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The EESC supports the proposed regulatory framework, comprising: amendments to the technical standards and rules of the Union Customs Code (UCC); corrections of technical errors and omissions, aligning the code with the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA); and the inclusion of the municipality of Campione d'Italia and the Italian waters of Lake Lugano in the EU customs territory, as requested by the Member State concerned. With regard to the inclusion of "territorial enclaves", the EESC recommends paying particular attention to making the necessary amendments at the same time to Directive 2008/118/EC (Excise duties) and Directive 2006/112/EC (the VAT Directive).
The EESC supports the Commission's Fin Tech Action Plan and considers that the development of FinTech can deliver a number of benefits to both European businesses and their clients. Measures included in the action plan on improving cyber security and the resilience of the financial sector are important, but should be supplemented by rules to ensure uniformity in the development of FinTech in the EU. Similarly, the Committee believes that the level of regulation for FinTech should be equivalent to that in the financial sector.
The EESC calls on the Commission to identify possible rules for companies offering cloud services with regard to their responsibility for securing the data they host.
The key message of the opinion is that transforming the energy system towards carbon-free, decentralised and digitalised supply offers enormous opportunities, in particular for structurally weak and rural regions in Europe. The development of renewable energy (RE) can have a major and beneficial impact on employment, and can be configured so as to provide a completely new stimulus for the regional economy. There is therefore potential for mutually reinforcing the positive effects of Europe's energy and cohesion policies. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) finds it regrettable that both the Commission and the Member States have yet to properly recognise this potential, let alone exploit it.
With this opinion, the EESC welcomes the proposal since it strikes a balance between the need to develop technologies with a low environmental impact (Euro 5 type-approval step) and the actual ability of some companies to introduce these within the stipulated timeframe (technical feasibility).
For the EESC this legislation will have a beneficial effect on the costs to companies and, consequently, on those borne by consumers. Moreover, the EESC is in favour of renewing the Commission's power to adopt delegated acts for a further period of five years.
The EESC welcomes the proposed Regulation. It builds on and replaces the existing Regulation, on which the EESC commented in January 2011, and tries to learn from experiences at national and EU level since it came into force in 2013 and into (intended) full effect by September 2014. The EESC notes a number of areas where greater clarity on the scope and implementation of the Regulation should be considered; these will also need to be discussed in greater detail with Member States in the months ahead. The EESC questions the effectiveness of grouping such widely disparate substances under a single regulatory regime. This makes the legislation hard to draft and even harder to implement or comprehend as a professional user or member of the general public. A different substance-specific approach is therefore recommended. EU legislation in respect of drug precursors provides a useful model for this.