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Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
31/07/2012 - Employment and social rights / Statistics
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.2% in June 2012, stable compared with May. It was 10.0% in June 2011. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.4% in June 2012, also stable compared with May. It was 9.5% in June 2011.
31/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The proposal provides that Member States would be able to apply, within the space of a month, a "reverse charge mechanism" which makes the recipient rather than the supplier of the goods or services liable for VAT.
31/07/2012 - Business / Environment, consumers and health
To promote the construction sector as a driving force in the creation of jobs and for sustained growth for the economy in general, the European Commission tabled a strategy to boost the sector.
30/07/2012 - Business / Economy, finance, tax and competition
In July the Economic Sentiment Indicator decreased in the EU by 1.4 points, to 89.0, and in the euro area by 2.0 points, to 87.9. The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area decreased by 0.32 points to ‑1.27.
30/07/2012 - Business
The programme should empower this industry - one of the sectors with the highest potential for growth and employment in the EU - to stay in Europe and to continue producing high quality security products.
27/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "Greek banks are currently operating under extreme conditions. Their participation in the Greek Government bond exchange and the deep recession have weakened their capital. The bridge recapitalisation by the HFSF ensures the stability of the Greek banking system".
27/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Employment and social rights
According to the Spring 2012 Eurobarometer, people’s views on the Europe 2020 strategy – which is the EU's growth strategy – are encouraging, particularly in relation to the importance of the initiatives and the level of ambition.
26/07/2012 - Science and technology
Vice President Antonio Tajani launched in Brussels the European Data Access Service (EDAS) - a new commercial service of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) – designed to make satellite navigation in Europe more reliable and thus more effective for use in commercial applications in difficult surroundings.
26/07/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The rules will bring legal certainty to the estimated 450,000 European families dealing with an international succession each year. Member States now have three years to align their national laws so that the new EU rules become effective.
25/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The Commission is not proposing to set the minimum types and levels of criminal sanctions at this stage, but wants to require each Member State to provide for criminal sanctions in its national laws to cover the manipulation of benchmarks.
24/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
The Council adopted its position on the draft EU budget for 2013. The ministers agreed that the increase in payments should not be higher than 2.79% compared to the 2012 budget.
24/07/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs / Justice and citizens rights
In 2011, EU Customs detained almost 115 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) compared to 103 million in 2010. The number of intercepted cases increased by 15% compared to 2010.
24/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
At the meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) on 24 July 2012, the MFF again figured high on the agenda. Ministers were presented with an updated proposal by the Commission, and the Cyprus presidency informed ministers on the schedule of work in the second half of 2012.
23/07/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
The Council discussed developments in the EU's Southern neighbourhood, focusing on Syria and Libya. It strongly condemned the ever increasing use of force by the Syrian regime.
20/07/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
A European Commission report shows that thanks to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) many food safety risks have been averted or mitigated and safety controls ensure our food is safe. RASFF plays a key role in ensuring safety from "farm to fork", by triggering a rapid reaction when a food safety risk is detected.
19/07/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
The Performance Scheme of the Single European Sky aims at setting and implementing binding targets for Member States to deliver better air navigation services, leading to cheaper flights, less delays, and the saving of unnecessary costs for airlines and passengers. In addition, the environmental impact of air traffic will be reduced due to more efficient and shorter flight paths.
19/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
In cohesion policy, there were 41% fewer cases of suspected fraud compared to 2010, while in agriculture reported fraud cases fell by 66%. In addition to stronger measures and better controls implemented for EU funding, there are also a number of technical explanations for the drop in fraud rate in 2011.
17/07/2012 - Science and technology
The European Commission has set out concrete steps Member States should take to achieve the European Research Area (ERA), a Single Market for research and innovation in Europe. The goal is to enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to better move, compete and co-operate across borders.
17/07/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
New rules on biocides enter into force today. They will bring a significant boost to the protection of human health and the environment. Biocidal products are necessary for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health or that cause damage to materials. But as their properties can also pose risks to humans, animals and the environment, they need careful regulation.
16/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
Euro area annual inflation was 2.4% in June 2012, unchanged compared with May. A year earlier the rate was 2.7%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in June 2012. EU annual inflation was 2.6% in June 2012, up from 2.5% in May. A year earlier the rate was 3.1%. Monthly inflation was 0.0% in June 2012.
