dans cette prestigieuse salle d’audience, où sont rendus la plupart des grands arrêts sur les droits de l’homme.

European Court of Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights

Notre rencontre d’aujourd’hui aurait dû avoir lieu plus tôt, il y a quelques mois. Le décès de M. Nelson Mandela l’a empêchée. J’ai regretté ce rendez-vous manqué, mais comme je me retrouve devant une haute assemblée composée de juges bienveillants, j’espère que vous nous accorderez des circonstances atténuantes pour notre désistement inopiné.
Je crois que l’hommage à Nelson Mandela auquel j’ai choisi de participer avec tant de chefs d’État le 10 décembre dernier ne pouvait vous laisser insensible, tant cette personnalité incarnait ce qui est au cœur de votre action quotidienne, c’est-à-dire la lutte pour la dignité humaine et des droits égaux entre les hommes. Cette qualité déjà insigne de M. Mandela fut encore dépassée par des valeurs morales exceptionnelles, comme la force du pardon et de la réconciliation. Quand le combat pour le droit s’allie à de telles vertus, le respect s’impose à tous. Pour dire un dernier mot du Président Mandela, je vous citerai une phrase tirée de son autobiographie que je trouve très belle: „Personne ne naît en haïssant une autre personne à cause de la couleur de sa peau, ou de son passé, ou de sa religion. Les gens doivent apprendre à haïr, et s’ils peuvent apprendre à haïr, on peut leur enseigner aussi à aimer, car l’amour naît plus naturellement dans le cœur de l’homme que son contraire“.
Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Ministre,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Juges, Excellences,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
Le privilège qui m’est donné de m’exprimer dans cette enceinte est un motif de fierté pour les Luxembourgeois dans leur ensemble. Je voudrais naturellement rendre hommage à mon compatriote M. Dean Spielmann, qui préside cette Cour avec autorité et compétence depuis novembre 2012.
imageVotre parcours, Monsieur le Président, comme avocat spécialiste des droits de l’homme, puis votre action comme juge ici-même, vous ont valu une reconnaissance des plus enviables. L’élection par vos pairs en est la plus belle consécration.
Permettez-moi de profiter de l’occasion pour saluer également une autre compatriote en la personne de Mme Anne Brasseur, qui préside aux destinées de l’Assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe depuis quelques semaines. Soyez rassurés, Mesdames et Messieurs, que cette situation rare, où un État membre de dimension modeste cumule de telles responsabilités au sein d’une organisation internationale de première importance n’est pas le résultat d’une volonté hégémonique du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg sur les institutions du Conseil de l’Europe.
Cette situation est bien le fruit de circonstances. Mais elle est aussi le reflet d’une appétence de mon pays pour les valeurs qui fondent la coopération au sein du Conseil de l’Europe depuis ses débuts, notamment le respect des droits de l’homme, le renforcement de la démocratie et la prééminence du droit.
Les épreuves traversées par un petit État coincé entre deux grandes puissances européennes, pire, les menaces directes pour sa survie pendant des décennies l’ont imprégné d’une sensibilité particulière à tout ce qui touche au respect du droit, qu’il concerne les États ou bien les personnes privées.
Il était naturel dès lors que le Luxembourg, un des membres fondateurs du Conseil de l’Europe, fût un allié de premier ordre de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme dès sa naissance. Symboliquement c’est le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg qui a été le 10ème État à déposer auprès du Conseil de l’Europe l’instrument de ratification de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, permettant ainsi son entrée en vigueur. J’aime à rappeler que c’est ma grand-mère, la Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, qui a posé sa signature sous la loi d’approbation. Ce faisant, était exprimé l’engagement du Luxembourg pour une union des Européens „par le développement des droits de l’homme et des libertés fondamentales“.
Mesdames et Messieurs,
imageSur les relations étroites et intimes entre la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme et le Luxembourg, il y aurait tant à dire. Je me bornerai cependant à citer quelques exemples qui soulignent cette proximité. „Mir gin elo op Strossbuerg fir Recht ze kreien …“ „Nous allons maintenant à Strasbourg pour obtenir justice“ est devenue une locution si commune dans mon pays qu’elle est comprise par tous, bien au-delà des cercles initiés de la justice. Parce qu’elle sait parler d’elle-même lorsqu’elle l’estime nécessaire, la presse luxembourgeoise a donné beaucoup de relief aux recours dont elle était partie prenante, il y a une dizaine d’années.
Cette médiatisation des affaires aidant, le rôle de la Cour de Strasbourg a été maintes fois explicité à mes concitoyens. Ses arrêts ont conduit le législateur à moderniser le droit de la presse qui datait du XIXème siècle.

