Seldia Newsletter September 2013

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September 2013
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Seldia promotes Women Entrepreneurship in the EU Parliament 

On 25 September Seldia organized together with Member of the European Parliament Teresa Jiménez a luncheon event on “the importance of promoting women entrepreneurship in times of crisis”. The event was exceptionally well attended. The topic is one which is increasingly gaining prominence in the EU institutions and in which Seldia has played a trend setting role throughout 2013. EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding joined Seldia for the second time this year to help promote the topic. The Commissioners presence gave the event that extra momentum and attracted 120 participants, amongst them over 12 Members of the European Parliament from different political groups and countries. The event allowed Seldia to promote the direct selling industry’s particular benefit’s in generating entrepreneurial activity, especially for women whom make up 80% of all direct sellers. 

Spanish conservative MEP and host of the event, Teresa Jiménez welcomed participants and introduced the keynote speaker, Commissioner Viviane Reding. The Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship reminded of key statistics of female entrepreneurship in the EU and underlined the need for improving working conditions for European women entrepreneurs, with special mention of the creation of a special maternity leave.

The second speaker to take the floor was Carmen Plaza, Director of the Institute for Women, representative of the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. She underlined the fact that women entrepreneurs are desperately needed in the EU economic framework. They are, as a matter of fact, improving the economy for their own gender, as women are more likely to hire other women. At last, Monica Deza, Vice-President of Innovation at the advertising company McCann Worldgroup, spoke of the importance of communications, audiovisual content and media, to promote business initiatives.

Finally, the chairwoman of the Seldia sponsored Women Entrepreneurship Platform, Polish MEP Malgorzata Handzlik took the floor and presented the platform and its objectives. Minodora Cliveti (S&D, Romania), Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR, UK), Maria Carvahlo (EPP, Portugal), Silvia Costa (S&D, Italy) Dubravka Suica (EPP, Croatia) and Marlene Mizzi (S&D, Malta) were amongst several more Members of Parliament that took the floor to describe the challenges of women entrepreneurs in their own countries.

Industry News

Seldia pushes for EC to act on direct selling bans
Seldia pushes the European Commission to act upon its complaint – filed as far back as November 2011 – against the ban of direct selling of cosmetics in Austria. The Commission appears little decisive on this matter, leaving direct selling in the cold.

 

This ban against direct selling of cosmetics clearly violates EU law in several ways. It ignores the European Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices, which includes an exclusive list of banned practices.  This list does not include direct selling (off course not!) and our valuable distribution method can therefore not be forbidden. The ban also violates the European Services Directive, which aims at an internal market for services, including retail.  With direct selling of cosmetics allowed to flourish around the European Union, there is no reason why it should be restricted in one member state. Moreover, cosmetics is a fully harmonized sector in the EU, meaning that approved products should be able to circulate freely in the internal market.

Seldia is currently stepping up its efforts to convince those in charge at the European Commission to show political leadership and fulfill the institutions role as guardian of the EU laws.

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EU Parliament call on Unfair Commercial Practices
The European Parliament is expected to make some positive statements on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), which will help Seldia in its fight against restrictions on direct selling in some Member States. The European Parliament will notably call for the European Commission to legally challenge each member state that does not fully transpose the UCPD into national law.

The UCPD is an important law for direct selling because it contains an exclusive list of banned unfair practices, obviously not including direct selling. It is an exclusive list, which means that Member States are not allowed to add their own banned practices to this list.  For this reason, in November 2011 Seldia filed a complaint with the European Commission against Austria, which has a ban on direct selling of cosmetics.

The Parliament will call for compliance to the UCPD in its report on the European Commission’s review of the UCPD, which is expected soon. Seldia has learned that a majority in the Parliament supports the call.

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Polish Parliament initiative for a Direct Selling Day
The Polish Direct Selling Association has been meeting with Polish parlamentarians in an effort to make the 17th of October the Direct Selling Day.

On the 4th of September, within the Committee on Legislation for Civic initiative, Eva Kopacz, President of the Polish Parliament launched the initiative of the Polish DSA for making the 17th of October the national Direct Selling Day. The a initiative will further improve the image of direct selling and will further promote the industry through its social and economic benefits.  

The Polish Direct Selling Association, together with its member companies, is acting to gather the 100 000 signatures needed that will launch the legislative process which will then formalize the Direct Selling Day.

Information about the progress and number of signatures collected will be posted on www.pssb.pl.

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Seldia Annual Round Table about to start!  
With 140 registered participants and exceptional speakers, the third Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling promises to be great event for the industry. The awards ceremony will feature the Awards for Best Company and Best DSA of the year, the Hall of Fame Award and the Personality of the Year Award. Who will be awarded with these prestigious awards this year? Find out at the Seldia Astra Awards dinner! 

