Seldia Newsletter May 2014

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You are subscribed to the European Direct Selling Association’s Newsletter

May 2014
Newsletter

Check our website!

For continuing news on
direct selling, please visit us at:
www.seldia.eu

 

The European Direct Selling Conference

Preparations for the 4th annual European Direct Selling Conference are well underway and much of the programme has already been confirmed. This year’s annual event will take place in Brussels on 2 October 2014 and the Seldia Astra Awards Gala Dinner will take place on the evening of 1 October. The conference has already attracted seven fantastic sponsors and participants have already started registering as early as now. As always, early bird registration will ensure you reduced fees and the registration page is already available on the new website. We are proud to confirm an exclusive workshop on Key EU Regulations and Developments by internationally renowned law firm Sidley Austin LLP. Maurits Lugard, Partner of the Brussels office of Sidley Austin will brief you on latest EU regulations impacting the direct selling industry, including the current EU health claims legislation. 

Furthermore, a second confirmed workshop led by Caroline Harding-Edgar, of direct selling company Stella & Dot, and Stéphan d’Haene, of PegusApps, leader in mobile apps strategy and development will focus on the importance of building and managing APPs in order to grow your business.


On the new website you will find more information on the programme and on the different sponsorship opportunities. There is no better way to brand your company than to associate it to this flagship event of the industry.
Stay tuned for further updates on speakers and programme!

INDUSTRY NEWS

French DSA (FVD) 28th Annual Congress
The French Direct Selling Association (FVD) held its 28th Annual Congress on 13 and 14 May at the magnificent Conference Business Centre at Disneyland in Paris. With over 200 participants and with excellent presentations by all FVD staff members, the Association has exceeded its self once more in captivating the strength of the industry in France. As always, the congress is an opportunity for FVD members and partners to review the former year and consider the outlook for the next year. The event also attracts many guests from inside and outside the direct selling industry. 

During his keynote speech, FVD President Philippe Jacquelinet stated that the Federation can be satisfied with the progress made this year, with its further growth in mebmership, the handling of the implementation of the new European consumer law of 17 March, the signing of further partnership agreements, the study on the possibilities for handicaped persons in direct sales and the creation of an observatory for direct selling.

FVD Secretary General Jacques Cosnefroy proudly presented the evolution of the FVD through a video at the end of which the new FVD visual identity was unveiled. The new red logo has as its baseline “Le conseil a domicile” highlighting the industry’s typical characteristic of being a home-selling and product consultation and demonstration business.

For more information on the FVD please visit their website.Website of the French DSA (FVD)

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UK DSA Annual Conference
This year’s UK Direct Selling Association’s Annual Conference was attended by around 200 delegates and allowed the leaders, drivers, partners and supporters of direct sales organisations in the UK to network and celebrate the successes within the industry. Several renowned guest speakers brought valuable and interesting information to businesses. As always, one of the unique strengths of the UK DSA conference is its supplier exhibition which allows the many service providers to the UK DSA to showcase their products and services to the attending direct selling organisations.

The DSA shared its exciting plans for the future and also announced that Paul Southworth, Director General for the UK DSA, was to retire. Lynda Mills, who has been in the role of Deputy Director General will be taking over the role. Paul, who will move into an Ambassadorial role, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the industry in a surprise “This is your DSA Life” presentation, conducted by DSA Chair, Andy Smith.

WFDSA Chairman Alessandro Carlucci joined the UK DSA Conference as a guest speaker to update on the direct selling industry globally as well as the upcoming WFDSA World Congress in Rio de Janeiro later this year. The prestigious Industry Awards Ceremony recognised the many achievements of both companies and individual s followed by the Gala Dinner with Rio carnival entertainment including Brazilian music and dancers.

For more pictures and details please visit our Conference website here

Website of the UK DSA

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Scandinavian DSA’s Management Meeting

The Norwegian Direct Selling Association organized the 2014 joint management meeting for member companies in Jevnaker, just north of Oslo on 22 and 23 May. The three chairmen of the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish DSA’s (Jan-Fredrik Torgersen, Mette Henius and Anders Berglund) greeted the participants at the start of the meeting.

The day before the national DSAs held their board meetings, a joint board meeting was organized to discuss matters for future cooperation, membership applications and acceptance of new members, as well as ethics. A quest speaker from the Consumer Authority informed participants about the implementation of the EU Consumer Rights Directive in Norway. This information was backed up by Danish and Swedish experts. The final speaker came from the IT Authority, who explained integrity matters related to social media and computer safety. The day concluded with social activities – a visit to the glass production facility at Hadeland Glassverk, and  finally an extraordinary dinner was served preceded by wine tasting.

The second day discussed solely DSA matters. Sales figures and statistics were shown by the three DSAs. The Norwegian DSA presented the Award for greatest growth to company Zinzino. The companies Norwex and Nu Skin presented their success concepts and a panel discussed how our industry could create success in the years to come. The meeting ended with approval to efforts to improve ethics in the companies and to create a system whereby no company could be a member of one DSA if such company was not living up to the industry’s ethical standards in another country where such company therefore is refused membership.

The general consensus was that the meeting program had a high level and was most informative about important issues. I wish to congratulate Jan-Fredrik Torgersen for having hosted an excellent event.
A guest contribution by Anders Berglund, Swedish DSA Chairman

Website of the Norwegian DSA
Website of the Danish DSA
Website of the Swedish DSA



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Spanish DSA confirms more young Direct Sellers
Young people in Spain have begun to see a career opportunity in the direct selling sector. This is the information released by the Association of Direct Selling (AVD), based on its activity during 2013, and which points to a change of trend in the traditional profile of the independent seller.

The AVD has confirmed more presence of young people among direct selling professionals as a trend, as well as more male sellers. The number of independent distributors and sellers under their 30, has grown a 10% and among them, 30% are full time dedicated, a higher percentage than the average in this sector where part-time dedication has always been more usual. This suggests that young people have increased their confidence in this sector. In this time of crisis, young people have found in direct selling an opportunity for their careers. 

This sector in Spain brings together over than 162.000 professionals and among them, 10% are full time dedicated, a proportion that has increased in the last 4 years. Women predominate (70%) over men (30%), although Spain stands out over the European average, where the proportion is 21% male to 79% female. Among young professionals we find 40% male and 60% female, showing clearly that direct selling is becoming more popular among men.

Despite the current economic framework, the sector remains strong: direct selling companies in Spain in 2013 have had a total turnover of EUR 588 million, with varying among categories, and an estimated market penetration of 26%. The AVD represents approximately 75% of the results, with more than 441 million euros and a volume of 4.7 million purchase orders, figures slightly lower than last year´s. More innovation and new products will be the answer to this decline in net sales. According to Carlos Barroso, AVD’s President, “This is a mature industry and the results are clear: considering the force of all direct selling companies, we are talking about one of the biggest commercial forces in our country. Most Spanish families have a direct selling product in their homes, and our turnover figures remain strong despite of the crisis. In recent years we are appreciating an increase in the number of young professionals interested in working in  the sector. They have discovered the advantages of direct selling: independence and flexibility, and decide to embark on an entrepreneurship with the support of a large company, with very low risks.”

At the moment, the AVD brings together 20 companies operating in Spain. The association is currently building a new website and a new logo was recently presented:

Stay tuned for the new website.
The previous site: Website of the Spanish DSA

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Hungarian DSA Press Conference
This year the Hungarian Direct Selling Association is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and on 29 May it is organizing a Press Conference on the benefits of Direct Selling and self employment in Hungary. It will include a lecture on self employment by a University professor, presentations by the DSA’s Chairman Szilveszter Sztruhala on direct sales practices in Hungary and the DSA’s Code Administrator regarding the importance of the Codes of conduct, as well as a presentation by a national expert on consumer affairs and a representative of the women entrepreneurship support initiative “Well-being foundation”. 
For a more detailed programme of the Press Conference please contact the Hungarian DSA.
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TOP 100 Direct Selling Companies
Direct Selling News has put the TOP 100 global Direct Selling Companies list online and will publish it for the June hard copy edition of the magazine. The 2014 DSN Global 100 list is based on the 2013 revenues and is the annual list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. Below is a graphic portraying the top ten companies worldwide, highlighted in blue are several Seldia corporate members.
In order to verify transparency and authenticity DSN introduced in 2011 a new standard: the Revenue Certification Form (RCF). In addition to an updated profile, each company is asked to submit an RCF signed by the CEO and CFO. Some privately-held companies choose not to participate in the Global 100 process, and therefore do not appear on this list.

The 2014 DSN Global 100 List

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WFDSA World Congress 2014 
The registration page for the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) World Congress in Brazil is now open. It will take place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil from 10-12 November 2014 and the topic of the 14th World Congress is: “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

Website of the World Congress XIV

EU AT A GLANCE

– – – – – European Election Results – – – – – –

The 2014 European elections have been marked by a stable turn-out, averaging 43% across the continent. With the results for national parties now confirmed in all 28 EU Member States, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) will remain the European Parliament largest group despite having lost over 20% of its seats compared to the previous parliamentary cycle. The leaders of the political groups mandated former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker to try and secure the nomination for President of the European Commission, for which he will need the support of a majority of Member States in the face of British opposition.

Further shifts in the overall membership of the different political groups are likely compared to the provisional results shown below, as 66 of the MEPs elected over the weekend have no current group affiliation at EU-level. Many of these are new far-right entrants into the Parliament, who may align themselves with the UKIP-led Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group, or the new “European Alliance for Freedom” (EAF) which is being formed under the direction of French Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

The impact of the rise in support for the far-right on EU policy-making overall is difficult to quantify at this stage, but the European Parliament’s lack of the right of initiative and the relatively secure position of the centrist groups will probably temper any direct influence the EFD or EAF may try to exert over EU policy. 

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EU&Japan commit to progress on Trade Agreement
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the progress that has been made since the start of the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan one year ago. The EU and Japan reiterated their commitment to a rapid exchange of ambitious market access offers on procurement and on trade in services and investment. Both sides want to reach an agreement in 2015. The EU negotiating mandate includes a review process after the first year of negotiations, and the Commission will now provide a report assessing the progress achieved so far. The Council will then decide whether the trade talks should be resumed or not. 
   

EVENTS

Seldia Board and Committee Meetings
27 & 28 May 2014, Stockholm
Direct Selling Astra Awards Dinner

1 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
The European Direct Selling Conference

2 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
WfDSA Secretaries’ Meeting

3 October 2014, Brussels 
WfDSA World Congress XIV
10-12 November 2014, Rio de Janeiro To top      

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Seldia Newsletter April 2014

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You are subscribed to the European Direct Selling Association’s Newsletter

April 2014
Newsletter

Check our website!

For continuing news on
direct selling, please visit us at:
www.seldia.eu

 

The European Direct Selling Conference

Today Seldia launched the website of its 4th consecutive Annual Industry Event – the European Direct Selling Conference. After last year’s successful event, Seldia decided to further build on the format by increasing the number of breakout sessions, exhibition spots and awards categories. The new conference format comes with a new logo that is easily associated with Seldia and its Members:
The conference will take place in Brussels on 2 October 2014 and the Seldia Astra Awards Gala Dinner will take place on the evening of 1 October. As always, early bird registration will ensure you reduced fees. The registration page is already available on the new website. 

The conference has already a confirmed set of exceptional speakers. Amongst them Alessandro Carlucci, Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations and CEO of Natura is our key note speaker. Alongside Carlucci, three further CEO’s have signed up to participate in this year’s CEO panel, Peter Strydom from Amway, Martin Koehler from PartyLite and Chris Fenna from The Pampered Chef. 


