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
27/03/2013 - Business
The European Commission has today presented a package of initiatives to make trade mark registration systems all over the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable. The proposed reform would improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits.
27/03/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has unveiled a new comparative tool to promote effective justice systems in the European Union and thereby reinforce economic growth. The ‘European Justice Scoreboard’ will provide objective, reliable and comparable data on the functioning of the justice systems in the EU’s 27 Member States. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
27/03/2013 - Energy and natural resources / Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission today took the first step towards developing a 2030 framework for EU climate change and energy policies. It adopted a Green Paper which launches a public consultation on the content of the 2030 framework. |PHOTOS|VIDEO |
27/03/2013 - Business / Economy, finance, tax and competition / Statistics
In March 2013, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area decreased by 0.14 points to 0.86. The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) decreased in both the euro area and the EU, putting on hold the recovery that had started in November of last year.
26/03/2013 - Science and technology
Innovation performance in the EU has improved year on year in spite of the continuing economic crisis, but the innovation divide between Member States is widening. This is the result of the European Commission Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, a ranking of EU Member States.
26/03/2013 - Employment and social rights
The employment and social situation in the EU remained critical in the fourth quarter of 2012 with employment receding overall and unemployment rising further, while households' financial situation remained serious according to the European Commission's latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review.
25/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
The euro area finance ministers reached a political agreement with the Cyprus authorities on the key elements paving the way for the future economic adjustment programme. The aim of the programme is to form the basis for restoring the soundness of Cyprus' public finances and the viability of its financial sector. The |VIDEO 1|2|
25/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
Europe faces large-scale long-term investment needs, which are crucial to support sustainable growth. To fund long-term investment, governments, businesses and households need access to predictable long term financing. |PHOTOS|
25/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The EU and Japan officially launched the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The aim is for a comprehensive agreement in goods, services and investment eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development.
21/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Environment, consumers and health
The Council adopted a new venture capital framework aimed at facilitating access to finance for European companies. It also adopted an energy infrastructure regulation, which will help to modernise and expand Europe's energy infrastructure in order to allow the EU to meet its core policy objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
21/03/2013 - Institutional affairs
The Commission has taken 101 decisions, including 3 reasoned opinions and 9 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice, out of which 4 include financial penalties.
20/03/2013 - External relations and foreign affairs
The "ENP annual package" shows that many partners remain committed to strengthening relations with the EU and that the EU has deepened its support to those partners embarking on important reform agendas. |VIDEO|PHOTOS|
20/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The European Commission presented two new Communications on the next steps towards a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The aim is to strengthen economic policy coordination and integration in the euro area.
20/03/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
19/03/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on how to improve access to justice for consumers and small businesses in small-scale cross-border disputes.
15/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Institutional affairs
At the European Council meeting on 14-15 March the EU leaders endorsed the Union's economic priorities for 2013 and provided strategic guidance for the member states' national budgetary policies and structural reforms for this year. |PHOTOS 1|2|3|VIDEO 1|2|
15/03/2013 - Institutional affairs
MEPs will not accept the Council proposal for the EU's budget for 2014-2020 in its current form and are preparing for negotiations with EU governments. They also adopted a negotiating position for a greener and fairer EU agricultural policy and approved laws that make solving commercial disputes cheaper and easier.
14/03/2013 - Business
The efforts of the European Commission to fight protectionism over the last year bear fruit and could create better trade and investment conditions for EU companies.
14/03/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission outlined a series of actions to tackle aggressive commercial practices across the EU such as fake ‘free’ offers, ‘bait and switch’ advertising for products which cannot be supplied, and exhortation of children.
13/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
Parliament's mandate to negotiate the EU budget for 2014-2020 with the EU member states' Irish Presidency was approved in a resolution. Parliament rejects the 8 February European Council conclusions in their current form. |VIDEO|
13/03/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The proposal – which takes the form of a draft directive – aims to establish a common European framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management in EU Member States. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
13/03/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food
To deliver secure supplies of high-quality food while protecting the environment better, the new EU farm policy must make "greening" measures mandatory but flexible and help farmers to cope with market challenges. |VIDEO|
12/03/2013 - Institutional affairs / Justice and citizens rights
The proposals aim to better inform voters about the issues at stake in next year's European Parliament elections, encourage a Europe-wide debate and ultimately improve voter turnout. |VIDEO|
12/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The next round of EU economic governance legislation will do more to deliver growth and the European Commission's new powers to vet Eurozone countries' budgets will be better democratically controlled, thanks to the “two pack” economic governance legislation voted by Parliament. |VIDEO|
11/03/2013 - Energy and natural resources / Transport and travel
The Council held an exchange of views on the Commission's "Clean power for transport" initiative. The objective is to break the dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
11/03/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
A Communication adopted by the Commission confirms the Commission's commitment to respect the deadline set by Council and Parliament in 2003 and outlines how it intends to further support research and innovation in this area while promoting animal welfare world-wide. |VIDEO|
08/03/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
07/03/2013 - Business / Institutional affairs
The Commission, while recognising the overall necessity of having European-wide rules in these areas, will now thoroughly address these concerns via the new Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) launched in December 2012.
07/03/2013 - 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 0.75%, 1.50% and 0.00% respectively.
05/03/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Economic and Financial Affairs Council broadly endorsed the outcome of the most recent political trilogue of 27 February 2013 with the European Parliament on stricter capital requirements for banks ("CRD 4" package). |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
01/03/2013 - Employment and social rights / Statistics
The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.9% in January 2013, up from 11.8% in December 2012. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.8%, up from 10.7% in the previous month.