The European Union is responding to the global economic crisis through actions on different levels.
Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
12/03/2014 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
Holidaymakers putting together their own package holidays from travel services sold on the internet or elsewhere need extra protection, as they are unlikely to get the same all-in cover as those buying from traditional travel agents, say MEPs. |VIDEO|
11/03/2014 - Employment and social rights / Environment, consumers and health
The Council adopted a recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships and discussed the employment and social policy aspects of the 2014 European Semester. |PHOTOS AND VIDEOS|
26/02/2014 - Environment, consumers and health
Draft legislation updating the EU Tobacco Directive to make tobacco products less attractive to young people was endorsed by MEPs. |VIDEO|
25/02/2014 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
New rules designed to achieve the CO2 emission reduction target of 95g/km for new cars by 2020 were endorsed by Parliament. |VIDEO|
04/02/2014 - Environment, consumers and health / Justice and citizens rights
New rules on music copyright approved by Parliament aim to make it easier for online providers to get licences to stream music in more than one EU country.
30/01/2014 - Culture, education and youth / Environment, consumers and health
In a context of declining consumption among children for these products, the aim is to address poor nutrition more effectively, to reinforce the educational elements of the programmes and to contribute to fight against obesity. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
22/01/2014 - Energy and natural resources / Environment, consumers and health
Supported by a detailed analysis on energy prices and costs, the 2030 framework will ensure regulatory certainty for investors and a coordinated approach among Member States, leading to the development of new technologies. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
14/01/2014 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
The CO2 emission limit for new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU is to be reduced from 203 g/km today to 147 g/km by 2020, under draft legislation approved by the European Parliament. |VIDEO|
18/12/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The clean air policy package updates existing legislation and further reduces harmful emissions from industry, traffic, energy plants and agriculture, with a view to reducing their impact on human health and the environment. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
18/12/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission has adopted three draft laws on animal cloning and on novel food which will provide legal certainty in this field. Two proposals will ban the use of the cloning technique in the EU for farm animals1 and the imports of these animal clones. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
13/12/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The EU environment ministers discussed a draft regulation on invasive alien species and a draft regulation on CO2 emissions from maritime transport. |PHOTOS|
10/12/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / External relations and foreign affairs
New rules upgrading the EU's civil protection mechanism, which coordinates the EU's response to natural and man-made disasters such as earthquakes, oil spills or forest fires, were backed by MEPs.
06/11/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
On the 26th September 2013, the General Court of the European Union delivered a ruling finding that the Commission failed to act on a GMO cultivation request which had been submitted twelve years ago in 2001. In line with this ruling, the Commission today acted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers. |PHOTOS|
04/11/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission adopted a proposal that requires Member States to reduce their use of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Member States can choose the measures they find most appropriate, including charges, national reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions. |PHOTOS|
22/10/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
Stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full compliance and traceability of medical devices such as breast or hip implants were agreed by Parliament.
18/10/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The latest Report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive reveals that nitrates concentrations are slightly decreasing in both surface and groundwater and sustainable agricultural practices are more widespread.
14/10/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The Council held an exchange of views on the proposal for the amendment of the waste shipment regulation and adopted conclusions on the preparations for the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. |PHOTOS|
08/10/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
A draft law to make tobacco products less attractive to young people was passed by Parliament. All packs should carry a health warning covering 65% of their surface.
09/09/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The Commission proposed new legislation to prevent and manage the rapidly growing threat from invasive species. There are currently over 12 000 species present in Europe which are alien to the natural environment. |Photos|
30/08/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Science and technology
A new Regulation on biocidal products applying from 1st September will significantly increase the safety and simplify the authorisation procedure of biocides used and placed on the market in the EU.
25/07/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Regions and local development
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn has presented a proposal to reform the EU Solidarity Fund. The plans will make the fund more responsive and simpler to use with clearer criteria as to who can benefit. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
23/07/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Statistics
Protection of consumer rights still varies greatly between EU countries. Only 35% of Europeans are confident buying online from sellers in other EU countries and seven out of ten consumers do not know what do to when they receive products that they did not order.
15/07/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
The consultation asks stakeholders, citizens, businesses, NGOs and public authorities for ideas on immediate action to reduce food waste and more generally on how to ensure our food system is using resources efficiently.
11/07/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Environment, consumers and health / Regions and local development
A new study presented by the European Commission finds that the establishment of maritime zones, including Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), in the Mediterranean would benefit the EU's Blue Growth and wider sustainability agendas.