On the new website you will also find information on the different sponsorship opportunities. There is no better way to brand your company than to associate it to this flagship event of the industry.

Please note that parts of the website are still under construction. You will be informed on updates in due course.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

World Federation Ethics Committee meets in Paris

The French DSA (FVD) hosted the World Federation of Direct Selling Association’s (WfDSA) Ethics Committee in Paris on April 16, 2014. Philippe Jacquelinet, Chairman and Jacques Cosnefroy, General Secretary of French DSA welcomed Joe Mariano and Adolfo Franco from the US DSA, Tamuna Gabilaia from WFDSA, Maurits Bruggink from Seldia and Ray Patrick from Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. of Canada. The meeting resulted in valuable and constructive exchanges and provided all the participants with greater knowledge of the various projects implemented in favor of the design of Direct Selling in the future. Among other tasks, the Committee discussed about a new global ethics and integrity benchmarks tool and the revisions of the Code and explanatory provisions.

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EuroCommerce approves Herbalife membership

The General Assembly of EuroCommerce, the Brussels-based EU federation representing the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe, unanimously accepted Herbalife as a new company member on the 1st April 2014. This is great news, as Seldia is already an affiliated federation of EuroCommerce and together with Herbalife the direct selling industry will be even more strongly represented.

EuroCommerce website

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Dear Marianna, what is typical about direct selling in Greece?
We have to think out of the box, today more than ever before. Traditional direct selling methods for recruiting new members seem not to be so effective any more, with people to be very reluctant even to hear what you have to offer to them. We have to think of new, initiative ideas to approach people and make them trust direct selling.

Greece was one of the countries hit hardest by the World Financial crisis. What has the effects been of this crisis on the Direct Selling industry?
The competition is very strong. A lot of direct selling companies appeared and look at the Greek market as the ideal ground to flourish their business. Unfortunately, some of these companies do not work legally and they use questionable practices that damage the name of Direct Selling. Also, the retail stores do very competitive offers , similar to the ones that usually Direct Selling companies use, making even stronger the competition “arena”.

When Seldia visited Athens and the Hellenic DSA in December 2013, we spoke about the “hot issue” – social security. What is the current status and what are your expectations on this issue?
We are still in contact with the Greek authorities, as this is a very difficult time consuming issue to solve and come up with a common decision, given that the current framework is not clear. What we believe is logical and have also proposed to authorities, is our Representatives to pay fees for social security, when their earnings exceed a certain amount annually. Our expectations are that finally through many and hard negotiations we will be able to convince the Greek authorities about the rationality of our arguments, so to have a decision that will permit the future operation of Direct Selling companies.

The Hellenic DSA won the Best DSA Award at the last Seldia Annual Conference due to its resilience during the crisis. What is your vision for the DSA for the coming years?
Although the difficulties we face, Direct Selling business has a very dynamic future in Greece. We are a very strong Association and thanks to all Members’ cooperation and support , we believe that we will manage to make Direct Selling to grow further. And I say “grow” I mean not only to increase our representatives but also to increase our customer basis, as we offer not only a great earning opportunity, but also a high quality range of products. We have to follow an extrovert strategy to the public, so the consumers to know and trust even more Direct Selling. The new Facebook page we are going to launch in the next month will help us on this direction. To increase our credibility and to have an open relation with our target audiences. We are going to bulid more on our public image in the next 2 years and also, we would like to increase our members and “clean” the direct selling business from the not reliable companies. We are a very strong team, very dynamic and I would like to seize this moment to thank HDSA members for their help.
Thank you for the interview Marianna. 

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The Changing Face of Direct Selling
A guest contribution by Lynda Mills, Director of the Direct Selling Association, UK & IrelandAt the UK DSA we have seen a huge number of changes across the industry in recent years, both in terms of the perception of the industry and people involved. With a fresh wave of new products, companies and demographics, it’s a very exciting time to be involved in direct selling. With continued growth, we wanted to showcase the aspects of our industry that reflect the innovation present throughout direct selling in the UK.

New products
As our member companies have continued to grow, they have been able to expand their range of products and provide unrivalled choice for consumers. With our wellness companies enjoying particular growth, the sector has recognised the nation’s desire to get healthy and responded with a fantastic solution for buying health and wellness products. We’ve also seen a significant rise in the number of products in the health and beauty sector aimed at men in response to the growing number of men getting involved in direct selling.

New companies
We are seeing so much entrepreneurialism with new companies entering the direct selling market. New companies are increasingly looking at the direct selling as a way to go to market. A great example of this is Little Trove, which specialise in fair trade craft and homeware products. With direct selling now being recognised as an alternative channel of retailing and distribution, it is wonderful that new businesses are looking to join us as a member companies.

New demographics
Despite our traditional demographic of working mums still rising, new demographics such as students, couples and over 50s have seen a surge in recruitment recently; bringing vibrancy and variation to our industry. Direct selling continues to be the largest provider of part time work in the UK, and it is great to see how people are really taking the opportunity to make

direct selling work for them.  Website of the UK DSA
Website of the Irish DSA

To learn more about the UK market make sure you register and attend the UK DSA Annual Conference taking place on 15 May at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire.

UK DSA Annual Conference Website

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FVD Event at Université Paris-Est Créteil 
On 2 and 4 April 2014 the French DSA (FVD) organized the 2nd edition of its European Conference on Innovation and Trade with Université Paris-Est Créteil. The event focused on today’s consumer buying behavior, which tends to become more and more cross-channel where consumers frequently switch among the different retail channels of e-commerce, brick and mortar shops and direct selling. While consumers increasingly make use of the internet, studies have shown that the person to person consultation occurring in direct selling remains indispensable. 

The event was attended by 150 participants from the Direct Selling industry, amongst them several European CEO’s acting as panelists and by university students and other interestees. Director General of the FVD, Jacques Cosnefroy handed a student the award for best study. 

The event was organized in partnership particularly with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, ADETEM (French association of marketing professionals), the Agency for Employment of Managers (APEC), the French Association Customer Relationship Management (AFRC), the National Foundation for Teaching Business Management (FNEGE) and the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA).

French DSA (FVD) Website
For more photos of the event click here
For a video report on the Event (in French) click here

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Polish DSA (PSSB) News
On 31 March 2014 the Director General of the Polish DSA (PSSB) Miroslaw Lubon made a presentation on “Direct Sales Today” at the University of Economics in Poznan, under the frame work of the the program “Each of the Economy” where dozens of students particiapted. The PSSB works with the University of Poznan since 2009 And regularly intervenes in open lectures. 

Polish DSA PSSB Website

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European Court of Justice rules on Pyramids case
Seldia welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 3 April in which the court rules on the clarification of the European Union law on Pyramid schemes. The concerned clause is part of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive Black list of commercial practices which are deemed illegal in any circumstances. The ECJ clarifies in its judgment that a pyramid scheme needs to fulfill three conditions to be identified as one: 1. It is based on the promise that the consumer will have the opportunity of making a commercial profit; 2. The realisation of that promise depends on the introduction of other consumers into the scheme – a Pyramid scheme only exists when there exists a link between the consideration by new members and the compensation to existing members. 3. The greater part of the revenue to fund the compensation promised to consumers does not result from a real economic activity. 

This clause came into force in 2007 after Seldia (formerly FEDSA) worked with the European Commission on including it in the black list. Seldia is continuously committed in fighting pyramid schemes.

For the ECJ Judgment click here


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SELDIA selected to participate in TiSA Study
Seldia has been selected as one of the stakeholders that will contribute and participate to the Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment on the international Trade in services Agreement (TiSA). The independent consultancy team working on the report informs stakeholders about TiSA and its impact by disseminating  study results, while stakeholders in turn provide important input into the process and feedback on the results. The interaction between international and local experts, NGOs, business, national government officials, EU-officials and other stakeholders will lead to a two-way exchange of information.

For Seldia and the Direct Selling Industry, TiSA is an important trade agreement through which improved conditions for direct selling are to be advocated. One of the aims is to have the industry as such be recognized in this agreement, this would provide for a standard reference for all countries involved in TiSA and would become a benchmark for recognizing direct selling.

For the draft inception report please click here

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Registration Open – WFDSA World Congress 2014 
The registration page for the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) World Congress in Brazil is now open. It will take place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil from 10-12 November 2014 and the topic of the 14th World Congress is: “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

Website of the World Congress XIV

EU AT A GLANCE

– – – – – European Elections at our Doorstep – – – – – –

The European Elections are now before our doorstep and in many countries these elections are happening at the same time as local elections. On 22-25 May citizens of the EU’s 28 Member States will vote and elect the 751 Members of the European Parliament that will ultimately come to represent 500 million European citizens. What sceptics portray as a mere “protest vote” – the European elections end up producing a fairly balanced EU Parliament with the two main party groups the Social Democrats and the Conservatives making up almost half of the MEPs. Considering these projections it is fairly evident that European elections are taken very seriously by most Europeans.

The current projections indicate that the European People’s Party is at the helm with 28.36% of the vote, followed by the Social Democrats with 27.83%. This will result in a very close race and will remain an exciting race until the end. 

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TV debates with Commission President candidates
In an effort to raise the profile of the European elections and boost voter turnout, the European political parties have organised a series of televised debates for their respective Commission President candidates in the lead-up to the elections in May. The first of these debates took place last week live on French television when the EPP candidate, Jean-Claude Junker went head-to-head with the leader of the Socialists, Martin Schulz.

The next debate, which will be between all of the candidates, will be held on 28 April in Maastricht, broadcasted live by Euronews and available in 13 languages. Following this there are a number of other debates foreseen – one held in the Parliament between all candidates on 15 May, hosted by the European Broadcasting Union, and two in German between Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz on 8 and 20 May.

For the video and an analysis of the first debate please click here
   

 

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MEPs call for stricter product safety standards

On 15 April, the last Plenary Session before the elections, the European Parliament adopted its position at first reading on the new Product Safety Package, which consists of two Regulations on Consumer Product Safety and Market Surveillance. The aim is for MEPs to conclude negotiations with the EU Member States on the final text of the laws later this year.

The purpose of the proposals is to ensure consumer protection by preventing unsafe products from entering the EU market, and to put in place an enhanced system for monitoring the market and recalling unsafe products. The Consumer Product Safety Regulation will apply only to products not already covered by specific sectoral legislation. Today’s vote saw MEPs largely endorse the reports on the legislation as adopted by the Internal Market Committee earlier this year, including mandatory country-of-origin marking for products (a major point of contention for many of EU’s national governments). However, the Parliament scrapped a proposed article which would have introduced a voluntary “EU Safety Tested” standard for products sold in Europe.

Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the final text of the two laws have been on-going for some months. The talks are expected to continue after the European elections and a final agreement could be found by the third quarter of 2014, allowing for the Regulations to be formally adopted by the end of the year. They are due to enter into force in 2015.

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Data Protection Update
The article 29 working party, which brings together the EU’s national data protection authorities, has published a letter to Vice-President Viviane Reding on the actions set out by the European Commission in order to restore trust in data flows between the EU and the US”. The article 29 working party has also issued a new opinion on the “notion of legitimate interests of the data controller” under the 1995 Data Protection Directive. This opinion concerns aspects of the draft Data Protection Regulation still under discussion and could therefore further inform the legislative debate.