Même si leurs connaissances sur les modalités de saisine peuvent beaucoup varier, il demeure remarquable que les Luxembourgeois aient parfaitement conscience de ce droit de recours individuel qu’ils partagent avec 800 millions de ressortissants de 47 États membres, lorsqu’ils estiment que leurs droits sont enfreints.
L’autre exemple que je voudrais mettre en avant tient aux effets des arrêts de la Cour sur la législation ou sur les pratiques administratives et judiciaires nationales. Les rares fois où le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg a été condamné pour violation des dispositions de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, le gouvernement s’est empressé de répondre avec diligence aux griefs qui lui étaient adressés et surtout d’y trouver une réponse adéquate. Parfois ces réponses sont de portée fondamentale et initient des bouleversements institutionnels, comme lors de l’arrêt Procola en 1995.
J’ai des souvenirs très précis de cette période, où moi-même étant jeune membre du Conseil d’État, la séparation de ses fonctions consultatives et juridictionnelles s’imposa comme une nécessité. La refondation d’un ordre administratif séparé a constitué une des réformes institutionnelles les plus abouties au cours des dernières décennies. Chacun se félicite aujourd’hui de cette réforme de fond bien plus respectueuse de la séparation des pouvoirs.
Une autre innovation d’importance dans le cadre plus large de la protection des droits a trait à la mise en place en 2000 d’une Commission consultative des droits de l’homme, sur le modèle de la commission française créée par René Cassin. Cette commission examine, dans une sorte de contrôle ex-ante, les procédures mises en place afin de réaliser une protection effective des droits fondamentaux dans l’ordre juridique luxembourgeois. Il est important à nos yeux que chaque État membre se dote des institutions adéquates pour prévenir les violations de la Convention européenne et pour garantir la conformité de son ordre juridique aux droits fondamentaux. Cela permettra aussi de réduire le flot de recours dont votre Cour est saisi.


European Court Experts presents European Court of Human Rights News

Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Ministre, Mesdames et Messieurs les Juges, Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Depuis les années 1990, avec l’élargissement du Conseil de l’Europe à l’ensemble du continent, la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a connu une évolution des plus spectaculaires. Grâce à l’introduction d’une cour permanente en 1998, elle a gagné en notoriété et en efficacité. Non seulement, elle constitue un organe de contrôle écouté, mais elle dispose aussi des moyens de pression efficaces pour faire appliquer ses jugements.
L’adhésion prochaine de l’Union européenne à la Convention des droits de l’homme, telle qu’elle est prévue par le traité de Lisbonne, annonce une nouvelle étape essentielle, même si quelques obstacles juridiques se dressent encore sur la route. La volonté politique est pourtant clairement affichée et l’importance de la Cour de Strasbourg en sera encore renforcée.
Certains commentateurs avisés ont comparé son rôle à celui de la Cour suprême des États-Unis : un corpus de droits fondamentaux intangibles interprétés par une juridiction qui vit dans son siècle et façonne par sa jurisprudence l’évolution des mentalités et la conception des droits de l’homme sur tout un continent. Lorsque l’on connaît le poids de l’institution américaine, la comparaison est des plus flatteuses.
J’ajouterai de mon côté que la pleine conscience de ce rôle invite surtout à l’humilité, parce que les droits de l’homme sont indissociables de la vie réelle et qu’ils ne peuvent donc être appréhendés uniquement de façon abstraite. Droits de l’homme et progrès vont de pair. Ils appellent de notre part à tous une démarche sans cesse renouvelée.
C’est à vous, Mesdames et Messieurs les juges, de faire en sorte que la dignité de l’homme soit respectée dans sa globalité afin que notre continent puisse vivre dans le respect des uns et des autres, conditio sine qua non d’une paix durable.