03/07/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The EU's ability to cope with serious cross-border health threats such as coronavirus, the 2011 E. Coli epidemic or the 2009 H1N1 flu will be strengthened by legislation. The text introduces an early warning system, facilitates joint buying of vaccines and will make it possible to declare an EU-wide emergency in the event of a crisis.
28/06/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
The European Commission took the first step towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry. It proposed legislation which will require owners of large ships using EU ports to monitor and report the ships' annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
21/06/2013 - Employment and social rights / Environment, consumers and health
The Council adopted stricter capital requirements for banks and investment firms (the "CRD 4 package"). The new rules will be published in the Official Journal before 1 July 2013 and will apply from 1 January 2014. |PHOTOS|
18/06/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The Environment Council adopted conclusions on a strategy on adaptation to climate change. The conclusions are a response to the Commission's communication "An EU strategy on adaptation to climate change". |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
13/06/2013 - Energy and natural resources / Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission sets out EU-wide safety objectives to significantly reduce the risks and protect people and the environment.
11/06/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
Rules on the labelling and content of baby milks and foods for special medical purposes will be better defined in order to protect consumers and distinguish more clearly between foods for normal consumption and foods for specific groups under legislation.
10/06/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
An annual report published on Europe’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) revealed that in 2012 almost 50% of notifications related to food and feed rejections at EU borders due to the risk they posed to food safety.
28/05/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Justice and citizens rights
New European drug report published: new threats emerging that challenge current models of policy and practice. |VIDEO|
21/05/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
Ninety-four per cent of bathing sites in the European Union meet minimum standards for water quality, according to the European Environment Agency's annual report on bathing water quality in Europe.
16/05/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
In 2012, a total of 2,278 measures against dangerous non-food products, were taken by Member States and reported in the EU Rapid Information system (RAPEX). This indicates a 26% rise in alerts when compared to 2011 figures.
13/05/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
The Action Plan follows from the Atlantic Strategy the Commission adopted in 2011. It aims to show how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the "blue economy", which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
06/05/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission has adopted a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. Food safety is essential to ensure consumers' confidence and sustainability of food production. |PHOTOS|VIDEO 1|2|
06/05/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission adopted a new strategy for encouraging the use of green infrastructure, and for ensuring that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning.
24/04/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Science and technology
The Commission wants to explore what this convergence of technology and content could mean for Europe's economic growth and innovation, cultural diversity, and consumers (especially those that may need protection, such as children.) |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
16/04/2013 - Agriculture, fisheries and food / Environment, consumers and health
Launched last month, the coordinated EU-wide testing for horsemeat DNA and phenylbutazone requested, and co-financed, by the European Commission in the wake of the horsemeat scandal has revealed that less than 5 % of the tested products had horse DNA.
16/04/2013 - Business / Environment, consumers and health
Companies concerned will need to disclose information on policies, risks and results as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on the boards of directors.
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 |
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|
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.
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|
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|
22/02/2013 - Environment, consumers and health
Protection from second hand smoke has improved considerably in the EU, according to a report published by the Commission. 28% of Europeans were exposed to second hand smoke in bars in 2012 – down from 46% in 2009.
13/02/2013 - Business / Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission proposed new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the Single Market and to step-up market surveillance concerning all non-food products, including those imported from 3rd countries.
06/02/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
Noise limits for cars would be tightened to protect public health, under a draft law voted in Parliament. MEPs also recommended introducing labels to inform consumers about new cars' noise levels and adding sound to hybrid and electric vehicles to alert pedestrians.
24/01/2013 - Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
The European Commission announced an ambitious package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
30/11/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
On the eve of World AIDS Day, European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe release their annual HIV/AIDS surveillance report.
29/11/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission put forward a proposal for an Environment Action Programme (EAP) to guide EU environment policy up to 2020.
16/11/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Statistics
This is one of the many findings in the "Health at a Glance: Europe 2012", a new joint report by the OECD and the European Commission. From an annual average growth rate of 4.6% between 2000 and 2009, health spending per person fell to -0.6% in 2010.
16/11/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission is raising awareness about this global problem, in line with commitments made in Rio this summer to reduce the incidence and impacts of such pollution on marine ecosystems.
15/11/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The Commission has launched a Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources, a strategy for ensuring that enough good quality water is available to meet the needs of people, the economy and the environment.
