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Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
27/11/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has presented a package of proposals to further strengthen procedural safeguards for citizens in criminal proceedings. The aim is to guarantee fair trial rights for all citizens, wherever they are in the European Union. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
25/11/2013 - Employment and social rights / Justice and citizens rights
The joint responsibility of Member States and the EU institutions to uphold EU citizens' rights to live and work in another EU country is underlined in a policy paper just adopted by the European Commission.
20/11/2013 - Business / Justice and citizens rights
Companies listed on stock exchanges in the EU would have to bring in transparent recruitment procedures so that by 2020, at least 40% of their non-executive directors are women, under a draft EU directive voted by Parliament. |VIDEO|
19/11/2013 - Business / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has proposed to strengthen the position of consumers and businesses in low-value cross-border disputes. |VIDEO|
23/10/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The EU should suspend its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) agreement with the US in response to the US National Security Agency's alleged tapping of EU citizens' bank data held by the Belgian company SWIFT, says a non-binding resolution voted by Parliament.
21/10/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The Commission is presenting suggestions on how to reduce gun related violence in Europe. It identifies actions at EU level, through legislation, operational activities, training and EU funding, to address the threats posed by the illegal use of firearms. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
14/10/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
With this vote, the European Parliament (which decides with the Council of Ministers on an equal footing on this proposal), paves the way for further progress of the draft law in the EU legislative process.
10/10/2013 - External relations and foreign affairs / Justice and citizens rights
EU member states will be better equipped to prevent, detect and combat irregular migration, but also to save migrants' lives, thanks to the "Eurosur" border surveillance system, whose operating rules were approved by Parliament.
08/10/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
Justice ministers had an in-depth discussion on the “one-stop-shop” mechanism, which is a key issue in the proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation. The Council agreed on a general approach on the proposal for a directive on the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law. |PHOTOS|
07/10/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The Council adopted without discussion a directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings in a historic decision 10 years after the first attempts were made to agree on a legislative measure including notably the right to legal advice.
17/09/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
Under the rules proposed by the Commission today, harmful psychoactive substances will be withdrawn quickly from the market, without jeopardising their various legitimate industrial and commercial uses. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
12/09/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
Reciprocity rules enabling the EU to reimpose visa requirements for nationals of countries that still impose them on EU citizens were adopted by Parliament, in a revision of the EU visa regulation.
29/07/2013 - Business / Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has proposed to complete the legal framework for Europe-wide patent protection by updating EU rules on the jurisdiction of courts and recognition of judgements.
24/07/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
Fraud affecting the EU budget increased slightly in 2012 compared to 2011, according to the Commission's annual report on the "Protection of the EU's Financial Interests". On the expenditure side, in total, €315 million in EU funds were affected by fraud, or 0.25% of the expenditure budget.
17/07/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
04/07/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
Cyber criminals will face tougher penalties in the EU, under new rules adopted by Parliament. The draft directive, already informally agreed with member states, also aims to facilitate prevention and to boost police and judicial cooperation in this field. In the event of a cyber attack, EU countries will have to respond to urgent requests for help within eight hours.
04/07/2013 - External relations and foreign affairs / Justice and citizens rights
Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee will conduct an "in-depth inquiry" into the US surveillance programmes, including the bugging of EU premises and other spying allegations, and present its results by the end of this year, says a resolution passed by the full House. Parliament's President and political group leaders formally confirmed the launch of the inquiry. MEPs also call for more protection for whistleblowers.
26/06/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The call follows the Commission's progress report released which shows that Member States need to do better in implementing their national Roma integration strategies submitted under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
12/06/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
New rules laying down common procedures and deadlines for handling asylum applications and basic rights for asylum seekers arriving in the EU were endorsed by Parliament.
07/06/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
06/06/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has adopted a comprehensive package to step up its fight against illicit tobacco trade, especially cigarette smuggling.
