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Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
31/05/2012 - Institutional affairs
The Commission has taken 147 decisions, including 27 reasoned opinions and 11 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.
30/05/2012 - Business
The Council agreed on the main elements of the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Programme (called COSME) which is designed to boost the creation, growth and competitiveness of this category of companies across the EU.
30/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The European Commission has adopted a package of recommendations for budgetary measures and economic reforms to enhance financial stability, boost growth and create employment across the EU. The recommendations are country-specific, taking account of the individual situation of each Member State.
30/05/2012 - Business / Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Economic Sentiment Indicator decreased sharply in May, falling by 2.7 points in the EU and by 2.3 points in the euro area, to 90.5 and 90.6, respectively. The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area decreased by 0.26 points to -0.77.
30/05/2012 - Science and technology
The new legislation revises the current regulation, which will expire on 30 June 2012, by introducing pro-competitive structural measures and extending its validity until 30 June 2022.
29/05/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Statistics
The spring Consumer Scoreboard published on the occasion of the European Consumer Summit 2012 shows that in 2011 for the second year running after the fall in 2009 there were improvements in many EU countries.
29/05/2012 - Business
Industrial innovation is one of the key drivers to improve our competitiveness. This is why the Commission is launching a new public consultation, which is meant to provide input for the mid-term review of the industrial policy communication planned for September 2012.
29/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
At the meeting of the General Affairs Council on 29 May 2012, work on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) was taken a step further. Ministers started discussions on the basis of a document - known as the negotiating box - containing the central issues and options as regards both expenditure and revenue.
25/05/2012 - Business
The EU launched a challenge to Argentina's import restrictions at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. Under WTO dispute settlement procedures, the EU is first requesting consultations with Argentina in a bid to have these measures - which negatively affect the EU's trade and investment - lifted.
25/05/2012 - Institutional affairs
This week in Strasbourg MEPs approved proposals for a financial transaction tax and more protection for blue-fin tuna and voted for equal pay between men and women. Also on the agenda were justice in Ukraine, EU-China trade relations, youth opportunities, growth and SMEs.
24/05/2012 - Culture, education and youth / Employment and social rights
Devising a ‘European Investment Plan’ to create new jobs, reallocating EU structural funds to projects for young people, and introducing a ‘European Youth Guarantee’ to ensure that they are not without jobs for more than four months, are among the proposals set out by MEPs in a resolution.
24/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The European Commission welcomes today's judgment by the General Court dismissing an action brought by MasterCard against a Commission decision of 2007 prohibiting MasterCard's cross-border inter-bank fees.
24/05/2012 - Institutional affairs
During an informal dinner on 23 May 2012, EU heads of state or government prepared the ground for common decisions to be taken at the European Council meeting scheduled for 28-29 June. In the short term, work will be structured around the three main pillars of a growth strategy.
23/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The proposed financial transaction tax should be better designed to capture more traders and make evasion unprofitable, said the European Parliament. The opinion also says the tax should go ahead even if only some Member States opt for it.
23/05/2012 - Employment and social rights / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has called on EU Member States, in a report adopted today, to implement their national strategies to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma.
23/05/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
92.1 % of bathing waters in the European Union now meet the minimum water quality standards set by the Bathing Water Directive. The results are from the latest annual Bathing Water Report of European Environment Agency and the European Commission, which describes water quality in more than 22,000 bathing sites at beaches, rivers and lakes across Europe last year.
22/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
The EU will set aside €230 million in guarantees to support the issuance of "project bonds" for EU infrastructure projects under a deal concluded by MEPs and EU governments in Strasbourg. The deal will pilot test this innovative plan to attract private investment in transport, energy and information technology network projects.
22/05/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
Consumer expenditure, amounting to 56% of EU GDP, reflects the enormous power of the consumer to drive forward the European economy. Only empowered and confident consumers can fully exploit the potential of the Single Market and enhance innovation and growth.
22/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
Almost half of the Europeans surveyed think that combining public spending cuts with measures to boost economic growth is the best way to end the current economic crisis, says the latest European Parliament Eurobarometer poll.
21/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
Corporate and top personal income tax rates inch up after long decline. The average standard VAT rate in the EU27 has risen strongly since 2008. In 2012, the standard VAT rate varies from 15.0% in Luxembourg and 17.0% in Cyprus to 27.0% in Hungary and 25.0% in Denmark and Sweden.