07/11/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The proposed Regulation aims to reduce F-gas emissions by two-thirds of today's levels by 2030. It also bans the use of F-gases in some new equipment, such as household fridges, where viable more climate-friendly alternatives are readily available.
26/10/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission outlined new proposals to streamline legislation on environmental impact assessments. The proposals are intended to lighten administrative burdens and make it easier to assess the potential impacts of major projects, without weakening existing environmental safeguards.
26/10/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The Environment Council agreed on the EU stance for major international climate talks coming up in Doha, Qatar, in late November.
23/10/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The Commission is unveiling an action plan, with a series of initiatives over the next two years aimed at clarifying the regulation of online gambling and encouraging cooperation between Member States.
17/10/2012 - Energy and natural resources / Environment, consumers and health / Transport and travel
The Commission published a proposal to limit global land conversion for biofuel production, and raise the climate benefits of biofuels used in the EU. The use of food-based biofuels to meet the 10% renewable energy target of the Renewable Energy Directive will be limited to 5%.
17/10/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Science and technology
The proposal aims to make sure all market players comply with the rules regarding the avoidance of interference, so that consumers do not have problems when opening car doors, monitoring their babies or listening to radio.
11/10/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Institutional affairs
The Agenda aims to ensure that consumers have safe products and services, better information and more effective protection of their rights and redress possibilities, especially when buying products in other countries and online.
04/10/2012 - Employment and social rights / Environment, consumers and health / Justice and citizens rights
The Council adopted several legal acts, notably on energy efficiency, better access to and improved digitisation of orphan works across the EU and minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of crime victims.
04/10/2012 - Energy and natural resources / Environment, consumers and health
In addition to recommending numerous of plant specific technical improvements, the stress tests have shown that International standards and practices have not been applied everywhere.
24/09/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The EU has made progress over the past decades to reduce the air pollutants which cause acidification, but a new report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that many parts of Europe have persistent problems with outdoor concentrations of PM and ground level ozone.
21/09/2012 - Environment, consumers and health / Justice and citizens rights
To avoid difficult, costly and time-consuming legal procedures, the European Union is facilitating access to justice for consumers in Europe, so that they can effectively enforce their rights.
28/08/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
This agreement should be adopted by the European Union and the Commonwealth of Australia by mid-2015 to facilitate the commencement of full linking no later than 1 July 2018.
13/08/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The Directive entering into force today introduces a collection target of 45 % of electronic equipment sold that will apply from 2016 and, as a second step from 2019, a target of 65 % of equipment sold, or 85 % of electronic waste generated. Member States will be able to choose which one of these two equivalent ways to measure the target they wish to report.
07/08/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
A new report on how Member States manage their municipal waste shows startling differences across the EU. The report grades the 27 Member States against 18 criteria, using green, orange and red flags in areas such as total waste recycled, pricing of waste disposal, and infringements of European legislation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
05/06/2012 - Energy and natural resources / Environment, consumers and health
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik launched the European Resource Efficiency Platform to provide high-level guidance and advice on policy measures designed to transform the European economy towards a more sustainable growth path.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
23/03/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The European Commission proposed new rules to ensure that European ships are only recycled in facilities that are safe for workers and environmentally sound.
17/02/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The aim is to help EU countries and developers evaluate the environmental impacts of construction projects more easily. No changes have been made to the existing law, but it is currently under review.
10/02/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
From 30 June 2013, phosphorus in laundry detergents will be limited to 0.5 grams per washing process. The limit for dishwasher detergents will be 0.3 grams from 1 January 2017. The aim is to improve water quality.
02/02/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The Parliament believes the Commission’s proposal could confuse or mislead consumers. It would have allowed new “percentage less” claims on sugar, salt and fat content.
01/02/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
The Commission is revising the EU’s consumption and production policies. A consultation will run until 3 April on four key action areas, including product design and environmental performance.
19/01/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
More of the EU’s broken fridges, phones and gadgets are set to be collected and recycled, following MEPs’ approval of new targets agreed with Council.
19/01/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
"Biocides" - ranging from rat poisons to disinfectants - will be subject to tougher safety checks, following a European Parliament vote.
13/01/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
Improved implementation of EU waste legislation would save €72bn a year and create over 400 000 jobs by 2020, says study.
10/01/2012 - Environment, consumers and health
Of the 562 consumer credit websites checked across the EU 393 were flagged for further investigation, mostly relating to bad consumer information or a misleading presentation of the costs.