For the letter please click here
For the opinion on data controllers please click here

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EU Justice and Home Affairs Agenda 2020

The Commission has released its communication “The EU Justice Agenda for 2020 – Strengthening Trust, Mobility and Growth within the Union”. The document provides a short overview of what has been achieved and how future challenges will be addressed. The Commission proposes that the future EU justice and home affairs policy should be based on consolidating what has been achieved, codifying EU law and practice where necessary and complementing the existing framework with new initiatives. Specifically referring to “confident consumers”, the communication highlights cross-border online sales as an example.  Businesses and consumers need to be confident that they will be able to effectively enforce contracts and handle litigation in court, or where possible out of court, within a reasonable timeframe and without encountering the variety of barriers that they still confront today. The importance of data protection was also stressed, particularly due to the concern of consumers of the large-scale processing or surveillance of their personal data when using online services. This will be discussed with the Parliament and Council in June, following the elections.For the EC memo please click here

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EP study analyzes cost of Non-Europe in 2014-19
As a contribution to the growing discussion about the EU’s policy priorities for the coming five-year institutional cycle, the Parliamentary Research Service has published the report “Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe, 2014-19”. The report offers estimates of the possible economic gains resulting from the European integration and cooperation – whether from additional GDP generated or from a more rational allocation of public resources. These gains (800 billion euros, or approximately 6% of EU’s GDP) could help significantly boost the European economy over time.The report stresses that the digital single market is still very fragmented and incomplete, and that there is a clear need to update EU single market rules for the digital era focusing on removing barriers. There are too many barriers that still block the free flow of goods and online services across national borders, including e-privacy, consumer protection and dispute resolution, data protection, e-payments, and VAT payments. Half of the potential gains should be achievable in coming years, the report concludes.

For the report please click here
   

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ECC-Net Kehl Annual Report 2013 

The European Consumer Centre in Kehl CEC-EVZ is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has just published its Annual Report for 2013. The Consumer Centre in Kehl is a joint German-French project which aims at cross-border consumer protection and focuses on German and French consumers. The centre is a member of the European Commission’s European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net).In 2013 the Consumer Centre recorded more than 66,000 inquiries and treated more than 10,000 European cross-border complaints of which 74 % were resolved amicably. The Centre also conducted specific projects, such as an information campaign on “the protection of personal data of consumers in the European Union ” or the Franco-German project dedicated to young “Young consumers in the Upper Rhine.” The centre has also been successful in developing the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services for e-commerce and has become an indispensable partner of the European institutions that regularly use its experience and its analysis.

For the 2013 Annual Report of ECC-Net Kehl please click here
   

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Problems faced by Retail Trade in Italy and Europe
Italian Member of the European Parliament Mara Bizzotto has initiated a motion for resolution where she asks the European Commission to review this year the situation in the retail market for both Italy and Europe as a whole. This comes as a response to the 2010 the Commission publication of its retail market and distribution sector monitoring report. The report concluded that there are at least 20 problems which undermine the smooth functioning of the retail sector, including rules on establishment, issues related to accessibility for consumers, unfair practices between undertakings and problems associated with the employment of the workforce. Additionally in Italy, sectoral associations are now complaining about new additional difficulties, such as increased taxes and administrative costs.

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Plastic Bags: EU Parliament fights to limit their use

On 16 April at the EU Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg MEPs voted to significantly strengthen draft EU rules aimed at reducing plastic bag use and waste, notably to include obligatory European reduction targets and a requirement that plastic bags come at a cost. The report of Danish Green MEP Margrete Auken was approved by 539 votes to 51, with 72 abstentions.EU countries would have to reduce the use of the most common and most polluting plastic bags by at at least 80% by 2019, under draft rules backed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs recommend using taxes and levies, marketing restrictions or bans. Plastic carrier bag litter is a major environmental problem, known to pollute water bodies and aquatic eco-systems in particular. Member states would have to at least halve their consumption by 2017 and reduce it by 80% two years later – compared to 2010 figures. They should use measures such as taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans to stop shops from giving out plastic bags for free, except for very light ones, used to wrap loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products. Parliament voted at first reading to ensure that the work done during this mandate can be taken up by the new Parliament and used as a basis for further negotiations with EU member states.

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EVENTS

French DSA (FVD) Annual Conference
13-14 May 2014, Disneyland Paris
UK DSA Annual Conference

15 May 2014, Northamptonshire (more information)

Seldia Board and Committee Meetings
27 & 28 May 2014, Stockholm
The European Direct Selling Conference

2 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
WfDSA World Congress XIV
10-12 November 2014, Rio de Janeiro To top      

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Seldia Newsletter March 2014

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Entrepreneurship Education in the EU

Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association together with the Seldia EU Parliament initiative “the Women Entrepreneurship Platform” (WEP) organised a lunch debate in the European Parliament on the 20th of March 2014. Seldia regularly advocates on the need for more women entrepreneurs – an area in which direct selling excels as 85% of the 4,7 million direct sellers in the European Union are women. The event on 20 March focused on the topic of “Women Entrepreneurship – the importance of Entrepreneurship Education” and was hosted by Austrian Member of the European Parliament Dr. Paul Rübig. The lunch debate was attended by 80 participants coming from the EU institutions, Business representatives from Direct Selling and other sectors, University and business school professors, as well as NGOs and platforms of women entrepreneurs. 

The event was moderated by Maurits Bruggink, Executive Director of Seldia who presented the speakers, among them Simone Baldassarri, responsible for the dossier “education for entrepreneurship” at DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission. Mr Baldassarri pointed out that young girls and boys need to learn entrepreneurial skills from a young age and also need to be inspired by role models. He outlined the Commission’s Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan and called for more Women Entrepreneurs networks, such as the WEP.

Further key speakers were Tamuna Gabilaia, Executive Director of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) and LaVonn Schlegel from the Kelley School of Business of Indiana University. Tamuna Gabilaia explained the challenges of women entrepreneurs with statistical data taken from the US and from around the world. She also presented the projects developed by the WFDSA for the development of female entrepreneurship, among them a training program as well as the partnership on entrepreneurship education put in place with Kelley School of Business. LaVonn Schlegel powerfully articulated on remaining obstacles needed to boost of female entrepreneurship and described good practices for entrepreneurship education and policy development.


The event was also attended by Lithuanian MEP Ms. Justina Vitkauskaite from the liberal ALDE group and Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella from the Social Democrats group. Both MEPs underlined the importance of organizing such events in order to keep the momentum on this important topic. Marc Tarabella also highlighted the need for more men to be involved in the debate – something that Seldia achieved at this particular event.

Photos of the event can be found on Seldia’s Facebook page

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INDUSTRY NEWS

SELDIA presentation before TTIP Negotiators
During the fourth round of Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations that took place in Brussels from 10-14 March 2014, the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission organized a stakeholder event on 12 March. Several stakeholders, amongst them Seldia, had the opportunity to explain their views on different aspects of the TTIP by delivering presentations to key EU and US negotiators, other interested stakeholders and international press. Seldia Executive Director Maurits Bruggink presented the industry’s interests with a presentation titled: “Asserting Direct Selling as a valuable distribution service within the Services Chapter of TTIP”. 

The Head Negotiator from the Services Unit at DG Trade, with whom Seldia is in regular contact, acknowledged and thanked for the presentation. Thomas Fine, the lead US negotiator for Services was interested to find out more regarding the trade barriers that direct selling faces with certain product categories. Seldia and several Member DSA’s are currently advocating the industry’s TTIP interests towards EU Member State policymakers, who alongside the EU Commission acting as chief negotiating body, are a key joint decision-maker on EU trade matters.   

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New Seldia Corporate Member: PM International 

Seldia is proud to announce the approval by the Seldia Board of Directors of a new corporate member: PM International AG
PM International is a German company selling food supplements and cosmetics. It was founded in 1993 by Rolf Sorg who is the CEO of the company headquartered in Luxembourg and in Speyer (South West of Germany). PM International is a member of 4 DSAs: France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The company has experienced continuous growth and in 2012 has become ranked among the Top 50 most successful Direct Selling companies world wide
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New Seldia Member
DSA : Kazakh DSA
The DSA of Kazakhstan was founded in 2006 and counts 5 member companies: Avon, Herbalife, Faberlic, Mary Kay and Oriflame and one prospective member (Amway). According to latest figures made available by the DSA, annual sales of the direct selling sector amounted to 238,4 million USD.The Kazakh DSA is currently organizing a comprehensive event on consumer protection and will as of now be represented in Seldia’s Non-EU DSA’s Committee.

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Polish DSA (PSSB) News

PSSB Membership Increases
The Polish DSA was recently joined by two new companies: MonaVie and L&R Health and Beauty Systems. Both have operated in Poland for several years now offering mainly food supplements and energetic drinks, but also cosmetics and jewelry (L&R). The two companies, now on one-year  probation, increased the number of PSSB members to 16. The group of PSSB supplying members has also grown this month to five, when the Association was joined by T-Systems Poland, a company linked to the well-known mobile phone operator T-Mobile.

PSSB Conference 19 March 2014
On 19 March PSSB staged a conference in Warsaw devoted to “Ethics and Good Market Practices in Direct Selling”. The event was prompted by the recent intensification of unfair market practices employed by a number of small Polish companies and addressed especially to elderly people. These companies organize big public meetings disguised as medical consultations, culinary workshops or even cabaret shows, where high ticket products are sold to people who neither need them nor can afford them. The Conference was attended by representatives of the Polish Senate, the  government consumer watchdog UOKiK, the Consumer Federation, the Attorney General Office, the Office for Registration and Licensing of Medical Equipment and local consumer spokespersons. A number of joint projects was initially agreed upon, including the creation of a black list of unfair companies and the writing of a letter addressed to all institutions renting facilities for such meetings to verify in advance  hiring requests with the participants of the Conference.

Polish DSA PSSB Website 

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Lithuanian DSA speaks at European Consumer Day 
On 18 March the Lithuanian Consumer Protection Board together with the Lithuanian European Consumer Centre (ECC-Net) organized on the occasion of the European Consumer Day a conference entitled „Consumer Rights Directive: What‘s New for consumer and business“. 

The conference was attended by representatives from the EU institutions and local consumer and business representatives. An expert panel was made of up a European Commission representative from DG Justice, a representative of BEUC (the EU consumer organisation) and a representative of local consumer rights organizations. Secretary General of the Lithuanian DSA and Member of the Seldia Board of Directors, Gintautas Zaleckas was also invited as a panelist and made a presentation on the importance and the effects of the Consumer Rights Directive on the Direct Selling Industry.

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AVEDISCO Consumer Rights Directive Workshop 
On 11 February 2014 a Workshop on the new directive on consumer rights took place in Milan. In Italy the EU’s Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) was recently transposed into an Italian law and will be applied from 13 June 2014. The event served to underline the importance of this new directive to the Direct Selling industry and to inform regarding the important changes that it will bring to certain aspects of the business.

The workshop, organized by the Italian Direct Selling Association (AVEDISCO), was moderated by AVEDISCO honorary Chairman Giorgio Giuliani and accompanied by presentations of several direct selling industry expert consultants. The event enjoyed an excellent turnout with over 70 participants attending, they were representing member companies and also Italian direct selling companies that are not yet associated to AVEDISCO.

Website of AVEDISCO

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Rogue traders circumvent Czech Sales events law 
A few weeks ago, Czech Parlamentarians approved an amendment to a Czech law which now makes it mandatory for sales events to be notified 10 working days in advance. Thanks to talks held by Seldia and the Czech DSA with Czech policymakers in Prague, Direct Selling was explicitly exempted from this requirement.There have now been first signs that the new sales events law is not serving its purpose as was anticipated by the Direct Selling industry. According to the Czech DSA, there has been a recent report in a major daily on this issue. The report stated that the inspection authorities already witnessed several cases where the organizers of sales events notify a large number of events so that it is impossible to control all of them. Subsequently most of these events are canceled, allowing the rogue traders to then easily organize only one event where they then take advantage of consumers through so called excursion sales (targeting elderly citizens who are sold overpriced goods).

