In response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the EU is contributing humanitarian aid, expertise, international coordination and longer-term development assistance.
Fast facts, background information, progress and more in depth information on main EU issues
Employment and social rights, Statistics
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.2% in September 2013, stable compared with August. The EU28 unemployment rate was 11%, also stable compared with August.
This is the first of a new series of annual publications providing statistical analyses related to important European Commission policy frameworks or other phenomena in society.
At their meeting on 24-25 October 2013, EU leaders discussed the digital economy, economic and social policy, the Economic and Monetary Union, the Eastern Partnership and migration flows. They also issued a statement on recent developments concerning possible intelligence issues.
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.
Economy, finance, tax and competition, Institutional affairs
Parliament reversed the Council's proposed cuts in research and employment expenditure in 2014 in a plenary vote in Strasbourg. MEPs also reversed cuts in funding for international policy, such as humanitarian aid to the Middle East and Syrian refugees and added funds for the external border control agency Frontex.
Business, Economy, finance, tax and competition
A new standard VAT return, which can cut costs for EU businesses by up to €15 billion a year, has been proposed by the Commission. The aim of this initiative is to slash red-tape for businesses, ease tax compliance and make tax administrations across the Union more efficient.
External relations and foreign affairs, Institutional affairs
The Council adopted a regulation establishing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and agreed to confirm the EU common position for the opening of chapter 22 on regional policy and coordination of structural instruments with Turkey.
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.
The 30th Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law shows how Member States are performing in applying EU law. There were fewer infringements open at the end of 2012 than previous years. The number of cases in problem solving mechanisms such as EU Pilot increased.
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.
External relations and foreign affairs
The Foreign Affairs Council focussed on EU trade issues, including mandates for investment agreement negotiations with China and with ASEAN countries.
Business, External relations and foreign affairs
Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have today reached a political agreement on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after months of intense negotiations between EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and Canadian trade Minister Ed Fast.
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.
The Commission has taken 108 decisions, including 12 reasoned opinions and 5 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.
Transport and travel
In the most radical overhaul of EU infrastructure policy since its inception in the 1980s, the Commission has published new maps showing the nine major corridors which will act as a backbone for transportation in Europe's single market and revolutionise East–West connections.
External relations and foreign affairs
In a set of annual reports, the European Commission recommends granting EU candidate status to Albania and, for the fifth time in a row, the opening of accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Economy, finance, tax and competition, Statistics
Euro area annual inflation was 1.1% in September, down from 1.3% in August. A year earlier the rate was 2.6%. Monthly inflation was 0.5% in September 2013.
Economy, finance, tax and competition
The Council adopted regulations creating a single supervisory mechanism for the oversight of banks and other credit institutions, thus establishing the first "pillar" of Europe's banking union.
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.
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.
These "projects of common interest" (PCI) will benefit from accelerated licensing procedures and improved regulatory conditions and may have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility, under which a €5.85 billion budget has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-20.
In a session marked by the tragedy off the coast of Lampedusa, Parliament held a minute of silence for the victims and then debated with the Commission how to improve how refugees are received in the EU.
The Council agreed its general approach on new railway safety rules. The revised directive, a recast of the 2004 railway safety directive known as the '4th railway package', proposes centralised safety certificatication for EU rail operators.
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.
A virtual professional qualifications card, to make it easier for doctors, pharmacists, architects and other professionals to move to and practice in another EU country will be introduced by a new draft law voted by Parliament.
New rules on maximum flight times for pilots and cabin crew should now be adopted by the European Commission, as a resolution calling on it to withdraw them was voted down in Parliament's plenary session.
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.
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.
One in five adults in Europe have low literacy and numeracy skills, and even a university degree in the same subject is no guarantee of the same level of skills in different countries, according to the first comprehensive international Survey of Adult Skills published by the OECD and European Commission.
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.
The support, under the European Solidarity Fund, still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Providing it is, it will help to contribute to the emergency costs incurred by the public authorities in these four member states because of the disasters.
The European Commission has launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to share their views about crowdfunding: its potential benefits, risks, and the design of an optimal policy framework to untap the potential of this new form of financing.
The Commission sets out in a very concrete way, policy area by policy area, where it will take further action to simplify or withdraw EU laws, ease the burden on businesses and ensure that implementation is becoming lighter.
The European Commission has proposed to create a new scoreboard to allow for better and earlier identification of major employment and social problems in the framework of the European Semester, the EU's yearly economic policy-making cycle.
The European Commission has adopted a communication announcing the start of an evaluation of national regulations on access to professions.
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.0% in August 2013, stable compared with July. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.9%, also stable compared with July.