The Warsaw Voice » Law » Monthly - August 29, 2012
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Law in brief
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.

Bank Account for Everyone
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to present, by January next year, a draft directive guaranteeing access to basic banking services to all consumers legally residing in the European Union.

Around 30 million people living in the European Union do not have a bank account. Most of them are people on low incomes, students studying in a foreign country and temporary foreign workers. Their situation is worse than that of other people—they have more difficult access to employment, healthcare and housing.

Under the parliament’s resolution, banks would have to offer basic payment accounts as their cheapest service. Banks and other financial institutions would not have the right to refuse opening a basic account citing criteria such as the applicant’s low or irregular income, type of employment, credit history, or level of indebtedness.

Less Alcohol Advertising on TV
The European Commission has presented its first report on the functioning of the European Union’s audiovisual media services directive, which limits the proportion of advertising and teleshopping spots to 12 minutes per hour. According to the report, this provision was regularly breached and evaded in the examined period in a number of countries, among them Spain.

Alcohol advertising may represent no more than 3 percent of overall television advertising in EU countries. Cases of breaching provisions on protecting minors against the harmful impact of advertising were rare, according to the report. Several countries have banned advertising targeting children.

Poland and Belgium are the only EU countries which have yet to fully implement the directive.

Special Economic Zones ‘Beneficial’
Special economic zones are a key instrument for supporting new investment in Poland; they help attract large investment projects to the country, especially in manufacturing, according to a government report focusing on special economic zones.

Income tax breaks are the main instrument designed to encourage investment in Poland’s special economic zones, the report says. From 2007 to 2010, government receipts were zl.4.9 billion lower due to these tax breaks. However, the overall outcome for the national budget was positive, with a surplus of zl.3.3 billion due to receipts from value added tax and personal income tax paid by those employed in the zones.