Similar laws have been put in place in Slovakia and are currently under discussion in Hungary. Seldia will continue to advocate on the need for EU Member States to focus on the proper enforcement of already existing EU law, such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive which cover all types of criminal off-premises commercial activities.

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French DSA (FVD) Events
Commerce and Innovation Conference 2&3 April

The French DSA (FVD), the University Paris Est Créteil and the Institute of Management Research organize on 2 and 3 April 2014 the second edition of the European Commerce and Innovation Conference around a general theme : “Commerce in the multi-channel era”. The event is organized in partnership particularly with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, ADETEM (French association of marketing professionals), the Agency for Employment of Managers (APEC), the French Association Customer Relationship Management (AFRC), the National Foundation for Teaching Business Management (FNEGE), APEC and the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) .
For more information or to register to the event click here

Annual Conference 13 & 14 May 2014

This year the French Direct Selling Association (FVD) is inviting its members and partners to attend their 28th Annual Congress in Disneyland Paris. The event will take place on 13 and 14 May 2014. 

Website of the FVD

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The European Direct Selling Conference 2014 
Seldia is making changes to its Annual Round Table Conference and will in this year’s edition present a new modified programme under a new conference format. The annual conference that will take place on 2 October 2014 will from now on be known as
The European Direct Selling Conference”. 

Changes will affect the conference format and will include further workshops and awards, as well as other entertaining novelties which will be advertised in due time. A conference website will be available shortly. 

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Registration Open – WFDSA World Congress 2014 
The registration page for the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) World Congress in Brazil is now open. It will take place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil from 10-12 November 2014 and the topic of the 14th World Congress is: “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

In the 14th WFDSA World Congress the following topics will be discussed:

  • New Technologies
  • Quality of relationships
  • Entrepreneurs and the new labor
  • Industry’s Advocacy
  • New markets, new opportunities

EU AT A GLANCE

A Bloggers’ skeptical view on EP Elections

Euro-scepticism is an issue which continues to dominate the political landscape in a number of the EU states. Finland is one example, where the anti-EU populist party the Finns (formally known as the True Finns) are the third largest party in the country following their success in previous general elections.

Tapio Raunio, a professor of political science at the University of Tampere, the likely impact of the Finns in the upcoming European elections in May. He argues that European elections in Finland tend to be candidate-focused and the decision of the “charismatic leader” of the Finns, Timo Soini, not to stand, may have a negative effect on the party’s performance. Mr Raunio draws attention to the economic crisis in the Eurozone which shaped the national elections in 2011, affecting national EU policy and leading to a ‘tougher stance’ on EU negotiations.

With regard to the European elections he notes that the electorate is more “concerned about the ability of MEPs to defend national and regional interests in Brussels than about wider issues related to European integration”. From this he predicts the potential winners which include the Finns, National Coalition, and the Centre Party, and losers, which are the Social Democrats.  Next month the Seldia Newsletter will present the views of a Euro-optimist. The table below is an overview on the EU elections from April to October, covering both the Parliament and the Commission.

For more information on Tapio Raunio’s blog please click here

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EU Parliament adopts report on CESL

On 26 February, the European Parliament adopted its report on the proposal for a regulation on a Common European Sales Law (CESL).  The text approved by the MEPs restricts the scope of the regulation to online contracts. The limited scope of the regulation is a good result for direct selling as Seldia has always opposed the proposed law.

CESL creates an optional legal regime for mainly B2C, cross border contracts. The idea of a single legal regime would be in principle attractive. For business it would save much costs of complying with one regime as opposed to the national regimes of 28 Member States. To consumers, it would give similar protection across the EU in case of cross-border purchases. However, CESL is only an optional regime and consumers can always fall back on the national regime, which often provides a higher level of consumer protection. As a result, companies would have to comply with the CESL and the national regime.  This would therefore introduce an administrative burden and increase costs without offering benefits of a single regime for a single market.

The next step is the proposal’s discussion at the EU Council, where the CESL has little chance of being rolled out due to concerted opposition from a large group of Member States.

To access the report please click here

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Commission makes Visa MIF commitment binding 

The Commission has made Visa Europe’s offer to cut interchange fees (MIFs) for handling transactions a legally binding commitment, which will set the Visa MIFs for credit at 0.3%. All MIFs for cross-border credit transactions on consumer cards will be set at a weighted average cap of 0.3% from 26 February 2014. This cap will be extended to 10 member states from 26 Feb 2016 (Belgium, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden). In addition, Visa is to change its rules to allow true cross-border acquiring at the cross-border rates from 1 January 2015. The commitments will stay in place for 4 years. This ruling bodes well for the MIF Regulation as it shows that the card scheme accepts the principle of caps and the removal of anti-competitive rules as proposed in the Regulation.
   
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Data Protection Proposal – EU Council progress
The Data Protection working party of the Council of the EU, which brings together representatives of the Union’s 28 Member State governments, is meeting on 31 March and 1 April to continue negotiations on the Data Protection Regulation in light of the outcome of a debate by EU Justice Ministers earlier this month. The working party meeting on 31 March is expected to focus mostly on transfers of personal data to third countries or international organisations. Member States are close to agreement on this chapter: they are expected to finalise a legal text that will prevent most international transfers of data unless the European Commission has established that the data protection rules of the third country in question offer a comparable level of protection to the EU’s legislation.In addition to next week’s working party meeting, several more sessions are expected to take place before EU Justice Ministers meet again in Brussels on 5 and 6 June to discuss the state of play. At this meeting, the Greek Presidency of the Council hopes to adopt a partial “general approach” covering the aspects of the Regulation on which the Member States have broadly reached agreement, including chapter V. This position paper would then serve as the Council’s negotiating position with the European Parliament on the final text of the legislation towards the end of 2014.
   
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EU Parliament backs standard VAT return
The European Parliament has supported the Commission’s proposal for a standard VAT return in a vote at plenary last week. According to the Commission’s estimates, it has the potential to cut costs for European businesses by €15bn per year. A standard VAT return is a step in the right direction towards cutting red-tape for businesses, easing tax compliance and making tax administrations across Europe more efficient. Ideally, the EU should have one single VAT return form. However, with different VAT systems among Member States, this is currently an unrealistic prospect. A common format for the VAT returns, in all EU languages, as stated in the proposal, will already reduce the administrative burden on companies, especially SMEs, resulting in significant cost savings and efficiency of resources. However, as the standard VAT return will become mandatory, EuroCommerce warns of significant indirect costs for companies by having to adapt their IT infrastructure and forms to comply with the new standards.
   
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European Banking Authority Consumer Report 2014
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published its annual report on consumer trends, giving an overview of the analysis carried out in the area of consumer protection and financial innovation. The report identifies the consumer issues that may arise, or have arisen, from these trends, and describes the approaches the EBA will be taking in 2014 to address them.

To access the report please click hereTo top

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Vacancy trends reveal divide in EU labour market
The latest issue of the European Vacancy Monitor (EVM) reveals a shortage of labour supply in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, while competition for jobs is increasing in countries such as Greece, Slovakia and Spain. The report also highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the recruitment markets of four Southern countries, and warns that more measures are needed to help young people find skilled jobs and, therefore, boost labour productivity. Employment opportunities in Southern Europe are concentrated in a few fields, such as health care, sales and administration.

For the latest issue of the European Vacancy Monitor please click here

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EVENTS

DSN Global – The Growth Conference
23-24 April 2014, Grapevine Texas (more information)
FVD European Commerce and Innovation Conference

2-3 April 2014, Paris (more information)
French DSA (FVD) Annual Conference
13-14 May 2014, Disneyland Paris 
UK DSA Annual Conference

15 May 2014, Northamptonshire (more information)

The European Direct Selling Conference

2 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
WfDSA World Congress XIV
10-12 November 2014, Rio de Janeiro To top      

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Our mailing address is:

Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

Add us to your address book

Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.

 

Seldia Newsletter February 2014

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Entrepreneurship Education in the EU

Women entrepreneurship is the largest unexploited source of economic growth and yet it is being neglected and sidelined. There is an urgent and real need to encourage women entrepreneurship both at governmental levels, with educational programmes and straightforward access to support mechanisms and at a societal level, with the need to boost entrepreneurial culture and make entrepreneurship an attractive, sound business option for women. 

Women currently only makeup 30% of all European entrepreneurs and supporting entrepreneurship goes beyond access to finance and will to succeed. It also embraces developing and boosting entrepreneurial spirit and skills. Thus, education and training are vital for changing cultures and igniting entrepreneurial mindsets since youngest age. Entrepreneurship education should be proposed to young girls through school curricula and at an early stage. Since March 2012 Seldia has been actively involved at EU level by promoting different facets of women entrepreneurship. With 80% of the 4.8 million direct sellers in the EU being women, the Direct Selling industry has been recognized as being at the forefront when it comes to promoting entrepreneurship amongst policymakers.  

At the latest Seldia EU Parliament event on 25 September 2013, keynote speaker EU Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding highlighted that: “Entrepreneurship Education is the very key on how to succeed. It must be a gradual approach on how we change old-fashioned societal values. Intensifying our efforts in Entrepreneurship education will naturally lead to more women entrepreneurs.”

On 20 March Seldia is organizing the next luncheon debate in the European Parliament on the importance of Entrepreneurship Education for Women Entrepreneurs. The event will be hosted by Member of the European Parliament Dr. Paul Ruebig, who himself is closely involved both in the Direct Selling industry and recently published a book on women entrepreneurship. The event will feature several speakers, amongst them WfDSA Executive Director Tamuna Gabilaia who will highlight best practices from the Direct Selling industry in the United States and around the world.

Seldia members will receive invitations by e-mail. If you are not a Seldia member please contact seldia@seldia.eu to receive more information to this event. It is as always free of charge and open to all interested persons.

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INDUSTRY NEWS


SELDIA CEO’s Council meets in Amsterdam
The Seldia European CEO Council met on 18 February in the stunning offices of ACN Europe in Amsterdam. With 15 European CEO’s of Seldia Corporate Members present, the meeting allowed participants to network and discuss on direct selling trends in Europe.  During the meeting the Seldia Action Plan was endorsed and the CEO’s encouraged the association to continue with its lobbying policy in promoting direct selling and defend its interests at EU level.The next European CEO Council meeting will take place in March 2015 in Munich.

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French DSA Professional Qualifications Video

In 2013 the French DSA (FVD – Fédération de la Vente Directe) created and issued a professional qualifications programme targeted at direct sellers and managers from its member companies. These professional qualifications allow for better recognition of Direct Selling ethics, jobs and skills in France. 

The FVD has now created a promotional video on these professional qualifications. Several candidates from different member companies explain their interest and desire to get a professional qualification in Direct Selling through the FVD. The association organized the first exam sessions in October and November last at CPRO Stephenson in Paris, a  Centre renowned for training apprentices in commercial business lines.

To see the video click here
Website of the FVD

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UK DSA Event: Introduction to Direct Selling
The UK DSA is organizing an event aimed at professionals that want to launch a Direct Sales Business in the UK or are planning to expand their existing operations. The event features a panel of renowned long standing Direct Sales experts and will take place in London on 13 March. 

For more information or to register to the event click here

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Support the Polish DSA in collecting signatures
If you are involved with Direct Selling in Poland or are simply based in Poland and you are a friend of Direct Selling, then we urge you to support the Polish Direct Selling Association with their project on a Civic Legislative Initiative for the establishment of 17 October to become the Polish National Day of Direct Selling.

