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The Warsaw Voice » Law » June 29, 2012
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European Professional Card
June 29, 2012   
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In a bid to increase employee mobility in Europe, Brussels is planning a new directive regulating the way countries assess job qualifications obtained in other member states.

The planned directive will apply to a number of so-called regulated professions. In each member state, such professions will be divided into five categories, depending on the level of qualifications an employee needs to do a certain type of work. Jobs that need only a vocational level of education are classified as level one, while level five signifies professions in which a master’s degree is required.

The new directive proposes introducing a European Professional Card, which an employee’s country of origin will issue, attesting to his or her professional qualifications. Up to now, qualifications and job experience obtained in one EU member state have had to be checked by the authorities of the country in which a foreign employee wants to work. As a result, citizens from other EU states need to have their diplomas and certificates translated. The new directive also introduces common education standards. The new rules aim to make it easier for member states with high educational standards to place their trust in school and training certificates issued abroad.

Clamping Down on Tax Evasion
Polish President Bronisław Komorowski has signed into law agreements ratified with Jersey and Guernsey which introduce the exchange of tax information between Poland and the two Channel Islands, which are British crown dependencies.

According to the Finance Ministry, the agreements will help combat tax evasion, especially among Polish ship and aircraft operators, which have been increasingly keen of late to register their businesses on the islands.

Under the agreement with Jersey, a company’s revenues will be subject to taxation in the country where its management board is located. This means that if a firm’s management board is based in Poland while the company is registered in Jersey, it will pay taxes in Poland. Additionally, the Guernsey agreement imposes a dwellings profits tax on proceeds from sales of real estate.

Poland Presses for Equal Payments
Poland is pressing for equal direct payments for farmers in all EU member states under the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

At present, farmers in “old” EU countries are paid more and politicians in these countries have opposed calls for a change in the rules. Debate is expected to continue until the second half of 2013.

Work on reforming the way in which money is distributed under the CAP began in 2008. The most controversial issue is the existing system for payment distribution based on historical agricultural output values for individual member states. Under this system, farmers in Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece and other old member states are eligible for higher direct payments than farmers in new member states.

Cooperative Banks Want Reform Delayed
Polish cooperative banks, supported by the Finance Ministry, are pressing for a three-year transition period for Poland in introducing a European Union directive on capital and liquidity requirements for banks. The directive is due to come into force Jan. 1, 2013 and will affect cooperative banks.

Most cooperative banks in Poland are small and insist they will have a hard time complying with the new, stricter requirements.

Meanwhile, banking sector analysts say that the new EU requirements will force smaller banks to merge—something the Polish Financial Supervision Authority supports.

Work is under way on new regulations related to cooperative banks in Poland. Consultations on the proposed legislation are likely to continue until the end of the year. It is expected that, with the new regulations, the market share of cooperative banks in Poland will rise to over 10 percent, from 6-8 percent at the moment.

At present there are 572 cooperative banks across the country, with a combined 4,500 outlets and 32,000 staff.

No More Postal Monopoly
The monopoly of the Poczta Polska postal service on the delivery of letters and packages weighing up to 50 grams will be lifted Jan. 1 to bring Polish regulations in line with the EU’s market liberalization requirements.

Work on introducing the new rules is nearing completion and they will soon be submitted to parliament for approval, according to Magdalena Gaj, head of the Office of Electronic Communications.

Poland’s postal services market is worth an estimated at zl.7 billion. Its individual segments have gradually opened to competition.

The market for light mail will be shrinking steadily, experts say, as many companies, including banks, telecommunications operators and utility providers, are gradually switching from paper to electronic billing.

However, Poczta Polska will retain some of its market privileges. It will still have the exclusive right to deliver pensions for retired people and handle official documents such as tax returns where the date of mailing is important. This market is worth several hundred million zlotys, experts say.
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