13/07/2012 - Transport and travel
Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. More than 5 people die on Europe's roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. So the European Commission has adopted new rules to toughen up the testing regime and widen its scope. The new proposals aim to save more than 1,200 lives a year and to avoid more than 36,000 accidents linked to technical failure.
11/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has proposed new rules to fight fraud against the EU budget by means of criminal law to better safeguard taxpayers' money. The Directive creates a more harmonised framework for prosecuting and punishing crimes involving the EU budget so that criminals no longer exploit differences between national legal systems.
11/07/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
The proposals will cut average emissions from new cars to 95 grams of CO2 per km (g CO2/km) in 2020 from 135.7g in 2011 and a mandatory target of 130g in 2015. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147g CO2/km in 2020 from 181.4g in 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available) and a mandatory target of 175g in 2017.
11/07/2012 - Culture, education and youth
The European Commission has proposed measures to modernise collecting societies and put in place incentives to promote their transparency and efficiency. New digital technologies are opening up great opportunities for creators, consumers and businesses alike.
11/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Council issued country-specific recommendations to the member states on their economic and fiscal policies, thus concluding this year's European Semester monitoring exercise (following endorsement by the European Council). It also issued a specific recommendation for the eurozone as a whole.
10/07/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
The European Asylum Support Office has published its first country of origin information report. The report focuses on Taliban recruitment strategies in Afghanistan. It has also published a methodology guideline for future similar reports. Country of origin reports represent a crucial tool for the decision-making on asylum applications and their availability enhances harmonisation of asylum procedures in the EU.
10/07/2012 - Energy and natural resources / Regions and local development / Transport and travel
By launching a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC) the European Commission aims to boost the development of smart technologies in cities – by pooling research resources from energy, transport and ICT and concentrating them on a small number of demonstration projects which will be implemented in partnership with cities.
09/07/2012 - Science and technology
The European Commission has announced the final and biggest ever set of calls for proposals for research under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). In total, €8.1 billion will support projects and ideas that will boost Europe's competitiveness and tackle issues such as human health, protecting the environment and finding new solutions to growing challenges linked to urbanisation and managing waste.
06/07/2012 - Institutional affairs
Thumbs down for ACTA, thumbs up for eCall; goodbye to Denmark, hello to Cyprus; no to breaches of Schengen rules, yes to animal welfare. In the last plenary session before the summer, MEPs also welcomed the conclusions of last week's European Council but warned that the clock is ticking and asked the Commission to prepare plans by September.
05/07/2012 - 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 be decreased to 0.75%, 1.50% and 0.00% respectively.
05/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Regions and local development
An EU allocation of €230 million in guarantees to back the private issuance of "project bonds" for transport, energy and information technology infrastructure projects was approved by Parliament. The decision allows pilot testing of this innovative plan to attract private investment in transport, energy and information technology network projects.
05/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The European Commission has adopted a Delegated Act which sets out important technical rules needed to ensure the uniform application and enforcement of the Short Selling Regulation. In particular, the delegated act specifies the cases in which sovereign credit default swaps are considered covered, and therefore not banned in accordance with the Regulation.
04/07/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was rejected by the European Parliament, and hence cannot become law in the EU. This was the first time that Parliament exercised its Lisbon Treaty power to reject an international trade agreement. 478 MEPs voted against ACTA, 39 in favour, and 165 abstained.
03/07/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Commission has presented a legislative package that raises standards and removes loopholes for the benefit of consumers. Specifically, the package proposes new, consumer-friendly standards for information about investments, raises standards for advice, and tightens certain rules on investment funds to ensure their safety.
03/07/2012 - Regions and local development
The strategy adopted contains a set of tangible actions that contribute to research and sustainable development in the region and promote environmentally friendly technologies that could be used for sustainable shipping and mining. It also underlines the EU's activities in the Arctic since 2008.
03/07/2012 - Transport and travel
To facilitate better use of EU rail networks, Parliament clarified competition rules for rail transport firms and rail infrastructure managers. These rules aim to stimulate the supply of international freight and passenger services and to improve their quality. Independent regulators will see that competition is fair.
02/07/2012 - Employment and social rights
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.1% in May 2012, compared with 11.0% in April. It was 10.0% in May 2011. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.3% in May 2012, compared with 10.2% in April. It was 9.5% in May 2011.