03/06/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The report provides a clear account of the state of the Schengen area, to ensure a coherent implementation of the common rules amongst all Schengen participating countries.
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|
23/05/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
During the year, OLAF has reinforced its investigative function and achieved significant results. OLAF investigations have become more efficient and the overall average duration of OLAF cases has decreased by seven months, from 29.1 months in 2011 to 22.6 in 2012.
08/05/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The 2013 EU Citizenship Report sets out 12 concrete ways to help Europeans make better use of their EU rights, from looking for a job in another EU country to ensuring stronger participation in the democratic life of the Union.
26/04/2013 - Employment and social rights / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has proposed measures to ensure the better application of EU law on people's right to work in another Member State and so make it easier for people to exercise their rights in practice. |PHOTOS|
24/04/2013 - Business / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission is proposing to slash red tape for citizens and businesses by doing away with bureaucratic rubber-stamping exercises currently required to get public documents like your birth certificate recognised as authentic in another EU Member State. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
15/04/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
23.632 people were identified or presumed victims of trafficking in the EU over the 2008-2010 period. This is the most striking figure emerging from the first report on trafficking in human beings in Europe, published by the European Commission. |PHOTOS|VIDEO|
09/04/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
SIS II is the second generation of the Schengen Information System in operation since 1995 and has enhanced functionalities, such as the possibility to enter biometrics (fingerprints and photographs), new types of alerts (stolen aircrafts, boats, containers, means of payment), or the possibility to link different alerts (such as an alert on a person and a vehicle). |VIDEO|
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|
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.
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|
08/03/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
28/02/2013 - Justice and citizens rights / Transport and travel
07/02/2013 - Justice and citizens rights / Science and technology
The cybersecurity strategy – "An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace" - represents the EU's comprehensive vision on how best to prevent and respond to cyber disruptions and attacks. This is to further European values of freedom and democracy and ensure the digital economy can safely grow.
05/02/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has proposed to crack down on criminals who counterfeit euro notes and coins. Counterfeiting of the euro is estimated to have cost at least €500 million since the currency was introduced in 2002.
05/02/2013 - Economy, finance, tax and competition / Justice and citizens rights
The Commission has adopted two proposals to reinforce the EU's existing rules on anti-money laundering and fund transfers.
31/01/2013 - Justice and citizens rights
The report unveils the ‘changing face of organised crime in Europe’: while, historically, the EU drug market has focused on specific drugs trafficked by specialised operators along well-defined routes, the contemporary market is more ‘fluid’, with new routes and multi-substance consignments becoming more common.
25/01/2013 - Business / Justice and citizens rights
The Commission released mid-term figures on the share of women on boards in publicly listed companies. The new figures show an increase in the number of women on boards to 15.8%, up from 13.7% in January 2012.
02/01/2013 - Institutional affairs / Justice and citizens rights
To mark the European Year of Citizens 2013, a range of events, conferences and seminars will be organised across the EU at Union, national, regional or local level.
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.
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’.
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.
30/11/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
In a report, the European Commission evaluates the efforts of the network to enhance safety and security for European citizens.
27/11/2012 - Business / Justice and citizens rights
The aim is to better protect businesses, professionals and NGOs across Europe from dishonest traders who do not play by the rules and use misleading marketing practices, such as sending out forms asking businesses to update details in their directories, seemingly for free, and then charging them annual fees.
20/11/2012 - Institutional affairs / Justice and citizens rights
It will now be easier for EU citizens living in another Member State to stand as candidates in the 2014 European Parliament elections, following a vote on a European Commission proposal in the European Parliament.
14/11/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The Commission has proposed legislation with the aim of attaining a 40% objective of the under-represented sex in non-executive board-member positions in publicly listed companies, with the exception of small and medium enterprises.
13/11/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The directive sets out minimum rights for victims, wherever they are in the EU. Member States now have three years to implement the provisions into their national laws.