European Commission: Satellite applications for emergency handling, traffic alerts, road safety and incident prevention

With supporting infrastructure and applications in place, SafeTRIP technology could allow automatic payment of road-user charges (such as road tolls or congestion charges) across Europe or give passengers the ability to look for hotels or restaurants and book them while on the move.

Getting from A to B on European roads could become an easier, safer and more entertaining experience thanks to a new mobile technology platform for vehicles demonstrated by the SafeTRIP project.
Satellite navigation is now a commonplace technology in road vehicles. But the main advantages of satellites – their ability to provide a uniform, reliable and quickly updated service across large geographical areas – provide opportunities for many other services.
imageThe SafeTRIP project demonstrated the possibilities for commercial services based around the S-band communication channel available via the Eutelsat 10A satellite. This channel is optimised for broadcast multimedia content delivery and two-way data communication via small mobile units that are ideal for vehicle applications.
“However, to realise these opportunities requires the demonstration of the concept and the development of a standardised platform, and that is essentially what SafeTRIP has achieved,” says Guy Frémont, coordinator of the project and Director of New Technologies for French autoroute operator Sanef. “We have defined the architecture of the system and also worked through the standardisation issues required to implement the technology.”
This business model – to develop an open standardised architecture for low-cost terminals – is the same as that used for other successful mobile devices, such as satellite navigation and GSM technologies. And the model allows third-party software developers to produce applications for download, initiating a new and valuable market for ‘apps’.
Opportunities for ‘apps’
The technology would also be of interest to insurance companies – for pay-as-you-drive cover or stolen-vehicle tracking – vehicle fleet managers and car manufacturers, allowing for software updates and remote-vehicle diagnostics to be implemented.
Safety applications are an important feature via an automatic emergency alert system that connects with roadside assistance services or a local garage in the event of an accident or breakdown. The technology is interoperable with the new European Commission eCall service but would offer enhanced features.

European Court Experts, European Commission, Mobile Broadband

European Court Experts, European Commission, Mobile Broadband

One unique feature is the ability to include video within an emergency call. “This would allow a roadside assistance company to be able to respond to an emergency call immediately and assess the urgency of the situation,” explains Frémont. The system could be used to provide breakdown assistance or advice remotely.
The same concept is useful for road traffic-management authorities. The ‘patrol with eyes’ concept enables data to be collected and transmitted from a variety of sensors on a patrol vehicle to a central control room to help traffic management or other tasks.
“The data might include the road condition, the state of its surface, or information on congestion,” says Frémont. “Or the patrol could help manage incidents, giving the control centre a real time view of the situation.”
Traffic management can also benefit from collected data flows, such as traffic volume, weather conditions or pollution indexes. Information on road conditions could be instantly broadcast to vehicles via a short message service or satellite navigation maps updated ‘on the fly’ to reflect road conditions or temporary road closures.
Mobile broadcasting
Other opportunities lie in the ‘broadcast’ capabilities of the satellite technology. “Passenger entertainment or ‘infotainment’ applications are of major interest. Future services could include live TV and digital radio or video on demand,” says Frémont.
imageThe DVB-SH standard available via the S-band on Eutelsat is optimised for mobile conditions – even at high vehicle speed – and would allow passengers to access programmes via their portable smartphone or tablet computer, for example. Or the output of the SafeTRIP box could be integrated into the vehicle’s audio-visual entertainment system. Such a system was demonstrated in both private cars and a Eurolines coach during the project.
In fact, during the project all aspects were successfully demonstrated on a variety of vehicles and across Europe. Feedback was very positive and the next step is commercial exploitation.
The project involved testing the concept using a PC platform. The next stage is to reduce the size of the on-board unit and look at cost reduction. There will also be a need to involve vehicle manufacturers and other players in the value chain. Five industrial partners involved with the SafeTRIP project are working on industrialisation and commercialisation plans.
“This will need significant further investment to become a commercial product,” concludes Frémont. “But in a few years it is possible that SafeTRIP units will be on the market.”
Safe TRIP was one of the EU projects winning the contest „Les Étoiles de l’Europe“ organised by the French Ministry of Innovation and Research on December 16, 2013.
The prize, at its first edition, awarded the 12 best French researchers and coordinators that excelled in the leading of innovative European projects in all domains.

