Stories – September 2013

Discussion at the Council meeting room © EU

Council discusses cohesion policy package 2014-2020


The General Affairs Council held an exchange of views on the cohesion policy package for 2014-2020. During their discussions, ministers addressed issues at the heart of talks with the European Parliament and the Commission.


From left to right: Benoît Battistelli, Michel Barnier and António Campinos © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Study indicates that roughly 35% of jobs in the EU rely on IPR-intensive industries


The European Commission welcomed the publication of a study on Intellectual Property Rights, which was carried out jointly by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).


Court of Justice of the European Union © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

September infringements package: main decisions


The Commission has taken 220 decisions, including 32 reasoned opinions and 6 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.


Students talking and looking at laptop © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission launches 'Opening up Education' to boost innovation and digital skills in schools and universities


The European Commission unveils 'Opening up Education', an action plan to tackle this and other digital problems which are hampering schools and universities from delivering high quality education and the digital skills which 90% of jobs will require by 2020.


Worker in woodwork shop © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Without a strong industrial base, Europe's economy cannot prosper


The two industrial Competitiveness reports published by the European Commission highlight that Member States have made progress in improving the business environment, exports and sustainability. However, many problems still remain.


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

ERA progress report: 'single market' for research closer, not yet a reality


The report provides a factual base for assessing progress in target areas like open and fair recruitment of researchers or better circulation of scientific knowledge


Binoculars with one euro coins © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Fight against fraud: new study confirms billions lost in VAT gap


An estimated €193 billion in VAT revenues (1.5% of GDP) was lost due to non-compliance or non-collection in 2011, according to a new study on the VAT Gap in Member States.


Michel Barnier © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

New measures to restore confidence in benchmarks following LIBOR and EURIBOR scandals


The new rules will enhance the robustness and reliability of benchmarks, facilitate the prevention and detection of their manipulation and clarify responsibility for and the supervision of benchmarks by the authorities.


Viviane Reding © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

European Commission takes decisive action against legal highs


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.


Rolls of euro coins © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

August 2013: Euro area annual inflation down to 1.3%, EU down to 1.5%


Euro area inflation was 1.3% in August, down from 1.6% in July. A year earlier the rate was 2.6%. Monthly inflation was 0.1% in August 2013.


Plenary meeting room in Strasbourg © EU

Things we learnt in the September plenary


Commission President José Manuel Barroso delivered his State of the Union address and debated with MEPs about the EU's future. In response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, MEPs called for a coordinated EU approach, not excluding deterrent measures if political and diplomatic ones fail.


View on the financial district in Frankfurt/Germany © EU

Green light for single supervisor for banks


MEPs gave their green light to the EU bank supervision system which will bring some 150 of the EU's largest banks under the European Central Bank's direct oversight from September 2014.


A pile of passports © EU

Parliament backs rules allowing suspension of visa-free travel only as a last resort


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.

  • Different files and file with EU symbol © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Employment: over 6000 entrepreneurs have received Progress Microfinance loans to start or expand their business


    More than 6000 entrepreneurs have already benefitted from loans worth a total of close to €50 million under the European Progress Microfinance Facility, according to the third annual report on this EU instrument.


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    Commission proposes major step forward for telecoms single market


    The “Connected Continent” legislative package, when adopted, will reduce consumer charges, simplify red tape faced by companies, and bring a range of new rights for both users and service providers, so that Europe can once again be a global digital leader.


    President Barroso at the European Parliament © EU

    President Barroso delivers State of Union address


    President Barroso set out his vision for the EU in the year to come in the fourth annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It was followed by a debate with MEPs and political leaders.


    Traders at work © EU

    Tougher sanctions for financial markets manipulation


    New rules imposing tougher sanctions for manipulating financial markets, insider dealing or abuse of inside information were voted by the Parliament. These rules will also cover a wider range of trading venues and financial instruments than today's rules and they will apply directly in all member states, which should ensure a high level of investor protection in the EU.


    A container handler at the Port of Rotterdam © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Making better use of Europe's waterways


    The Commission announced new measures to get more freight onto Europe's rivers and canals. Barges are amongst the most climate-friendly and energy efficient forms of transport but currently they only carry about 6% of European cargo each year.


    Plants on dry ground © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Environment: New EU action to protect biodiversity against problematic invasive species


    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.


    ECB building and EU symbol © 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.


    Commissioner Barnier at the press conference © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Commission’s roadmap for tackling the risks inherent in shadow banking


    The Commission has adopted a communication on shadow banking and proposed new rules for money market funds (MMFs). The communication is a follow-up to last year's Green Paper on Shadow Banking. It summarises the work undertaken so far by the Commission and sets out possible further actions in this important area.


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    Trade protectionism still on rise across the world


    In a report released today, the European Commission identified about 150 new trade restrictions introduced over the last year, whereas only 18 existing measures have been dismantled.