For more information and to support this initiative click here

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Infringement procedure against Austria

Seldia has recently learned that the European Commission has initiated a formal infringement procedure on Austria’s non-compliance with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD). in November 2011 Seldia filed a complaint with the EU Commission on Austria’s ban on direct selling of cosmetics products. The infringement in now in course, mainly due to Austria’s unwillingness to lift the ban, which is in breach with the UCPD. The full harmonization nature of this EU directive makes it illegal for EU member states to ban or restrict direct selling. The primary goal of the infringement proceedings is not to reach the Court or sanction the State, but rather to give the Member State concerned an opportunity either to justify its position or, if it so wishes, to comply of its own accord with the requirements of the Treaty. The formal infringement procedure is one of the cornerstones of the mechanism which enables the Union to guarantee that the common rules set by EU law are respected by the Member States. In this respect, it indeed reflects the specificity of the Union’s legal system enabling the Union interests enshrined in the Treaty to prevail over the inertia and resistance of Member States, and ensure that obligations of States are fulfilled. The infringement procedure against Austria on its non compliance with the UCPD is likely to become a lengthy process, however, a very important step in the right direction has finally been made. 

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WFDSA World Congress 2014 in Brazil
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has chosen Brazil to be the host of the 14th World Congress, entitled “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

Brazil is well known for both its friendly, open and extremely diverse people, and peaceful and creative coexistence of different ethnicities and cultures. The conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro between November 10th and 12th, 2014.

In the 14th WFDSA World Congress the following topics will be discussed:

  • New Technologies
  • Quality of relationships
  • Entrepreneurs and the new labor
  • Industry’s Advocacy
  • New markets, new opportunities
Registration will open on 1 February. Early Bird rates available only to companies associated to at least one Direct Selling Association affiliated to the WFDSA.Website of the World Congress XIV

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Did you know that…

Seldia was precursor in the area of self-regulation ?  In 1982, Seldia (then called FEDSA) published the “Principles of Conduct for direct selling businesses in Europe”, a text which would be the basis for the European Codes of Conduct of Direct Selling which were launched at the Forum for Self Regulation in Brussels in 1995 and with the official endorsement of the European Commission.

The European Code’s of Conduct set out the highest standards of ethics for direct selling companies that are members of the 27 national member DSAs of Seldia. The Code is a result of the direct selling industry’s commitment to ethical business and consumer protection practices, as well as its determination to ensure equal and consistent codes throughout the European Union.

Members of Seldia, representing directly and indirectly around 80% of the EU Direct Selling market, are obliged to adopt the standards of the European Code in their national codes. Companies that are member of a Seldia member association, are bound by the European Code throughout the European Union, independent of whether they are a member of a local DSA in other EU markets.

For more information click here

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EU AT A GLANCE

European Parliament Elections Forecast 

On 19 February EU polling institute “Pollwatch” held opinion polls on the upcoming European Parliament elections. Surprisingly the results turned out to favour the European Social Democrats group. If accurate, it would be a stunning defeat for the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), which has dominated the last four legislatures and currently has a 274 to 194 seat advantage over the Socialists. Recent political developments in the six largest EU Member States also point towards stronger support for the social democrat camp. Italy’s new centre-left led government will influence the opinion polls, while the polling in the UK already is pointing towards a victory for the opposition Labour party.

Pollwatch has assessed that while the Social Democrats group may be in the run for a surprise victory, their number of seats in the EU Parliament will not increase by much. One major and troubling reason is a general rise in Eurosceptic right-wing parties to nearly 100 seats, which has raised serious concerns that the Parliament may find it difficult to pass new legislation. Pollwatch calculated that the EPP, Socialists and Liberal (ALDE) groups strength will fall from its current 72 percent level down to 65. For Brussels and Europe this is not good news. These new Eurosceptic right wing MEPs will come at the cost of those formerly with liberal ALDE group and may then even take over the role of the so-called “swing vote” – either siding with the EPP or the S&D on critical dossiers.

However, with around 90 days to go, the outcome of the vote is too close to call this far from the elections. For more information on when the different national elections are taking place and by when you have to register, click on the infographic below.

For more interesting information on the EU elections we recommend the following website: www.elections2014.eu

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Seldia attends ECC-Net Event 2014
On 19 February Seldia attended the yearly event that brings together the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) representatives. Taking place in Brussels, it allowed for EU policy makers from the EU Parliament, the Commission as well as business representatives to take stock of this organisation’s activities and to network. At the event, the Commission reported that the ECC-Net dealt with over 80,000 enquiries in 2013 from citizens across Europe. EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica described this as a “valuable contribution to the Single Market which benefits people who need it most”.

Around a third of all complaints concerned the transport sector. The largest hare concerned air transport (18.3%); however car rental is attracting an ever increasing number of complaints. The other top complaints received by the ECCs related to household equipment, problems related to the purchase of tickets for sporting and cultural events and time-share. Just over 15% of the problems registered concerned the non-delivery of the purchased product or service and another 12% of the complaints cited defects in their purchase. 

Seldia regularly visits the national ECC-Net offices when travelling abroad. They are useful contacts as they are able to provide valuable information on cross border consumer protection issues. In the Czech Republic for example, the Czech ECC-Net communicated that in 2012 they received a total of 429 complaints, out of which only 10 complaints concerned doorstep selling or off-premises sales.

Background
The ECC-Net is a European network giving European citizens consumer advice in cross-border problems, for example while travelling in another country or e-shopping. The ECC-Net covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), consumers residing in one of these countries and shopping in another one can benefit from their services free of charge. The ECC-Net is co-funded by the EU Consumer Programme and by national authorities.
For more information on ECC-Net click here

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EU Parliament adopts report on UCPD

On 4 February Seldia welcomed the adoption by the EU Parliament of its Own-Initiative Report on the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. Seldia congratulated the rapporteur, French MEP Robert Rochefort on a very good report which highlights some of the key challenges that the directive is currently facing. The transposition of the Directive has not been an easy and smooth process and there are still serious problems as regards the proper implementation and enforcement across the EU. The EU Parliament correctly highlights these shortcomings and encourages the EU Commission and national authorities to now focus on correct implementation and proper enforcement. 

   
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Hungarian retail tax ruled as discriminatory

On 5 February, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling in the national case of ‘Hervis’ against ‘Hungary’ about the ‘Hungarian legislation on the special retail tax’. The Hungarian Court had posed a question about the alleged discriminatory nature of the tax to the ECJ. The ECJ says in its judgment the tax indeed has a discriminative element: companies interlinked in an international group pay more taxes than local companies. The Hungarian Court will now continue the case with the preliminary ruling of the ECJ and will have to work out the case now. Retail companies that claim to have suffered damages and seek redress can await the final judgment of the Hungarian court, but in any case they have to start an own legal procedure in Hungary to get redress.

For the ECJ preliminary ruling click here

   
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EC launches consultations on fragrance allergens
The European Commission launches consultations on fragrance allergens, which will run from 13.2.2014 until 14.5.2014. Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products (‘Cosmetics Regulation’) provides that perfume, aromatic compositions and their raw materials shall be referred to in the list of ingredients on the packaging as ‘parfum’ or ‘aroma’. However, 26 fragrance allergens listed in Annex III of the Cosmetics Regulation shall be mentioned in the list of ingredients in addition to the term ‘parfum’ or ‘aroma’, if their concentration exceeds 0.001% in leave-on products and 0.01% in rinse-off products. Moreover, Annex II lists substances which are prohibited in cosmetic products, including some fragrance allergens. Any interested parties, including authorities of the Member States, manufacturers of cosmetic products, producers of the substances concerned and relevant industry and consumers associations can take part in this public consultation.

For more information please click here

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EVENTS

An Introduction to Direct Selling – UK DSA
13 March 2014, London (more information)
EU Parliament Event on Entrepreneurship Education
20 March 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)

DSN Global – The Growth Conference

23-24 April 2014, Grapevine Texas (more information)
UK DSA Annual Conference

15 May 2014

Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling

2 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
WfDSA World Congress XIV
10-12 November 2014, Rio de Janeiro To top      

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Our mailing address is:

Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

Add us to your address book

Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.

 

Seldia Newsletter January 2014

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Eventful year for Europe and DS Industry

For the Direct Selling Industry, 2014 will be a particularly eventful year with new EU consumer legislation coming into force and with the European Union institutions being re-shuffled. 

A new cornerstone of EU law – the Consumer Rights Directive – will be in force as of 14 June and will for the first time harmonize and strengthen consumer rights of over 500 million consumers that are spread across the 28 Member states of the European Union. Seldia and its members have worked long on this piece of legislation as it directly affects contracts concluded outside fixed businesses premises and requires that DS companies adapt their order forms. For the industry it is a big step forward as it creates harmonized and transparent rules that will strengthen the relationship between the direct sellers, their customer base and new potential customers. 

Similarly, the new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) directive will come into force in 2015, but businesses will be adapting to it in 2014. This EU law will further strengthen the European Codes of Conduct of Direct Selling as Seldia and the member association’s code administrators will be formally recognized by the European Union as official ADR bodies. Consumers will have easier access to the industry’s redress mechanism and this will have an overall positive effect on the direct selling business. Seldia will also further deepen its relations with the European Consumer Centre Network, which are playing an increasingly important role.

In 2014 the European Commission will also revise directives that are key to the functioning of the DS industry. On one hand the EC will continue to pressure Member States to fully comply with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive – a key directive through which specific restrictions and bans on direct selling will be lifted. Similarly, the Misleading and Commercial Advertising directive, as well as the Commercial Agent’s directive are currently being looked into.

Both Europe and the U.S. will enter more in depth negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The deal is estimated to boost the EU’s economy by €120 billion, the US economy by €90 billion and the rest of the world by €100 billion. As the months progress, Seldia will continue to advocate the interests of the industry within this trade agreement. 

Finally, the EU Parliament elections and the new EU Commission and its new President will bring fresh faces and ideas to the EU capital. With a hopeful and positive outlook on economic recovery, all these developments point to a year of consolidation and further growth for both Europe and the Direct Selling Industry.

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EUROPEAN DIRECT SELLING

Seldia EP Event on Entrepreneurship Education
On 20 March 2014 Seldia is organizing a lunch debate in the European Parliament in the framework of its Women Entrepreneurship Platform. The event will for the first time be hosted by a man, namely Austrian MEP Dr. Paul Rübig. Paul Rübig has been a member of the European Parliament since 1996 and belongs to the European People’s Party (EPP). He is the owner of an Austrian blacksmith company and has a degree in Business administration, marketing and production engineering from the University of Linz, Upper Austria. Paul Rübig is very active in the field of the small-scale business promotion, regularly attends events in Austria on direct selling and is very familiar with the industry. He is president of SME Global, a working group of the International Democrat Union (IDU), whose objective it is to support SMEs and to improve their business environment. 

Seldia’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) initiative was called into life in early 2013 to promote entrepreneurship and more particularly female entrepreneurship on EU level. The WEP currently counts 21 official MEP supporters and 25 partner organisations. In the framework of this platform and together with Paul Rübig, Seldia will invite prominent speakers and discuss with stakeholders from the EU scene “the importance of entrepreneurship education”. 

