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Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
27/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
EU Justice Ministers adopted a new law that the European Commission had proposed to ensure defendants' right to information during criminal proceedings. Under the 'Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings', suspects of a criminal offence will be informed of their rights in a language they understand.
27/04/2012 - Business
According to the survey results, euro area SMEs’ external financing needs increased between October 2011 and March 2012. At the same time, the survey results show that access to bank loans continued to deteriorate; on balance, firms reported a worsening in the availability of bank loans.
27/04/2012 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
At their meeting on 26 April, agriculture ministers discussed the reform of payments for farmers, which make up a considerable part of the EU's expenditure. The debate is part of the broader discussion on the reform of the EU's common agricultural policy.
26/04/2012 - Business / Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Economic Sentiment Indicator remained stable in April in the EU at 93.2. In the euro area it decreased significantly by 1.7 points (to 92.8). The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area decreased by 0.24 points to -0.52.
26/04/2012 - Institutional affairs
The Commission has taken 185 decisions, including 38 reasoned opinions and 5 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.
26/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
"We all know that 2011 was a difficult year for Europe," said Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier. "The report's careful analysis of past and current challenges is a solid basis for continuing our reform programme and shaping future policies."
25/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
The EU's draft budget for 2013, presented by the Commission, reflects the European Council's statements that growth and employment in the EU can only be achieved by combining fiscal consolidation and investment into future growth.
25/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The European Commission has adopted a Regulation that exempts from EU state aid rules aid of up to € 500 000 per company over a three-year period that is granted as compensation for the provision of services of general economic interest (SGEI).
24/04/2012 - Institutional affairs
The negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020 at the General Affairs Council focused on future expenditure on the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy – the two policies that together make up around 70 per cent of the Union's budget.
23/04/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
The Council decided to adopt restrictive measures on the export to Syria of additional equipment, goods and technology that can be used for internal repression or for making and maintaining such products. It also agreed to ban the sales of luxury goods from the EU to Syria.
20/04/2012 - Institutional affairs
This week in Strasbourg the EP adopted the new PNR agreement on sharing EU air passengers' data with US authorities. EP President Martin Schulz welcomed twelve Croatian observers and King Abdullah II of Jordan talked about the opportunities created by the Arab Spring in a speech to MEPs. Once again, MEPs debated with Commission President Barroso about how to tackle the economic crisis.
20/04/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
The European Commission should use all appropriate dispute settlement tools available at the WTO and G20 to respond to Argentina's "unilateral and arbitrary" decision to expropriate the YPF energy company, says a resolution adopted by Parliament.
19/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
A new agreement on the transfer of EU air passengers' personal data to the US authorities was approved by the European Parliament. The deal sets legal conditions and covers issues such as storage periods, use, data protection safeguards and administrative and judicial redress.
19/04/2012 - Regions and local development
Stalled regional development projects in crisis-hit countries could be kick-started by sharing their investment risks between private and public investors, under plans voted by the MEPs.
18/04/2012 - Employment and social rights
The proposal focuses on the demand-side of job creation, setting out ways for Member States to encourage hiring by reducing taxes on labour or supporting business start-ups more.
18/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Employment and social rights
In a new Communication the Commission highlights the steps that need to be taken during 2012, as part of the programme and explains the huge range of support measures that it can mobilise to help Greece begin to generate new economic dynamism, job creation and social cohesion.
18/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
Once more a debate with Commission president José Manuel Barroso was dominated by talk about the pressing need for measures to promote growth and cut disastrous levels of unemployment in the crisis-stricken euro zone countries.
17/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
Euro area annual inflation was 2.7% in March 2012, unchanged compared with February. A year earlier the rate was 2.7%. Monthly inflation was 1.3% in March 2012. EU annual inflation was 2.9% in March 2012, unchanged compared with February. A year earlier the rate was 3.1%. Monthly inflation was 1.1% in March 2012.
16/04/2012 - Energy and natural resources
The Commission's proposals include a new EU Technical Assistance Facility worth €50 million over the next two years, which will support those developing partners that "opt in" to the initiative by providing EU expertise in the field; thereby promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth.
16/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The new Memorandum of Understanding signed on the margin of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels, reaffirms the partnership between the two organisations to support gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world and ensures closer collaboration; sharing information, expertise and analysis in order to effectively advance women’s rights.
16/04/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
How have the best performers turned waste from a problem into a resource? A new report from the European Commission explains that it is by combining economic instruments.
16/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission's second annual report on the Charter finds that fundamental rights concerns are increasingly embedded in EU policy-making.
13/04/2012 - Business / Culture, education and youth
Entrepreneurship education is being increasingly promoted in most European countries, according to a new report published by the European Commission. Half of European countries are engaged in a process of educational reforms which include the strengthening of entrepreneurship education.
12/04/2012 - Energy and natural resources / Statistics
The Flash Eurobarometer survey comes shortly ahead of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels on the 16th April, which will bring together the EU, UN and developing countries with industry, civil society and the private sector.
11/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
Without effective rules to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, the soundness, integrity and stability of the financial system could be seriously compromised. In light of the recent adoption of revised international standards and of the Commission's own review process, a report on the application of the Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive was adopted by the Commission today.
04/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has taken the next step in the important process of referring the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). By agreeing on the legal submission to be put before the ECJ, the Commission aims to respond to the wide-ranging concerns voiced by people across Europe on what ACTA is about and whether it harms fundamental rights in any way.
04/04/2012 - Business
Each year, EU citizens and companies have to move some 3.5 million vehicles to another Member State. It takes on average 5 weeks to complete the procedure and the cost is estimated at €400 for citizen and for businesses. This is why the European Commission is acting to dramatically reduce this unnecessary administrative burden.
03/04/2012 - Transport and travel
The European Commission has adopted the 19th update of the European list of air carriers which are for safety reasons subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. Conviasa, an air carrier certified in Venezuela, was added to the list due to safety concerns.
02/04/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Employment and social rights
Member States' tax provisions are to be scrutinised to ensure that they do not discriminate against cross-border workers, in a targeted initiative launched by the Commission. It is estimated that more than 1.2 million people work cross-border in the EU.