Stories – July 2013

People queuing in front of job agency © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

June 2013: Euro area unemployment rate at 12.1% - EU27 at 10.9%


The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in June 2013, stable compared with May. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.9%, down from 11.0% in May.


EU patent sign on map of Europe © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission fills legal gaps for unitary patent protection


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.


Aerial view of an earthquake zone © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Making the EU Solidarity Fund faster and simpler for support after disasters


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.


Euro banknote and coins © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Fighting fraud: Annual report underlines need for strong measures to protect EU budget


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.


Soldiers holding EU flag © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Towards a more competitive and efficient European defence and security sector


The European Commission has presented a Communication which contains an Action Plan to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Europe’s defence and security sector. The Communication foresees measures to strengthen the internal market for defence, to promote a more competitive defence industry and to foster synergies between civil and military research.


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New rules on Payment Services for the benefit of consumers and retailers


The Regulation on interchange fees, combined with the revised Payment Services Directive, will introduce maximum levels of interchange fees for transactions based on consumer debit and credit cards and ban surcharges on these types of cards.


Computer and shopping carts © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Consumer Scoreboard: more action needed for a true single market for consumers


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.


Justice symbol and European flag © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission proposes European Public Prosecutor's Office and reinforces OLAF procedural guarantees


The European Commission is taking action to improve Union-wide prosecution of criminals who defraud EU taxpayers by establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office.


Pen on graph © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

June 2013: Euro area annual inflation up to 1.6%, EU up to 1.7%


Euro area annual inflation was 1.6% in June 2013, up from 1.4% in May. A year earlier the rate was 2.4%. Monthly inflation was 0.1% in June 2013.


From left to right: Ms. Maria DAMANAKI, Member of the European Commission; Mr Vigilijus JUKNA, Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture © EUpdf

Main results of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council


As regards agriculture, there was a public debate on the state of play on the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package. Concerning fisheries issues, ministers reached an agreement for a full general approach on a proposal for the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) within the framework of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform package.


Food and bottles in shopping basket © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Environment: What future for our food system?


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.


An underwater turbine © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Improving governance of the marine space: an opportunity for Blue Growth in the Mediterranean sea


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.


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European higher education in the world


The European Commission launches a new strategy, 'European higher education in the world', aiming to ensure European graduates gain the international skills they need to work anywhere in the world and that Europe remains the most attractive destination for international students.


Scientist and representation of atoms © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

EU and industry join forces to invest €22 billion in research and innovation


The European Commission, EU Member States and European industry will invest more than €22 billion over the next seven years in innovation for sectors that deliver high quality jobs.


Michel Barnier © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission proposes Single Resolution Mechanism for the Banking Union


The mechanism would complement the Single Supervisory Mechanism which, once operational in late 2014, will see the European Central Bank (ECB) directly supervise banks in the euro area and in other Member States which decide to join the Banking Union.


Ships at sea with compass design in water © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Blue Belt: Commission eases customs formalities for ships


The Commission has set out plans to ease custom formalities for ships – reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive.


Flags in front of the EP building © EU

Things we learnt in the July plenary


Croatia was welcomed as the 28th member state in another eventful plenary, while Lithuania replaced Ireland at the helm of the European Union. Parliament voted in favour of Latvia joining the eurozone, gave the green light to a political deal on the EU's long-term budget and selected Emily O'Reilly as the first woman to be EU ombudsman.


The ECB building © EU

European Central Bank keeps interest rates unchanged


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 0.50%, 1.00% and 0.00% respectively.


Cyber attacks © EU

Cyber attacks: Parliament adopts stricter EU-wide penalties


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.


Viviane Reding at the EP © EU

Parliament to launch in-depth inquiry into US surveillance programmes


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.


Syringe, vaccine © EU

Pandemics: EU strengthens its alert and response system


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.


Euro coins © EU

Small investors to be shielded against reckless risk taking by investment funds


Small investors should be better protected against investment funds that take excessive or unnecessary risks with their money, thanks to a draft law approved by a show of hands. The law clarifies who is liable for mismanagement of funds and tailors fund managers' remuneration rules to encourage them to take reasonable risks and a long-run view.


Motorcyclists © EU

Parliament includes motorbikes in updated vehicle check rules


Parliament called on for updated rules on vehicle checks that improve road safety to extend regular inspections to motorbikes and to some trailers and caravans, making roadside checks on commercial vehicles more efficient and risk-based and streamlining the rules on vehicle documents.


Johannes Hahn © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Europe's Macroregional Experiment: the first Evaluation


The European Commission has published the first study to weigh up the success of the EU's two macro-regional strategies and to provide recommendations for the future.


Men at work © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

May 2013: Euro area unemployment rate at 12.1%, EU27 at 10.9%


The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in May 2013, up from 12.0% in April. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable compared with the previous month. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with May 2012, when they were 11.3% and 10.4% respectively.