The website of the WEP can be found here

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New Agreement between FVD and Pole Emploi

After the signing of a first successful agreement in September 2010, the French Direct Selling Association (FVD) and the national authority for employment centers “Pôle emploi” signed a new three-year agreement in December 18, 2013 on the occasion of the General Assembly of the FVD . This new agreement is in the spirit of “Pôle emploi 2015”, to promote new employment opportunities for thousands of people through promoting trades such as for example Direct Selling which may not yet be known by everyone. This agreement is a true recognition of the direct selling sector, whose dynamism in terms of recruitment and business development is well established in France.
In the agreement the French DSA commits to :
– Favor the recruitment of people who are the most affected by unemployment (people from 18 to 25 years old, people over 50, people without a diploma , women and people with disabilities);
– Participate to job fairs to promote direct selling opportunities towards the unemployed and people in retraining.
– To provide to its member companies’ sales force appropriate and sustainable support

“Pole Emploi” commits to:
– Inform job seekers about job opportunities offered by the Direct Selling industry ;
– Encourage its Regional Directorates to develop a partnership with local correspondents of the French DSA ;
– Promote the profile of job seekers who are interested in direct selling towards member companies of the French DSA

Furthermore, on 17 December the French DSA a trophy for excellence in “managerial action” from Pierre Gattaz, president of the MEDEF (the largest union of employers in France). The prize rewards businesses of less than 500 employees which are members of the MEDEF. The French DSA received the prize “Network” for its “Direct Selling Academy” which consists of distance learning tools for distributors. 

Website of the French DSA

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AVEDISCO membership grows

With the beginning of the new year, AVEDISCO, the Italian Direct Selling Association increased its corporate membership through the acquisition of three new member companies: 4Life Research Italy Srl, Evergreen Life and Xango Products Italy Srl. “We are proud to have these companies as members, it is another milestone for our association, which is the reference point for companies that operate in the direct selling industry for over forty years – Said Giovanni Paolino, president of AVEDISCO.Website of AVEDISCO

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Danish DSA launches new website

Recently elected Chairman of the Danish DSA Ms. Mette Henius has re-launched the website of the association. The webpage is going to be further developed in the next couple of month and will include videos, articles and surveys.
Furthermore, the three Scandinavian DSA’s have each launched a new DSA logo. Their logos have the same look and feel, each with their own national colors and local name. The new logos reflect a timeless design and are a result of one of the common projects within the three DSAs.

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New Seldia Supplier Member: 
Hyväheimo AB

Hyväheimo AB helps Direct Selling companies to expand in Europe and to build positive corporate cultures. Full market opening services, events management, training and with a specialty in high performance coaching and career mentoring. Personal development is not only for the sales force – Hyväheimo can help to bring out the best in direct selling managers at all levels and develop young, ambitious talent to really shine in your organisation. Website of Hyväheimo

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New Seldia Supplier Member: DB Schenker

DB Schenker, a world leading provider of logistics services, has a specific focus on the direct selling industry. DB Schenker understands the specific needs of the industry and has customized EMEA & Russia wide solutions to manage your complete logistics operations. With warehouses throughout Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Kenya and Nigeria, with existing direct selling business cases they offer: Warehousing services, Fulfillment services, Co-packing / manufacturing, Parcel carrier management, Local sourcing.

With great commitment DB Schenker will help you manage your supply chain smoothly, cost efficiently and against the best industry standards.Website of DB Schenker

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WFDSA World Congress 2014 in Brazil
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has chosen Brazil to be the host of the 14th World Congress, entitled “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”.

Brazil is well known for both its friendly, open and extremely diverse people, and peaceful and creative coexistence of different ethnicities and cultures. The conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro between November 10th and 12th, 2014.

In the 14th WFDSA World Congress the following topics will be discussed:

  • New Technologies
  • Quality of relationships
  • Entrepreneurs and the new labor
  • Industry’s Advocacy
  • New markets, new opportunities
Registration will open on 1 February. Early Bird rates available only to companies associated to at least one Direct Selling Association affiliated to the WFDSA.Website of the World Congress XIV

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EU AT A GLANCE

Greek Presidency official inauguration in Athens

On 8 January 2014, the official inauguration of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first semester of 2014, took place in Athens. The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias as well as Prime Minister Samaras and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos welcomed both President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. Amongst the Greek Presidency priorities announced, there are measures to boost growth, jobs and social cohesion and tackling the crisis in the eurozone, completing the new EMU architecture, measures to control immigration flows and finally, promoting marine and maritime activities in a sustainable way in order to boost the EU economy.

To read more about the Greek Presidency priorities, please click here

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EU Parliament adopts Consumer Programme

On 14 January the European Parliament  formally adopted the EU’s Consumer Programme 2014-2020 by a large majority. The programme focuses on the funding of actions in four different categories:

  • Monitoring and enforcing safety through EU-wide systems such as RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products;
  • Information and education initiatives to make consumers, particularly young consumers, aware of their rights. One example is the Consumer Markets Scoreboard which maps out the markets that fail consumers in Europe;
  • Enhancing consumer rights, for example the Consumer Credit Directive ensures that consumers across Europe enjoy a common set of core rights. It also includes the electronic translation tool of the online dispute resolution platform. This will help consumers resolve online cross-border disputes with traders in other Member States where there are linguistic barriers.
  • Enforcement action through ‘sweeps’ operations, which are co-ordinated by the European Commission to see where consumer rights are being compromised or denied.

For more information on the Consumer Programme 2014-2020, please click here

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Possible revision of Commercial Agent’s Directive
The European Commission is currently assessing the need for a review of Directive 86/653/EEC on the coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents. This Directive sets down rights and obligations between self-employed commercial agents and their principle, including provisions on issues like remuneration and terms of termination of contract.

This directive is important to direct selling because many of the 4.5 million direct sellers in the European Union have the status of commercial agent. EuroCommerce, the umbrella organisation for the distribution sector recently met with the responsible European Commission services, who said that all options are open, from not changing the directive, amending it, to a complete repeal of the directive.  EuroCommerce has established a small expert group, of which Seldia has become a member, to provide the European Commission with data and a position.  

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Additional six months for SEPA migration
On 9 January 2014, the European Commission published a proposal introducing an extra transition period of six months during which payments which differ from the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) format can still be accepted in order to guarantee minimal disruption for consumers and businesses. According to EU Regulation 260/2012 (SEPA Regulation) all Businesses active in the Eurozone are required to migrate to the SEPA payments system this year. The initial deadline was set at 1 February 2014. However, due to an unsatisfactory level of migration, the EU Commission has decided to propose a regulation that extends the deadline by another six months. The proposal is very likely to be adopted. 

To access more information about the SEPA, please click here

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Latvia introduces the Euro

Latvia replaced its previous currency, the lats, with the euro on 1 January 2014, after a European Union (EU) assessment in June 2013 asserted that the country had met all convergence criteria necessary for euro adoption. The adoption process began 1 May 2004, when Latvia joined the European Union, entering the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union.Many Latvians opposed the introduction of the new currency and over 80 percent believe that the euro will lead to higher prices, according to a separate study by the European Commission.

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EP report on social protection for Self-Employed
Following the vote on 16 January, the European Parliament published the full text of its new report on social protection for self-employed workers.

For the report please click here

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EP report on UCPD
IMCO adopted on 17 December its implementation report on Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices (UCPD), concluding that it needs to be better applied rather than revised. The report calls on the Member States to apply the rules properly in order to protect consumers from misleading advertising or aggressive marketing, insists that adequate penalties should be imposed on companies, and requests that the guidance document is updated regularly by the Commission in order to reflect new practices appearing on the market.

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Eurostat publications

Eurostat: Unemployment

Eurostat published on 8 January 2014 the EU and euro area unemployment rates for November 2013. The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in November 2013, stable since April. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable since May. In both zones, the rates increased compared with November 2012.
To access this publication, please click here.

Eurostat: Retail trade
On 8 January 2014 Eurostat published that both the EU28 and the Euro Area volumes of retail trade went up by 1.2% and 1.4% respectively in November 2013.
To access this publication, please click here.

Eurostat: Inflation
On 7 January 2014, Eurostat stated that the Euro area annual inflation was expected to be 0.8% in December 2013, down from 0.9% in November, according to a flash estimate.
To access this publication, please click here

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EVENTS

An Introduction to Direct Selling – UK DSA
13 March 2014, London (more information)
European Consumer Centre-Net Evening

18 February 2014, Brussels
EU Parliament Event on Entrepreneurship Education
20 March 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
UK DSA Annual Conference

15 May 2014

Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling

2 October 2014, Brussels (SELDIA)
WfDSA World Congress XIV
10-12 November 2014, Rio de Janeiro To top      

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Seldia Newsletter December 2013

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You are subscribed to the European Direct Selling Association’s Newsletter

December 2013
Newsletter

Check our website!

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direct selling, please visit us at:

www.seldia.eu

Dear Friends of Direct Selling,2013 has been a solid and steady year for the Direct Selling industry, as we have once more been able to report a year of growth amidst difficult economic times. For us in Brussels, the Irish and Lithuanian EU Council Presidencies have guided the EU in a steady fashion and we look forward to working with the upcoming Greek and Italian Presidencies in what will be an exciting next phase in European Union history. 2014 will be a year full of changes, with new laws on Consumer Rights and on self regulation coming into force and with the reshuffling of the political landscape with the elections of a new European Parliament and for the first time an elected EU Commission President.

Best wishes for 2014,

Maurits Bruggink
Seldia Executive Director

Industry News

Herbalife wins legal case in Belgium
On 2 December, Seldia member company Herbalife won a legal case in appeal against Belgian consumer organization “Test Achat” that accused the company of operating a pyramid scheme. In its ruling, the Appeal Court applied a provision in Belgian law, which is the transposition of the pyramid clause in the European Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD). The ruling, although only having effect in Belgium, may therefore be an orientation for possible future rulings in Europe involving the UCPD.

The case in first instance was lost by Herbalife, but the company identified a number of factual errors in the ruling and appealed. The main conclusion of the Appeal Court is that the company operates a legal retail-wholesale business based on sales of products to consumers. Like all other direct selling companies, the company has operating provisions that avoid products from staying within the distribution network, like generous buy-back guarantees. This was illustrated by the fact that the consumer organization was unable to submit to the Court any complaint of a distributor.

The ruling is important to the entire direct selling industry as it clarifies the solid legal environment in which direct selling companies operate. Furthermore it undermines recent investor speculations against listed direct selling companies. 

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Global Direct Selling survey for 2014
The WFDSA-Seldia global direct selling survey to report on 2013 data will be launched on 14th of January 2014.  Objectives of this survey are to size the global direct selling industry, quantify direct sellers in segments and collect data on the socio-economic impact of direct selling.  WFDSA’s aim is to announce final results of the survey by May 31, 2014.  DSAs and companies will be invited to join in a webinar on 16 & 17 January during which the process and objectives of the survey will be outlined and all questions will be answered.   

We count on all and everyone’s participation!

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French DSA enters new Partnerships
On 29 November, the French DSA signed a collaboration protocol with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, in the presence of Minister Geneviève Fioraso, the University’s Conference of Presidents and the Conference of French Engineering schools. This partnership will enable the French DSA to pursue its ground breaking collaboration in integrating direct selling within higher education programs even further. 

Furthermore, on 5 December, the French DSA signed an agreement with the regional employment center for Upper Normandy in the presence of the regional French DSA president. This agreement aims at encouraging and facilitating the access to direct selling for the unemployed.

Website of the FVD

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Italy reports strong growth in Direct Selling
The data collected by Istat from the 35 member companies of the Italian DSA AVEDISCO for the period of January until September 2013, reconfirms further growth of the Italian direct selling sector: a total turnover of nearly  € 585 million and with 316 394 persons in charge of sales, showing an increase of + 3.47% and +18.52% compared to the same period last year. Nearly 50,000 more people have chosen to rely on this business model to achieve professional growth. These results are in sharp contrast with the performance of traditional retailing today, based on Istat data, attests a decline in sales of 2.3%. 