Trade Defence Instruments


Karel de Gucht, Commissioner for Trade. European Commission

Karel de Gucht, Commissioner for Trade. European Commission

After China initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on European imports of polysilicon to China in November 2012, the German polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie AG and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) have today announced that an agreement has been found to settle the proceedings through a price undertaking.

European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht stated: ‘I am very satisfied that China will not impose trade defence measures on European polysilicon exports. With this agreement, our industry will be able to pursue its operations in China where there is a substantial demand for high quality polysilicon. The European Commission and the German Government have worked hand in hand over the last couple of months to strongly support Wacker Chemie AG in its negotiation for an economically viable minimum import price. I am confident the removal of this trade irritant will strengthen the EU – China bilateral relationship.’


The agreement reached between Wacker Chemie AG and MOFCOM consists of a price undertaking, a solution foreseen by applicable WTO rules. The agreement involves that European exports of polysilicon are not sold below a specific minimum price in China, whereas China agreed to refrain from imposing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on the imports.


European Union, China. Trade Defense Instruments

China initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceedings on imports of polysilicon from the European Union in November 2012. Polysilicon is a major input for the production of solar panels. The German producer Wacker Chemie AG accounts for practically all polysilicon exports from the EU to China which had a value of around € 700 million in 2011.

In January, China released its preliminary findings in this case claiming that EU polysilicon exports were exported at a lower price than sold in Europe, a practice called dumping, and subsidized, and that these exports caused injury to the Chinese polysilicon producers. The European Commission has consistently defended the view that the case made by the Chinese authorities was unfounded and that the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy margins provisionally determined by Chinese investigators were inflated.

The European Commission and Chinese solar panel producers reached a similar agreement in August 2013 in the context of EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceedings on Chinese solar panels. The European Commission and the German Government fully coordinated their approach vis-à-vis China with the objective to find a similar solution for polysilicon. They advised Wacker Chemie AG inter alia on technical issues and were in constant contact with the Chinese authorities in order to ensure that Wacker’s arguments were duly taken into account.

Business and Lifestyle: Arab Emirates

imageThe capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a modern miracle on the shore of the Arabian Sea. Considered Dubai’s less-brash sister city, Abu Dhabi now has its own skyline of starchitect-designed bridges and buildings, as well as a growing cluster of international museums and high-rise apartment blocks rising from the desert, making it an increasingly attractive place to live for both expats and Emiratis.
Related article: Living in Dubai
What is it known for?
Located just 130km south from splashy Dubai, coastal Abu Dhabi has traditionally been known as the staid seat of the federal government, home to the ruling Abu Dhabi Emiri Family. The emirate owns 95% of the UAE’s oil production and 90% of the population is made up of expats.

European Court Experts, Real Estate, International Relationship

European Court Experts, Real Estate, International Relations


European Court Experts. International Relations, Diplomacy

“Abu Dhabi provides a wealth of opportunity and allows people to live tax free,” said Lizzie Johnstone, a Brit who has lived with her family in Abu Dhabi for five years. “The expat and local community are


welcoming, the  schools are good and at the weekend you can go to the beach.”