For the Annual Round Table Programme click here

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EU AT A GLANCE

Czech documentary on crooks streamed at EP
On 24 September Czech Social-Democrat Member of the European Parliament Olga Sehnalova hosted an evening event in which the Czech documentary film “Šmejdi” (crooks) was streamed and at which a debate on unfair commercial practices against vulnerable consumers took place. The hidden camera footage uncovers the manipulation, humiliation and aggressive pressure that exist behind the closed doors of “product demonstration excursions for seniors” in the Czech Republic. The screening and debate was also attended by the new Croatian EU Commissioner for Consumer Issues Neven Mimica who highlighted the importance of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in combating such illegal activities. 

Since the documentary was aired in the Czech republic in early 2013, politicians have taken to restrictive measures to counter criminal sales events. Sales events of Direct Selling companies are not affected and Seldia strongly condemns the fraudulent traders and supports all measures taken to stop them.

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EU Parliament rushes Data Protection Law

On 21 October 2013, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is scheduled to vote on the draft report on the General Data Protection Regulation. Rapporteur Jan Philip Albrecht (Greens/EFA, DE) is leading the negotiations and is currently trying to reach a compromise on the specific articles. The General Data Protection Regulation seeks to harmonise Data Protection rules across the EU, in order to provide one single regulatory framework for business and consumers. This should enhance consumers’ trust in the digital market, ensuring that their data is treated safely and responsible. For businesses, the new Regulation should establish legal certainty and establish common rules across the market.As the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency envisages a total of 17 days of expert meetings to have taken place before the end of its term, tension is rising on this dossier due to the time pressure in completing the full negotiations before of the European elections in May 2014.

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Common European Sales Law

On 17 September 2013, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) adopted with a large majority the draft report on an optional Common European Sales Law (CESL). Contrary to the EP IMCO Committee opinion, the EP JURI MEPs kept the CESL as an optional instrument rather than turning it into a minimum harmonised directive on guarantees, digital content and related services. The proposal on CESL is intended to facilitate cross-border trade by making a second contract regime available for business and consumers. The proposal is guided through the European Parliament by co-rapporteurs Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE) and Mr Luigi Berlinguer (S&D, IT). The next step in the legislative process will be the trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament, Council of Ministers and the European Commission, however, the final adoption of the legislation in this ‘first reading’ is unlikely, as EU Council is far from being aligned with the Parliament on this dossier. 

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EU Commission conference on behavioral economics
On 30 September, the European Commission’s Directorate-Generale for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) will organise a conference on “Applying behavioral insights to policy-making: Results, Promises and Limitations.” The aim of this conference is to discuss the possible influence of behavioral economics on policy-making.

Please find the programmhere
 
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EP committees want to keep origin labeling
The European Parliament Legal Affairs and International Trade committees have voted on their draft opinions on the Consumer Product Safety Regulation. Both opinions kept their support for a mandatory origin labeling. The retail sector will continue to lobby for the elimination of this provision, because it is regarded as too burdensome. Other aspects of the opinions of the two committees are favorable to commerce and are the result of continuous and collective lobby work various Brussels based trade associations, in particular EuroCommerce.

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EU initiative on Tax evasion and fraud
The European Commission (DG Taxud) has launched a new initiative to raise the awareness of the problem of tax evasion and tax fraud. In the EU, an estimated €193 billion in VAT revenues (1.5% of GDP) was lost due to non-compliance or non-collection in 2011, according to a new study on the VAT Gap in Member States. A video is available in 23 EU languages on the new web page, along with key information on the problem and the actions being taken.

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Barroso promises EU legislative burden reduction
On 19 September 2013, on the occasion of the meeting of the High Level Group on the Reduction of Administrative Burdens, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso stated that the follow-up on the Commission’s Regulatory Fitness Programme (REFIT) will be published early in October. Seldia welcomes this initiative by the European Commission, by which through the so called “REFIT Programme” the Commission aims to assess whether EU legislation is still fit for purpose. Based on the programme, burdensome and inefficient pieces of legislation will be simplified or repealed.

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EU more protectionist than ever

Despite the current historic EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, the EU Commission has identified about 150 new trade restrictions introduced by the EU’s main trading partners over the last year. During this same period only 18 barriers were removed. A sharp increase has been reported in the field of measures applied directly at the border, especially by new import duties. Some countries continue to shield their market from foreign competition to the disadvantage of their consumers and other sectors. Seldia opposes such protectionist measures and supports all moves for progress in multi-, pluri- and bilateral trade negotiations.

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EVENTS

Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, Brussels
5th Annual EU E-Commerce Conference
    15 October 2013, Brussels (EMOTA)
EuroCommerce SME Day
    21 October 2013, Brussels
2013 SME Assembly in Lithuania
    25-26 November 2013, Vilnius (EU Commission)
EuroCommerce 20th Anniversary Dinner
    25 November 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

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Troy Dooly is recognized internationally as an influencer in the areas of personal branding, leadership development, marketing campaigns, organizational expansion, and corporate launch strategies. Dooly is a speaker, results coach, and radio host. He is a founding member, show host (Beachside CEO) and News Director of the Home Business Radio Network. He is a founding member, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals