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 12.1% in October 2013, down from 12.2% in September. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable compared with September.
The European Commission has proposed new rules on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure.
External relations and foreign affairs
The Commission adopted the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) evaluation report and a report on the joint review of the US Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement.
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.
The Council adopted conclusions on effective leadership in education and the global dimension of European higher education. It also held a debate, in public deliberation, on open educational resources and digital learning.
Following a formal warning one year ago, the European Commission intensifies its fight against illegal fishing by identifying Belize, Cambodia and Guinea as non-cooperating third countries.
2013 is likely to mark a turning point for the EU small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The total employment in the EU SMEs is expected to increase by 0.3% and value-added by 1% as compared to 2012.
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.
The proposal will close loopholes in the Parent-Subsidiary Directive, which some companies have been using to escape taxation. In particular, companies will no longer be able to exploit differences in the way intra-group payments are taxed across the EU to avoid paying any tax at all.
Horizon 2020, the EU's €70.2 billion framework programme for research and innovation in 2014-2020, was approved by MEPs.
This new promotion policy, which benefits from a more substantial budget and will in the future be supported by a European executive agency, is intended to act as key for opening up new markets.
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.
The European Commission will support 80 000 children affected by conflict through new humanitarian projects announced today which are supported by the 'EU Children of Peace' initiative.
The Commission has taken 248 decisions, including 58 reasoned opinions and 12 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.
The EU’s new Erasmus+ programme, which will fund grants for students, teachers, trainers and apprentices to study abroad in the EU, was approved by the European Parliament.
The European Commission has proposed to strengthen the position of consumers and businesses in low-value cross-border disputes.
On 15 November the EU finance ministers discussed outstanding questions relating to the creation of the single resolution mechanism.
The European Commission today presented a major package of budgetary surveillance announcements, covering 13 euro area Member States and 3 non-euro Member States, with a special focus also on the euro area as an economic entity in its own right.
Euro area annual inflation was 0.7% in October 2013, down from 1.1% in September. A year earlier the rate was 2.5%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in October 2013.
The new Cinema Communication allows aid for a wider scope of activities, highlights Member States' discretion in defining cultural activities worthy of support, introduces the possibility to give more aid to cross-border productions and promotes film heritage.
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) helped a total of 15 700 workers dismissed due to the economic crisis and the effects of globalisation find new job opportunities in 2012, according to a report today by the European Commission.
The biggest challenge now facing Europe's economy is how to sustain the recovery that is now underway. This is the main message of this year’s Annual Growth Survey (AGS), adopted by the Commission.
On 11 November the Council and the European Parliament agreed on the 2014 EU budget and on the financing of € 400.5 million to redress damages from natural disasters in four member states.
The 7th EU-Republic of Korea summit, which took place in Brussels, celebrated 50 years of bilateral relations between the EU and South Korea. Leaders marked the occasion with the adoption of a joint declaration.
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 will decrease to 0.25% and 0.75% respectively. The interest rate on the deposit facility will remain at 0.00%.
On the 26th September 2013, the General Court of the European Union delivered a ruling finding that the Commission failed to act on a GMO cultivation request which had been submitted twelve years ago in 2001. In line with this ruling, the Commission today acted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers.
In recent months, there have been encouraging signs that an economic recovery is underway in Europe. After contracting up to the first quarter of 2013, the European economy started to grow again in the second quarter and real GDP is set to continue growing in the remainder of this year.
As independent auditor, the ECA has signed off the 2012 accounts of the European Union, as it has done each year since the 2007 financial year. But in most spending areas of the EU budget the report finds that the legislation in force is still not fully complied with.
The European Commission adopted a proposal that requires Member States to reduce their use of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Member States can choose the measures they find most appropriate, including charges, national reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions.