Stories – October 2013

Man looking window in job agency © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Euro area unemployment rate at 12.2% - EU28 at 11.0%


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.


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A comprehensive source of information to support the Europe 2020 strategy


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.


European Council family photo © EU

European Council: focus on the digital economy


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.


MEPs call for suspension of EU-US bank data deal in response to NSA snooping

USB cable © EU


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.


Euro notes on European flag © EU

Budget 2014: Parliament reverses Council cuts in research and jobs expenditure


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.


Algirdas Šemeta © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Standard VAT Return: Easing life for businesses and improving tax compliance


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.


Maroš Šefčovič and Linas Linkevicius © EUpdf

Main results of the General Affairs Council


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.


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Medical implants: better controls and traceability to ensure patients’ safety


Stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full compliance and traceability of medical devices such as breast or hip implants were agreed by Parliament.


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The 2012 performance of EU Member States in applying EU law


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.


Cecilia Malmström © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Time for stronger EU action against gun violence


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.


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EU and Canada strike trade deal


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.


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Water pollution is decreasing but a lot remains to be done


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.


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October infringements package: main decisions


The Commission has taken 108 decisions, including 12 reasoned opinions and 5 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.


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Transport: New EU infrastructure policy


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.


Štefan Füle © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

EU enlargement: priorities for 2014


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.


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September 2013: Euro area annual inflation down to 1.1% - EU down to 1.3%


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.


Connie Hedegaard and Valentinas Mazuronis © EUpdf

Main results of the Environment Council


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.


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Women on Boards: Share of Women up to 16.6% as European Parliament Committees back Commission proposal


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.


Günther Oettinger © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission unveils list of 250 infrastructure projects that may qualify for €5,85 billion of funding


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.


European Parliament building in Strasbourg © EU

Things we learnt in Strasbourg: Lampedusa, Sakharov prize, smoking and extremism


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.


Siim Kallas and Mr Rimantas Sinkevicius © EU

Council agrees on railway safety and debates improved EU rules on air passenger rights


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.


Security agents watching monitors © EU

EU border surveillance: MEPs approve Eurosur operating rules


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.


Woman searching newspaper © EU

MEPs pave the way for greater professional mobility in the EU


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.


Airplane landing © EU

Parliament votes not to oppose Commission measures on flight time limitations


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.


Cecilia Malmstrom and Alfonsas Barakauskas © EUpdf

Main results of the Justice and Home Affairs Council


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.


Cigarette packets © EU

Tobacco: larger warnings, flavours banned, e-cigarettes regulated


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.


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Survey on adult skills highlights need to improve education and training


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.


Close up of gavel on table © EUpdf

Council adopts the directive on the right of access to a lawyer


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.


Johannes Hahn © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission moves to help Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Romania after flood and drought disasters


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.


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Crowdfunding in the EU - exploring the added value of potential EU action


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.


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"Fit for growth" – Commission takes ambitious next steps to make EU law lighter


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.


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The future of the Economic and Monetary Union: Commission proposes ideas to deepen social integration


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.


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European Commission and Member States to assess barriers restricting access to regulated professions


The European Commission has adopted a communication announcing the start of an evaluation of national regulations on access to professions.


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Euro area unemployment rate at 12.0% - EU28 at 10.9%


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.