The EU has received the 2012 award for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
21/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (popularly known as the "fiscal compact") will enter into force on 1 January 2013 following its ratification by Finland. The treaty aims to strengthen fiscal discipline in the euro area through the "balanced budget rule" and the automatic correction mechanism.
21/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission adopted a Communication on the State of Customs Union. The Communication takes stock of the current state of the EU customs union, identifies the challenges that it currently faces, and sets out priority actions for ensuring its future evolution.
21/12/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy hosted the 30th EU and Russia bilateral summit. The agenda addressed a wide range of bilateral issues, covering political and economic matters and strategic perspectives for the EU-Russia relationship.
20/12/2012 - Transport and travel
The Transport Council adopted a general approach on new rules on periodic inspection of vehicles, the so-called roadworthiness tests. The key objective of the update is to improve road safety and environmental protection. The draft directive lays down minimum requirements, which leaves member states free to impose stricter rules.
20/12/2012 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council agreed on the fishing opportunities for the year to come, as is traditional at the end of every year under the common fisheries policy.
20/12/2012 - Employment and social rights
Under the new rules, insurers in Europe will have to charge the same prices to women and men for the same insurance products without distinction on the grounds of sex. This means that insurance prices could rise or fall in the short term for certain categories of customers while they are likely to balance out over time.
20/12/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The provisions for a common way to identify the patient, the prescriber and the prescribed product, are to be put into national law by the Member States by 25 October 2013.
19/12/2012 - Business / Environment, consumers and health
After years in the making, the European Commission has adopted its proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive. The proposed legislation consists of new and strengthened rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented, and sold.
19/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
It also adopts technical standards for the regulation on OTC derivatives. The AIFMD is part of the Union's response to the financial crisis, and aims to create a comprehensive and effective regulatory and supervisory environment for alternative investment fund managers in Europe.
19/12/2012 - Transport and travel
The European Commission proposed today new rules for the better protection of air passengers, aiming to achieve a decreased number of aircraft accidents and fatalities through better use of data on occurrences.The new rules would promote more efficient exchange of information between Member States.
18/12/2012 - Science and technology
The priorities follow a comprehensive policy review and place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe.
18/12/2012 - Business / External relations and foreign affairs
The proposal covers the EU's trade responses in cases of illegal trade measures in other countries, and it will allow effective action to safeguard the interests of EU companies and workers.
18/12/2012 - Business / Environment, consumers and health
The rules on ADR will ensure that contractual disputes between consumers and traders are settled out of court through quality alternative dispute resolution entities.
17/12/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Institutional affairs
The EU's Environment Ministers adopted conclusions setting out key actions to improve governance by those involved in managing water resources, namely: improving land use, addressing water pollution, and increasing water efficiency and resilience.
17/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
One of the key aspects of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the field of taxation is that it brings an end to bank secrecy. On the same date new EU VAT rules enter into effect, which will make life much simpler for businesses across Europe.
17/12/2012 - Business
On 17 December the Council gave their green light to the creation of unitary patent protection in Europe. The approval comes following a positive vote in the European Parliament on 11 December.
17/12/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
New environmental rules on marine fuels, entering into force on the 17 December 2012, will substantially reduce air pollution and its impacts on human health.
14/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
The European Council agreed on a roadmap for the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union, based on deeper integration and reinforced solidarity.
14/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
Euro area annual inflation was 2.2% in November 2012, down from 2.5% in October. A year earlier the rate was 3.0%. Monthly inflation was -0.2% in November 2012.
14/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Transport and travel
The Commission presented a Communication clarifying EU rules on car taxation and recommending measures to strengthen the Single Market in this area.
13/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
EU finance ministers agreed on the general approach on the legislative package that establishes single supervisory mechanism (SSM) for the oversight of credit institutions, which is a key element in the EU's plan to establish a banking union.
12/12/2012 - Business / Justice and citizens rights
Businesses hit by the economic crisis will be thrown a lifeline under a new proposal from the European Commission to modernise Europe’s rules on cross-border business insolvency, helping to give otherwise viable businesses a ‘second chance’.
12/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
Six billion Euros to pay bills in 2012, priority for growth and jobs in next year's budget and a strategy for dealing with payment shortfalls in 2013 – these are the main parts of the budget package formally adopted by Parliament.
12/12/2012 - Business
The European Commission has adopted an Action Plan outlining future initiatives in the areas of company law and corporate governance.
11/12/2012 - Business
EU inventors will soon be able to get a unitary patent at last. After over 30 years of talks, a new regime will cut the cost of an EU patent by up to 80%, making it more competitive vis-à-vis the US and Japan.
10/12/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs
Ministers debated recent developments in the Middle East. The Council stressed that now is the time to take bold steps towards peace and underlined the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013.
10/12/2012 - Institutional affairs
2012 prize was presented in Oslo on 10 December recognising EU’s role in advancing stability and reconciliation in Europe.
07/12/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Science and technology
The European Commission has unveiled an Action Plan to address barriers to the full use of digital solutions in Europe's healthcare systems. The goal is to improve healthcare for the benefit of patients, give patients more control of their care and bring down costs.
07/12/2012 - Business / Environment, consumers and health / Statistics
EU consumers have once again expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of some key services markets, according to the Commission’s 2012 Consumer Markets Scoreboard.
07/12/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
EU rules on the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters have been revised. The aim is to remedy shortcomings in the current rules for solving cross-border disputes in order to improve judicial cooperation between member states.
06/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Commission presented an Action Plan for a more effective EU response to tax evasion and avoidance. It sets out a comprehensive set of measures, for now and for the future, to help Member States protect their tax bases and recapture billions of euros legitimately due.
06/12/2012 - Business / Environment, consumers and health
Just in time for the holidays and gifts shopping season, the European Commission publishes the results of an EU wide screening of websites selling games, books, videos and music which can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device.
06/12/2012 - Business / Science and technology
In the face of the continuing economic and financial crisis, major EU-based firms continue to rely on R&D for their competitive edge. They increased R&D investment by 8.9% in 2011, up from 6.1% in 2010.
05/12/2012 - Culture, education and youth / Employment and social rights
Measures to help Member States tackle unacceptable levels of youth unemployment and social exclusion by giving young people offers of jobs, education and training have been proposed by the European Commission.
05/12/2012 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
The Commission will assess all possible options for tackling unfair trading practices in the food chain, including legislation, and will launch an impact assessment.
05/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
Credit rating agencies in the EU will soon be operating according to an amended set of rules recently agreed by the Council and the European Parliament.
04/12/2012 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Council agreed to adjust fiscal consolidation measures required of Greece, granting it an additional two years to correct its excessive budget deficit in the light of an agreement between the Greek government and the "troika" of international creditors.
03/12/2012 - Energy and natural resources / Science and technology / Transport and travel
The Ministers of the Energy Council adopted conclusions on renewable energy, which outline options for future action, in particular in order to facilitate long-term planning for industry and investors.
03/12/2012 - Employment and social rights / Science and technology
The Commission's proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites would introduce mandatory EU standardised accessibility features, from the end of 2015, for 12 types of websites.
03/12/2012 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Regions and local development
The strategy rests on 4 pillars: a stronger blue economy, a healthier marine environment, a safer maritime space, and responsible fishing activities.