The Warsaw Voice » Law » Monthly - August 29, 2012
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Law in brief
Better Protection of Air Travelers’ Rights
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on the rights of air passengers so as to make it easier for them to get compensation for flight cancellations, long flight delays, or missing baggage cases. The need to better protect passenger rights became evident in the wake of the air traffic crisis caused by volcanic ash in 2010.

The parliament decided that information on passenger rights should be available in the language used when booking the flight. Passengers should have the right to withdraw or change their ticket reservations free of charge within two hours. Additionally, the parliament would like every traveler to be able to lodge a written complaint at the airport, aboard the plane, or electronically. A standard form available in each of the EU languages should be created to make lodging complaints easier. The complaints should be examined within two months.

The European Parliament also wants the Commission to clarify the definitions of “extraordinary circumstances” and “flight cancellation.”

Poland Taken to EU Court
The European Commission has referred Poland to the European Court of Justice for the country’s failure to fully incorporate the European Union’s audiovisual media services directive into Polish law.

Poland failed to meet the December 2009 deadline for transposing provisions concerning on-demand services.

The Commission has proposed a daily fine of over 112,000 euros from the date of the Court’s ruling if Poland fails to fully incorporate the rules into its national law.

The Commission has also taken Poland to court over maritime safety regulations. Poland has failed to take measures to organize safety investigations after serious accidents at sea.

Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
A total of 1,669 illegal immigrants have legalized their stay in Poland under new regulations that came into force this January.

In all, more than 6,100 foreigners are seeking to legalize their stay in Poland, according to the Interior Ministry. The largest number of applications has been submitted by nationals of countries including Vietnam, Ukraine, Pakistan, Armenia and China.

Brussels Fighting Tax Havens
The European Commission says it will propose new tougher measures to clamp down on tax offenses in European Union countries by the end of the year.

The Commission has already put forward the idea of adopting minimum penalties for specific tax offenses across the European Union.According to the Commission, teams of auditors should be appointed to fight cross-border tax irregularities.

The Commission is also likely to push for closer cooperation among member states’ tax authorities in exchanging tax information, including access to national databases on taxpayers.

Work Permits Waived for Foreign Professionals
Highly qualified foreign nationals residing in Poland will not need to seek a work permit under a set of new rules that are designed to bring Poland’s immigration regulations in line with EU law.

Following a decision by Poland’s Interior Ministry, highly qualified foreign professionals working in Poland must be paid no less than zl.61,191 a year. The minimum limit is expected to help Polish employers attract qualified workers from abroad.

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.