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the UAE’s seven constituent emirates, and the city centre is on Abu Dhabi island, connected to the mainland by three bridges and surrounded by a number of smaller islands, many of which are being developed by luxury resorts, shopping malls and real estate companies. Over the last decade the city has concentrated on developing its tourism, education, financial and cultural sectors to diversify its economy, which until recently relied almost exclusively on oil production. On Saadiyat Island (less than a kilometre off the shore of Abu Dhabi’s city centre), alongside luxury developments and golf courses, architect Jean Nouvel’s floating Louvre Abu Dhabi will open in December 2015, part of a cultural district that will also include the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (designed by Frank Gehry, due to open 2016) and the Zayed National Museum (designed by Foster + Partners, possibly opening 2017). A second campus for New York University Abu Dhabi is being planned for the island’s Marina district. Suburbs like the futuristic Masdar City are also part of the emirate’s master plan.
While the snazzy luxury resorts bring a bit of Dubai-like glitz, the city is also making efforts to preserve its natural resources, such as mangroves and turtle nesting spots along the turquoise waters. “If you are prepared to work hard, embrace the desert and respect the culture, you will have a very nice life,” Johnstone said.
Where do you want to live?
The Corniche on Abu Dhabi island stretches along the waterfront and is home to many mixed-use developments, hotels and malls, making it a very desirable place to live. Also sought-after are the modern luxury developments found on other islands such as Al Reem, or on the mainland in suburbs such as Khalifa City along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai Road. “People are spread out all over, but it will never take you more than half an hour ­– traffic permitting – to get anywhere,” Johnstone said.

European Court Experts, Agriculture, Blueberries, Horses, Tourism

European Court Experts presents: Arabian horses

Saadiyat Island is currently being developed with villas and high-end apartment blocks, and will be home to about 160,000 residents. Another popular island located close to the city centre, Al Reem, has experienced a few setbacks. “The master planning on Al Reem didn’t quite take off, so some of the projects have stalled,” said William Neill, director and head of Cluttons Abu Dhabi real estate and property consultant agency. Al Raha Beach, an area of Khalifa City, has a range of medium to high-end apartments, plus access to private beaches. North of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, along the E11 motorway to Dubai, the Al Reef development has villas that are popular with families.
Side trips
Dubai is about a 90-minute drive north, depending on traffic, and people go back and forth frequently; a passenger rail link between the two cities is in the planning stages, with the first expected service in 2018. Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is a popular weekend destination for diving and dolphin watching, and the northern emirate Fujairah is popular for trekking through the wadis (valleys) and hills. Muscat, the capital of Oman, is around 435km to the east, a four-hour drive or a short flight away.
Abu Dhabi International Airport has flights to many European and Asian destinations. Mumbai is about a three-hour flight, while the Maldives are just more than four hours away. Paris and London are each about a six or seven hour flight.

EU Law. Court of Justice of the European Union

European Court of Justice

European Court of Justice

The obligation imposed by Poland and Lithuania to reposition the steering-wheel of right-hand drive passenger vehicles to the left-hand side infringes EU law Such a measure goes beyond what is necessary in order to ensure road safety Member States may not prohibit, restrict or impede the registration, sale, entry into service or circulation on the road of vehicles, components or separate technical units, on grounds related to either aspects of their construction and functioning or to their steering-equipment, where those aspects satisfy the requirements of Framework Directive 2007/461 and Directive 70/3112. In Poland and Lithuania, countries which drive on the right-hand side of the road, for the purpose of registration of a motor vehicle, the steering system must be placed on the left-hand side of the vehicle or be repositioned to that side if it was previously located on the right-hand side.

Law news presented by European Court Experts

Law news presented by European Court Experts

Since it considered that that condition infringes Directives 2007/46 and 70/311 with regard to new vehicles and EU rules concerning the free movement of goods with regard to vehicles previously registered in another Member State, the Commission brought actions before the Court of Justice against those two Member States. In its judgments pronounced today, the Court of Justice holds first that, with regard to new vehicles, the aim of the harmonised framework established by those directives is the establishment and functioning of the internal market, while seeking to ensure a high level of road safety by means of the total harmonisation of technical requirements concerning, inter alia, the construction of vehicles. Although those directives do not determine the position of the driver’s seat of a vehicle, by providing, for example, that it must always be placed on the side opposite the direction of the traffic, it does not follow, according to the Court, that that element does not come within the scope of the directives. It must be considered, in that regard, that the EU legislature granted a freedom to motor vehicle manufacturers that may not be cancelled or impeded by national legislation. The Court notes next that the prohibition of the refusal to register provided for by Directive 70/311 is categorical and general, since the terms ‘steering equipment’ covers also the driver’s seat, that is to say, the position of the steering-wheel of vehicles, an integral part of the steering equipment. Since that prohibition was, in particular, inserted by the Act of Accession of Ireland and the United Kingdom to the European Communities – the only Member States at that time which drove on the left – it cannot reasonably be considered that the EU legislature was unaware of the fact that the accession of those Member States (one of which was a manufacturer of vehicles with their driver’s seat on the right-hand side) was liable, in an internal market involving the right to free movement, to have an effect on driving habits, even to involve a certain risk connected with road traffic.