21/05/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
"Serbia's European perspective is very concrete and we therefore hope to be able to rely on President Nikolić's personal dedication to achieve this aim."
19/05/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
“We had an important debate with the other G8 leaders on the global economy in Camp David this morning. We were comforted to hear that all leaders agree on the need to take action to boost confidence and nurture recovery in response to the current economic challenges we face.”
16/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
Euro area annual inflation was 2.6% in April 2012, down from 2.7% in March. A year earlier the rate was 2.8%. Monthly inflation was 0.5% in April 2012. EU annual inflation was 2.7% in April 2012, down from 2.9% in March. A year earlier the rate was 3.3%. Monthly inflation was 0.5% in April 2012.
16/05/2012 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
A list of 222 health claims has been approved by the Commission. This list is based on sound scientific advice, will be used throughout the EU and will also help to remove misleading claims from the market before the end of the year.
15/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The EU is set to make its banking sector more resilient to financial shocks, as stricter capital requirements for banks and investment firms were given political approval by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.
15/05/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
Over the last twelve months, the EU has responded with determination to a fast - changing situation in its neighbourhood. The joint Communication assesses the results of the new policy.
15/05/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
Emissions of greenhouse gases from installations participating in the EU Emissions Trading System decreased by more than 2% last year, according to the information provided by Member State registries.
14/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
At their meeting the Eurogroup (the finance ministers of the member states whose currency is the euro) discussed the economic situation and outlook as well as the fiscal strategy for the euro countries.
14/05/2012 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
EU agriculture and fisheries ministers continued the debate on Europe's Common Fisheries Policy reform, this time focusing on how to achieve the "maximum sustainable yield" – the largest average catch that can continuously be taken from a fish stock without jeopardising that stock's reproduction.
14/05/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
In view of the gravity of the situation in Syria, the Council today reinforced once more EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime. It froze the assets of two entities financially supporting the regime and targeted three additional persons with a travel ban and an asset freeze.
14/05/2012 - Transport and travel
The European Commission has today issued guidelines warning that under EU law road charging schemes must not discriminate against foreign drivers. The aim is to assist Member States who are considering introducing new charging schemes for private cars.
11/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
While uncertainty about economic and financial prospects remains high, strong policy actions and major advancements in the EU institutional framework have brought about an easing of financial market tensions in the beginning of 2012 and a tentative stabilisation of confidence, expected to further strengthen over the forecast period.
10/05/2012 - Science and technology
The cost of using mobile phones, smartphones and tablets when travelling abroad within the EU will fall sharply from 1 July this year, under an agreement with the Council endorsed by Parliament.
09/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Board has confirmed the release of the outstanding amount of €5.2bn from the first instalment of €39.4bn by the end of June. An amount of €4.2bn will be disbursed on 10 May.
08/05/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission will mark Europe Day (9 May) by registering the very first European Citizens' Initiative. Other proposed initiatives will also be added to the online register in the coming days.
08/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
In the broader context of the EU's agenda to foster growth, state aid policy should focus on facilitating well-designed aid targeted at market failures and objectives of common European interest.
08/05/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
Thanks to the increasing effectiveness of the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products ("RAPEX") dangerous products are detected earlier and more effectively and are more promptly removed from the EU market.
07/05/2012 - Science and technology
The AVMSD enables the free circulation of audiovisual content and meets important public policy objectives such as banning incitement to hatred, protecting minors from harmful content and promoting European audiovisual works.
07/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee is scheduled to vote on a proposal that aims to make the market more stable in the second week of May.
04/05/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
EU and U.S. certified trusted traders will enjoy lower costs, simplified procedures and greater predictability in their transatlantic activities, as a result of a mutual recognition decision signed today.
03/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 1.00%, 1.75% and 0.25% respectively.
03/05/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Council examined proposals to amend the EU's rules on capital requirements for banks and investment firms, the so-called "CRD 4" package, with a view to starting negotiations with the European Parliament aimed at adoption of the texts at first reading.
02/05/2012 - Employment and social rights / Statistics
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.9% in March 2012, compared with 10.8% in February. It was 9.9% in March 2011. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.2% in March 2012, stable compared with February. It was 9.4% in March 2011.
02/05/2012 - Science and technology
The internet was not designed with children in mind, but today 75% of children use the internet, a third of them on mobiles. The new strategy is to build up the market for interactive, creative and educational content online.