07/11/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs / Justice and citizens rights / Transport and travel
If fully exploited, the current visa rules could ensure that the EU remains an attractive destination for more tourists/third country nationals, while at the same time boosting EU's economic activity and job creation.
25/10/2012 - External relations and foreign affairs / Justice and citizens rights
Ministers reached agreement on a directive laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers. This directive is one of five legislative instruments making up the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) package.
23/10/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
Parliament voted to designate 2013 European Year of Citizens with the aim of raising awareness of the rights linked to EU citizenship.
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 - Justice and citizens rights / Science and technology
Cyber Europe 2012 runs alongside European Cyber Security Month and is the second EU-wide cyber-attack simulation exercise organised by Member States, the Commission and ENISA.
28/09/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
In a report on the situation of unaccompanied minors in the EU, the Commission calls for improved efforts at both national and European level to respond effectively and in full respect of the rights of the child to this complex transnational challenge.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
19/06/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The Commission adopted the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016), a set of concrete and practical measures to be implemented over the next five years. These include the establishment of national law enforcement units specialised in human trafficking and the creation of joint European investigation teams to prosecute cross-border trafficking cases.
12/06/2012 - Employment and social rights / Justice and citizens rights
EU law does not prevent a Member State from granting family benefits to posted or seasonal workers in respect of whom it is not, in principle, the competent Member State.
07/06/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The Commission's proposal to simplify the settlement of international successions received the final backing of the Council of Justice Ministers of the EU. The European Commission proposals will ease the legal burden when a family member with property in another EU country passes away.
07/06/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
This law ensures that anyone arrested or subject to a European Arrest Warrant in any EU Member State is given a Letter of Rights listing their basic rights during criminal proceedings. EU Member States now have two years to introduce the new rules in their national legal systems.
01/06/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The Commission is publishing a Report on the 2011 developments in the areas of immigration and asylum, accompanied by a Eurobarometer on European citizens' attitudes towards cross-border mobility, migration and security. According to the survey, 8 out of 10 Europeans agree that EU Member States should offer protection and asylum to those in need and that rules for admitting asylum seekers should be the same across the EU.
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.
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.
27/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
EU Justice Ministers adopted a new law that the European Commission had proposed to ensure defendants' right to information during criminal proceedings. Under the 'Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings', suspects of a criminal offence will be informed of their rights in a language they understand.
19/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
A new agreement on the transfer of EU air passengers' personal data to the US authorities was approved by the European Parliament. The deal sets legal conditions and covers issues such as storage periods, use, data protection safeguards and administrative and judicial redress.
16/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The new Memorandum of Understanding signed on the margin of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels, reaffirms the partnership between the two organisations to support gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world and ensures closer collaboration; sharing information, expertise and analysis in order to effectively advance women’s rights.
16/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission's second annual report on the Charter finds that fundamental rights concerns are increasingly embedded in EU policy-making.
04/04/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission has taken the next step in the important process of referring the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). By agreeing on the legal submission to be put before the ECJ, the Commission aims to respond to the wide-ranging concerns voiced by people across Europe on what ACTA is about and whether it harms fundamental rights in any way.
30/03/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
1 April 2012 marks the launch of European Citizens' Initiatives. From that day, a million citizens from across Europe can come together on an issue that is important to them, and ask the Commission to do something about it.
30/03/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
The European Commission launched a public consultation on modernising EU rules governing insolvencies. The results of the consultation will help determine whether and how the existing Regulation needs to be revised in order to bolster businesses and strengthen the EU's Single Market.
28/03/2012 - Justice and citizens rights / Science and technology
It is estimated that, worldwide, more than one million people become victims of cybercrime every day.The European Commission proposed to establish a European Cybercrime Centre to help protect European citizens and businesses against these mounting cyber-threats.
25/01/2012 - Justice and citizens rights
Proposals would introduce a single set of rules giving individuals more control over how their personal data is managed and used.