European Court of Justice

European Court of Justice

1 Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (Framework Directive) (OJ 2007 L 263, p. 1). 2 Council Directive 70/311/EEC of 8 June 1970 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the steering equipment for motor vehicles and their trailers (OJ 1970 L 133, p. 10). The Court considers that adaptations that may be required may not relate to the repositioning of the driver’s seat, but solely to procedures having a minimal impact. Such an extensive requirement would amount to a procedure having a significant impact on the design of the vehicle, contrary to the wording and purpose of Directive 70/311. Consequently, the Court holds that the position of the driver’s seat, an integral part of the steering equipment of a vehicle, comes within the harmonisation established by Directives 2007/46 and 70/311, so that, in the context of the registration of a new vehicle in their territory, the Member States may not require, for reasons of safety, that the driver’s seat of that vehicle be moved to the side opposite the direction of the traffic. Next, with regard to passenger vehicles previously registered in another Member State with the driver’s seat on the right-hand side, the Court considers that the contested legislation constitutes measures having equivalent effect to quantitative restrictions on imports, such measures being prohibited by the Treaty. Those measures have the effect of hindering access to the Polish and Lithuanian markets for vehicles with steering equipment on the right, which are lawfully constructed and registered in other Member States.

European Court Experts, Adviser

European Court Experts, Adviser

The Court examines the argument of Poland and Lithuania that the legislation of those States is justified by the need to ensure road safety, the latter constituting an imperative requirement relating to the public interest capable of justifying a hindrance to the free movement of goods. It notes in that regard that the legislation at issue provides for exceptions with regard to the use of vehicles equipped with a steering-wheel on the right by people who reside in other Member States, and travel to Poland and Lithuania for a limited period (for example, tourists). That fact shows, according to the Court, that the contested legislation tolerates the risk involved in such use. In addition, the statistical data relied on by the Polish and Lithuanian Governments do not prove to the requisite legal standard the relationship between the number of accidents and the involvement of vehicles with the driver’s seat situated on the right. The Court holds that there exist means and measures that, while less restrictive of the free movement of goods, are capable of significantly reducing the risk which could be created by the use of vehicles with the steering-wheel placed on the same side as the direction of the traffic. It points out that the Member States enjoy in that regard discretion allowing them to impose measures capable, according to the state of technology, of ensuring sufficient rear and forward visibility for the driver of the vehicle with the steering-wheel positioned on the same side as the direction of the traffic (examples: fixing additional external rear-view mirrors or the adaptation of lighting and windscreen-wiping devices). According to the Court, it does not appear

European Court Experts

European Court Experts

that the measures at issue may be considered to be necessary in order to attain the road safety objective pursued by Poland and Lithuania. The Court considers therefore that those measures are not compatible with the principle of proportionality. The Court concludes therefore that Poland and Lithuania have infringed EU law. NOTE: An action for failure to fulfil obligations directed against a Member State which has failed to comply with its obligations under European Union law may be brought by the Commission or by another Member State. If the Court of Justice finds that there has been a failure to fulfil obligations, the Member State concerned must comply with the Court’s judgment without delay. Where the Commission considers that the Member State has not complied with the judgment, it may bring a further action seeking financial penalties. However, if measures transposing a directive have not been notified to the Commission, the Court of Justice can, on a proposal from the Commission, impose penalties at the stage of the initial judgment.