The leading product category is food and nutrition, producing a turnover of more than € 227 million, representing an increase of 14 million compared to the same period of 2012. The second largest product category are ” cosmetics and fashion accessories ” with around  € 202 million turnover. Giovanni Paolino, president of AVEDISCO stated: “Our ongoing commitment is to retain our partners, whether they are in charge of sales or consumers. Professionalism and quality are the key words that drive the protagonists of the direct sale of our Associates. Our goal is continuous improvement to increase the standard of our offer, ensuring safe products and personalized services.”

Website of AVEDISCO

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Personnel Changes in Spanish and Italian DSA’s
Juan Turró will step down as Executive Director of the Spanish DSA as of 1st of January 2014.  As a consequence Juan Turró resigned from his positions in the Seldia Board of Directors and in the Ethics Committee.  The new General Secretary of the Spanish DSA will be Agustín Roqué from Grupo Bonmacor, a leader company in managing projects for associations and corporate collectives and has years of international experience, including in the foodstuff area.  (www.avd.es)

In Italy, Giorgio Giuliani, Honorary Chairman of Avedisco, the Italian DSA and member of  the Seldia Board of Directors, will retire at the end of this year and has consequently resigned from his position in the Seldia Board of Directors.  (www.avedisco.it)

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EU AT A GLANCE

Implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive  
Friday 13 December 2013 marked the official  deadline for Member States to introduce the European Union’s Consumer Rights Directive into national law. The EU legislation will strengthen consumers’ rights in all 28 EU countries. The new rules will for example ensure an EU-wide withdrawal period of 14 days meaning that consumers can return goods for whatever reason if they change their minds. Direct Selling companies and distributors will have to adapt their order forms to a newly harmonized European model.

The European Commission put forward the proposal for a new set of consumer rights in October 2008. Following agreement on the legislation in 2011, governments have had two years to implement the rules at national level and should by today have done so. So far around half of the 28 Member States have already fully implemented the directive or merely require a last formal legislative approval. To Seldia’s knowledge these countries are: The Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. For the Member States that have missed the deadline, the most important is that the laws enter into force before 13 June 2014, if this deadline is missed again – the directive will automatically apply.

While it is a full harmonization directive, it is also a complex piece of legislation that in some countries is transposed into different existing national laws and with certain elements being left to the discretion of Member states to set. Seldia, European DSA’s as well as the European Commission are therefore closely monitoring the implementation of this directive. 

EU Commission monitoring of CRD Implementation, click here

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ECC Report on Enhanced Consumer Protection
The European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) published a report on “Enhanced Consumer Protection – the Services Directive 2006/123/EC, Analysis of Article 20.2 and Article 21 related consumer complaints reported to ECC-Net between 2010 and 2012”. The report is by examining situations in which consumers are confronted with different treatment or refusal to provide a service, seeking to analyse business practices observed and gather guidelines as to what may be deemed to be an objective justification for the application of different treatment.

The main objectives of the report are threefold:
– Analyse work done by ECC-Net under Article 21 and the main problem areas under Article 20.2of the Services Directive;
– Alert enforcement authorities about problems relating to the Services Directive, especially possible breaches of Article 20.2;
– Raise awareness of the protections offered to consumers under the Services Directive.

Around 74% of the complaints concerning services received by the ECC’s related to situations where consumers faced a difference in price or service when buying online goods (music, books, etc.). 21% of the
complaints related to services in the tourism industry and the remaining 5% was in the rental and leasing services sector.

The report can be found here
For more information, click here 

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EU Parliament Report on UCPD
Over the course of the last six months Seldia supported Members of the European Parliament in their drafting of an own initiative (non-legislative) report on the application of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. A “cornerstone” directive of the EU, the UCPD is as we know an important piece of EU legislation for the Direct Selling sector and all other sectors involved in business to consumer commercial practices. 

On 17 December the own initiative report on the application of the UCPD was approved by and underwent a series of votes in the Internal Market committee of the European Parliament where amendments proposed by different political groups were voted into the text or rejected. Two amendments concerned the notion of whether or not “doorstep selling and off-premises sales” should be highlighted as particularly problematic. Seldia engaged in a successful advocacy campaign which resulted in the rejection of these amendments, on the basis that the EU should focus on unfair practices in all sectors rather than stigmatizing one in particular. 

Amongst several conclusions, the consolidated text of the report calls on the EU Commission not to extend the scope of the directive to Business-to-business practices, to issue another report on the directive’s implementation in two years time and for Member States to focus on the correct implementation and enforcement. 

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EU Product Safety Package 
On 2 December 2013 the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency presented a progress report on Consumer Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package to the Competitiveness Council.  At this stage it is clear that the first informal trialogue negotiations between the Council, Commission and EU Parliament will be held next year during the Greek Council Presidency.

Concerning the Consumer Product Safety Regulation, the most important issues during the negotiations will be the country of origin marking, the “EU Safety Tested” marking, obligations for economic operators and penalties which are linked with the negotiations on the Market Surveillance Regulation. Other than the question of penalties, the introduction of a Pan-European Injuries Database, functioning of RAPEX and ICSMS databases, as well as the activities and evaluation of market surveillance authorities will be the most contentious issues in the Market Surveillance Regulation.

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EU to tackle Youth Unemployment
The European Commission has published a memo with details on the EU measures taken so far to tackle youth unemployment. With 5.6 million young people unemployed in the EU-28 area in September 2013, more than one in five young Europeans on the labour market cannot find a job (one in two in Greece and Spain). The memo, in particular, focuses on the European Social Fund and the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and coincided with a High-level Conference on Youth Employment in Europe, the second EU summit on youth employment to take place in four months. At the first summit, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to devote at least €6 billion over the next two years to create a “youth job guarantee” that will ensure that no-one under 25 spends more than four months without work or training.

EU Commission Memo
EU Youth Guarantee Strategy

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WTO Success in Bali

At the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Bali on 3-6 December trade ministers from 159 countries reached an agreement on a series of issues that could constitute a first step towards concluding the Doha Round (the Doha Development Agenda – DDA). “The WTO is back on track. Today’s deal will rebuild business trust and confidence in the multilateral trading system. Ten years after the failure of Cancún, the WTO has finally demonstrated its capacity to deliver,” commented Ralph Kamphöner, EuroCommerce Director for International Trade and Adviser to the European Commission in Bali.

The simplification and harmonisation of global customs procedures is a vital building block for economic growth and development. Trade Facilitation is the simplest, most regulatory efficient way to recover economic performance and generate wealth creation for the good of all societies, regardless of location or region. The Agreement on Trade Facilitation offers a key and significant boost for the global trading community during these critical economic times. It also helps poorer countries in achieving their customs reforms.

Quoted in the Financial Times, Christian Verschueren, Director-General of Euro-Commerce said: “This is a good day for Europe and the world economy. We will now see quicker and more simplified border procedures, acting as a catalyst for trade, growth and jobs. The Trade Facilitation Agreement is a win-win-win deal.”

Ministerial Declaration
Agreement on Trade Facilitation

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EU to start accession talks with Serbia

On 17 December, the EU Member States have given their green light to launch accession talks with Serbia in reward for its change in its foreign-policy earlier this year when it normalised relations with Kosovo. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that this was an important development for the entire region. EU Foreign Affairs Council chair and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius added that an accession conference will be held soon. It is likely that first talks will already be held in January 2014. EU Enlargement Commissioenr Stefan Fuele stated that the upcoming Greek EU presidency plans to organise the first Serbian accession conference on 21 January.

Serbia, along with five EU countries, does not recognise Kosovo, which declared independence in 2007. But Kosovar and Serb leaders agreed a landmark deal in April to co-operate on day-to-day issues, including to dismantle paramilitary groups in Kosovar Serb enclaves. Fuele noted that the EU is also in talks with Kosovo on an association agreement – a precursor to future accession.

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EU – Turkey accession talks restarted

On 16 December EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom and Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu signed the “re-admission” treaty at a ceremony in Ankara. When it is ratified by both sides, it will oblige Turkey to take back irregular migrants who enter the EU from its territory. During the meeting Malmstrom and Davutoglu also launched talks on future visa-free travel, which the EU had tied to the re-admission deal. Malmstrom noted that relations took “a significant step forward.” The re-admission ceremony comes one month after the EU and Turkey restarted accession talks following a three-and-a-half-year break.

Albeit the progress, analysts are less optimistic about the re-launching of accession talks as both the EU and Turkey will internally be dealing with major political changes throughout 2014, with the European Parliament elections and the Turkish presidential elections coming up. 

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EVENTS

The new rules on Distance Selling in France and Belgium
   19 December 2013, Brussels (University of Leuven Seminar)
UK DSA Annual Conference
   15 May 2014, Brussels To top      

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

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Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.

 

Seldia Newsletter November 2013

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November 2013
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Seldia visits future Greek EU Presidency 

On 18 and 19 November a Seldia delegation visited Athens in the framework of the rotating EU Council Presidency which will be chaired by Greece from 1 January until 31 June 2014. Seldia was warmly welcomed by the members of the Hellenic Direct Selling Association on Monday morning at a meeting which aimed at briefing Seldia on the domestic issues. Despite Greece still suffering under the consequences of the financial crisis, Members reported that their business have experienced further growth due to the industry’s popularity and its exceptional resilience to the crisis.

With Greek Ministry officials chairing the EU Council working groups in Brussels, it was important to meet with them beforehand to discuss several specific dossiers that Seldia actively advocates on at EU level. At the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness, Seldia met with the officials responsible for key Consumer policy dossiers such as the Consumer Rights Directive, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution. At the Minsitry’s Trade section Seldia was welcomed by the Trade in Services team that will be chairing the Brussels-based Trade Policy Committees on the transatlantic trade agreement between the EU and the United States (TTIP). At the Ministry of Health, Seldia met with the relevant officials to  discuss the recent proposal for a new law that should partly liberalize the sale of food supplements outside of pharmacies. 

Seldia also met with specialists of the United States Embassy and the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce to highlight to them the European and domestic issues faced by the Direct Selling industry. Very open and constructive talks were also held with the Green Consumer Ombudsman body, the European Consumer Centre and the main national consumer organization. While there have been some issues with rogue traders, these bodies all underlined the solid reputation and conduct of Seldia corporate members. Finally, Seldia also met with a postgraduate business school and a woman entrepreneurship organization to find ways in which to collaborate on projects where Direct Selling can be promoted in the framework of entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship in particular.

Having won the Direct Selling Association of the Year Award in Brussels on 1 October, it was clear from the visit that the Direct Selling Industry in Greece is in strong hands. Thank you to all HDSA members for their warm welcome

Website of the Hellenic Direct Selling Association

Industry News

New Consumer Protection Act in Turkey
Turkey is one of the largest European markets, with over 830’000 persons having been involved in Direct Selling in 2012. On 7 November the Turkish National Assembly passed with unanimous consent a new law which introduces the new Consumer Protection Act (and revises the one that had been in effect since 1995). This can be considered as a milestone for the Turkish Direct Selling industry. The revised Act will come into effect six months after being published in the Official Gazette.

The new legislation is significant for the industry on several points. For the first time, provisions that clearly define what a pyramid scheme is, have been adopted. The law declares such schemes as illegal under any circumstances and specifies that those initiating or running a pyramid scheme will be prosecuted under Turkish Criminal Law. This new provision will aid combating pyramid schemes much more effectively, as in the past the lack of a specific wording in the law made it more difficult for authorities to effectively deal with pyramid schemes. 

