Capital controls continue in Cyprus. They’re getting more refined, but that could make them easier to retain. No one is having much success raising concerns about what this means for European integration.
On the other hand, if you buy a new Mercedes SL and try to register it in France, as of earlier this month, you can’t. But with that impediment to European integration, all hell breaks loose!
The backstory is that there is an EU directive mandating a switch in refrigerant in all mobile air conditioning systems away from ones that contribute excessively to global warming. Daimler objects that the emerging standard refrigerant is flammable and says that it has produced toxic fumes in crash tests. The EU says that this is a known and controllable risk.
While the standoff has been brewing for a while, the French action against cars containing Daimler’s non-conforming a/c has moved discussions into, er, overdrive, so now there will be a big EU meeting about it, says the relevant Commissioner Antonio Tajani —
In early July, the Commission was informed that France was taking temporary measures regarding the registration on their territory of some vehicles, which could be in a situation of non-conformity with (the Framework Directive and) the MAC (mobile air-conditioning) Directive.
Article 29 of the Framework Directive provides for the possibility for Member States to adopt temporary safeguard measures, if some conditions are met and a specific procedure is followed. If this procedure is triggered, the Commission may consider the French initiative within this framework.
I have requested my services to convene a meeting of the representatives of the 28 Member States to discuss the situation tomorrow, 17 July. I invite Member States to assist the Commission in finding concrete and urgent solutions to re-establish conformity in the internal market to the advantage of all economic operators.
So Mercs lose their convertibility in France and a couple of weeks later everyone’s around the table to find a solution. Meanwhile Cypriot businesses wonder how they pay for goods outside the country, and no one bats an eyelid. It’s tough being small.