The new law also increases the cooling-off period from seven days to fourteen days and thus adapts to the EU’s Consumer Rights Directive. Furthermore it is stipulated that, sales agreements can only be made by the sellers that have been authorized by the Ministry of Customs and Trade and have to be in written to be valid.

For a detailed overview of the changes that will affect Direct Selling companies please contact the Turkish Direct Selling Association or a Seldia staff member. 

Website of the Turkish DSA

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Swedish DSA celebrates Annual Gala Dinner
On 9 November the Swedish Direct Selling Association (Direkthandelns Förening) celebrated its annual gala event at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm. 

The gala event included the prestigious DF Awards ceremony. The Swedish DSA awards the best and most deserving sellers of many of its Member Companies, this year this prize was awarded to thirteen individuals. The Swedish DSA also awards the Academic Award and the DF’s Female Entrepreneurship prize which are both dotted with 50 000 Swedish crowns.

The Academic Award went to Erik Daniels and Adam Countryman for their study on “Codes of Conduct in the News Business Sector” – an exceptionally well-conducted study on companies and their Codes of Conduct. The study underlines the importance of codes of conduct but also the need to properly implement, monitor and applying them.

The Award ceremony was hosted by and presented by Anders Berglund, who this month was named Chairman and Executive Director of the Swedish DSA.

Website of the DF Gala Event
Website of the Swedish DSA

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XIV World Federation Congress in Brazil
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations has chosen Brazil to be the host of the 14th World Congress. The event will be known under the motto: “Direct Selling: The Original Social Network”. The conference will be held in Rio de Janeiro between November 10th and 12th, 2014.

In the 14th WFDSA World Congress the following topics will be discussed:

  • New Technologies
  • Quality of relationships
  • Entrepreneurs and the new labor
  • Industry’s Advocacy
  • New markets, new opportunities

The WfDSA calls this up and coming event as one of the milestones in the history of Direct Selling. Apart from having the opportunity to learn more about the thriving Brazilian market, the WfDSA has also planned a comprehensive program of social and cultural activities. Registration will be opened soon.

The new website of the World Congress can be accessed here: www.wfdsa2014rio.com

Website of the World Federation (WfDSA)

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Direct Selling Facts 
The US DSA has created a new website called “Direct Selling Facts” which aims at explaining all that Direct Selling is about, particularly to persons who may have less knowledge of the industry. The website gives useful information on the benefits, the history, the ethics and values of Direct Selling and provides users with a resourceful online media library which includes legal texts, news articles and celebrity endorsements. 

The website comes as a result of American activist investors recently targeting segments of the industry and portraying a false image of Direct Selling. 

Direct Selling Facts also features a powerful video that explains what Direct Selling is, what its advantages are and why it is so successful. The video can be accessed on the first page of the site. 

For more information on “Direct Selling Facts” visit the website

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Opinion on prohibition of home sales in Belgium

On 26 November, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice rendered his opinion in the infringement procedure of the Commission against Belgium (C-421/12) for incorrect implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD). The third part of the Commission’s claim is against the Belgian restriction on home sales with a value higher than EUR250 and the home sales of certain goods, which it believes is in violation of the UCPD.

The advocate general gave its opinion in which he recognizes the full-harmonization character of the UCPD. This means that Member States cannot introduce stricter measures, such as the Belgian home sales bans, other than under the conditions foreseen in the UCPD. One of these conditions is early notification of restrictive measures to the European Commission, which Belgium failed to do. For this reason, the home sales restrictions are in violation of the UCPD, according to the advocate general.

The opinion of the advocate general has no legal effect, but will be taken into account by the Court, who is expected to give a final ruling in this case early next year. The advocate general’s opinion is positive news for the direct selling sector, as it underlines the UCPD’s full harmonization effect and the limited possibilities of upholding any direct sales bans. Should the Court follow this opinion, Seldia will have a stronger case with respect to its actions against restrictions on direct sales in other member countries.  

The opinion can be found here.

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Article on the Future of Direct Selling
Seldia’s Chairman Magnus Brännström published an article on the Future of the Direct Selling industry in the Merc (Mercury Magazine), a Business review published by Uppsala University from where he graduated with a Law degree and an MBA.   

The article can be downloaded here.

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Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report 2013
The Amway Global Entrepreneurship report 2013 covers the period from 8/03 to 19/05 2013 and has been conducted among 26,009 women and men aged 14 to 99 from 24 countries from all over the world.  The goal of the report is to point out the economic potential of entrepreneurs in different national economies and to support the activation of potential entrepreneurs, by analyzing the attitudes of people to entrepreneurship. Here are some key findings:

● Two thirds of polled people have a positive attitude towards self-employment. For the European Union, the average percentage is relatively high, with 69% of positive attitude towards entrepreneurship (Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands have the highest percentage). Interestingly, the countries with the most negative attitude towards entrepreneurship are also found in the EU (Austria, Hungary, Portugal and Germany).

● There are clear North-South discrepancies within the European Union as far as entrepreneurship-friendliness is concerned: while northern countries are mostly entrepreneurship-friendly, southern countries struck by the crisis show strong entrepreneurship-unfriendliness.

● For Europeans, the most important aspects to start up a business are “independence from an employer” (46 %), “self-fulfillment, possibility to realize own ideas” (39 %) and “second income prospects“ (27 %).

● More than one third of the respondents in the EU could imagine to start their own business (36 %). However, there is an entrepreneurial gap of 28% between the self-employment potential (“I can imagine to start up my own business”) and the actual self-employment rate (“I am self-employed”). This entrepreneurial gap is almost as high as in the worldwide average (31 %).

● In the EU, on average, a total of 73% consider the fear of failure hindering entrepreneurial activity. The fear of financial consequences due to business failure clearly appears to be the biggest obstacle to become self-employed (43%). Social consequences such as disappointing family as well as psychological consequences like personal disappointment rank far behind financial consequences.

● Besides Japan (94%), the countries of the European Union are the most frightened of failing with an enterprise are Italy, Czech Republic (each 91%) and Greece (85%). On the contrary, the U.S. (37%), Mexico (47%) and Australia (53%) show relatively low percentages on being afraid of failing.

The report can be downloaded here.

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Did you know that…?  
In 1983 Seldia (formerly known as Fedsa) organized a European Parliament event at which the European Direct Selling Industry had dinner with the first elected President of the European Parliament, Ms. Simone Veil.

On the photo Simone Veil is portrayed next to Hans Gerber, the Association’s Chairman from 1982 to 1985.

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EU AT A GLANCE

Second Round of TTIP Negotiations concluded 

The second round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations took place on 11-15 November in Brussels. During the joint EU Commission/USTR press briefing on 15 November, the EU and US TTIP Chief Negotiators (Ignacio Garcia-Bercero and Dan Mullaney) expressed that the round had been productive and both gave an impression of enjoying good relations. Although both underlined that the negotiations were still at an early stage, satisfaction was evident in the EU’s Trade Commissioner de Gucht praising the good and steady progress. 

The second round also covered services, including aspects of cross-border services, financial services, telecommunications and e-commerce. The negotiators also began setting out their respective market access interests in various services sectors. Seldia will be meeting a second time with the relevant negotiators at the European Commission before the end of the year to further re-reinforce its position and to receive feedback on the Direct Selling industry’s call for the TTIP agreement to formally recognize Direct Selling as a specific method of distribution. 

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The EU Council block Product Safety Proposal 
On 15 November, the EU Member States rejected the mandate for trialogue negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission on the product safety package. The Member States could not find a compromise on how to deal with mandatory origin labelling. The current Lithuanian Council Presidency will continue to find a compromise ahead of the Competitiveness Council on 2 and 3 December. If no compromise is found, it is likely that the Product Safety Package will not be adopted before the European Parliament elections next year.

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Revision of EU Small Claims Procedure 

On 19 November the European Commission published a new legislative proposal to reform the existing Regulation on a European Small Claims Procedure, which applies to cross-border litigation in civil and commercial matters where the claim does not exceed €2000. The proposal, based on the findings of a separate new report on the operation of the existing Small Claims Regulation, aims to make the following changes:

· Extension of the scope of the Regulation to cross-border claims for sums up to €10.000;
· Extension of the definition of “cross-border cases”;
· Improving the use of electronic communication, including for service of certain documents.

The proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee and EU Justice Council over the coming months. The new Regulation is not expected to be adopted until after the European elections in May 2014, with a view to its entry into force by mid-2015. The Parliament’s JURI committee will appoint a Rapporteur in December this year after which a European Parliament draft report will be presented.

Proposal for a Regulation on the European Small Claims Procedure
Report on the European Small Claims Procedure

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EP Study on implementation of EU law

A recently published report from the European Parliament Policy Department sheds some light on what the current trends are regarding the transposition of EU law and what the reasons are for Member States’ failure to transpose on time. To improve monitoring and reduce the recourse to infringement procedures, the Commission has put in place measures to assist Member States with implementation. This report assesses these tools looking across the board at correlation tables, conformity checking, scoreboards and barometers, guidelines, implementation plans, networks and committees, inspection, package meetings, fitness checks, legal reviews, and reporting procedures.

To download the study click here

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Study on Discrimination of Consumers in the Digital Single Market

The University of Osnabrück conducted the study “Discrimination of Consumers in the Digital Single Market” on behalf of the European Parliament IMCO Committee. This study is analysing why consumers are discriminated when buying products cross-border online, if the discrimination is against EU legislation, what could be the solutions  for consumers to fully benefit of the digital single market, etc.

Three main practices have been identified which discriminate against consumers:refusal to sell, automatic re-routing and the unjustified application of different terms and conditions.

Art. 20  Services Directive, Brussels I Regulation, Rome I Regulation, competition and fundamental human rights provisions of the Treaty and IPR are the specific legislation being analysed. One of the conclusions is that a business is not infringing EU law by refusing to sell to a consumer in a specific country. The fundamental freedoms do not protect the consumer from the business which refuse to sell or only sells on less favourable terms.

Moreover, it mentions that you cannot force businesses to provide their services in all MS by enforcing Article 20 of the Services Directive, since this would lead to state intervention into the market which would lead to considerable limitation of the freedom of businesses.

Search engines and Price Comparison Websites play, according to the study, an important role for the creating of a non-discriminatory digital single market. Initiatives such as the Common European Sales Law and Online Dispute Resolution are seen as steps in the right direction.

The study can be downloaded here.

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Business calls for deal on Trade Facilitation
A few days ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, a large number of international Commerce and Retail Associations, amongst them EuroCommerce, signed a call upon the WTO members to finalise the deal on Trade Facilitation.

The simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures worldwide is a vital building block for economic growth and development. Trade Facilitation is the simplest, most regulatory efficient way to recover economic performance and generate wealth creation for the good of all societies, regardless of location or region.

In times of immense challenges, economic operators worldwide are waiting anxiously for negotiators to show leadership and demonstrate the ability of the World Trade Organisation to really deliver at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali.

The signatories of this call believe the consensus-driven negotiations and the progress made in the last weeks on the Draft Agreement on Trade Facilitation now have sufficient shape to be concluded and implemented, for the good of all economies. They call on all developed and emerging economies to take significant step to finalise the deal with the least possible derogations or transition periods and commit to help poorer countries in achieving their customs reforms.

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EVENTS

French DSA General Assembly & Press Conference
   18 December 2013, Paris (www.fvd.fr)
Releasing the potential of the 50+ generation
   18 December 2013, Brussels (Lunch organized by Amway Europe)
The new rules on Distance Selling in France and Belgium
   19 December 2013, Brussels (University of Leuven Seminar)To top      

 

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

To top

Our mailing address is:

Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

Add us to your address book

Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.