Stories – December 2013

EU flags in front of European Council building © EUpdf

December summit – Council Conclusions


Institutional affairs

The European Council held a thematic debate on defence. It identified priority actions for stronger cooperation. The European Council welcomed the general approach reached by the Council on the Single Resolution Mechanism, which will be a cornerstone of the Banking Union.


Row of cows © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission tables proposals on animal cloning and novel food


Agriculture, fisheries and food, Environment, consumers and health

The European Commission has adopted three draft laws on animal cloning and on novel food which will provide legal certainty in this field. Two proposals will ban the use of the cloning technique in the EU for farm animals1 and the imports of these animal clones.


Janez Potočnik © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

New policy package to clean up Europe's air


Environment, consumers and health

The clean air policy package updates existing legislation and further reduces harmful emissions from industry, traffic, energy plants and agriculture, with a view to reducing their impact on human health and the environment.


Mr Stefan FULE, Member of the European Commission; Mr Linas LINKEVICIUS, Lithuanian Minister for Foreign Affairs © EUpdf

Main results of the General Affairs Council


External relations and foreign affairs, Institutional affairs

The Council discussed enlargement and the stabilisation and association process. "Enlargement remains a key policy of our Union" said Linas Linkevičius, the President of the Council after the meeting.


Dacian Ciolos and Vigilijus Junka © EUpdf

Main results of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council


Agriculture, fisheries and food

The Council adopted the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package and transitional CAP measures for 2014 following a first-reading agreement with the European Parliament. Concerning fisheries, the ministers reached a political agreement on fishing opportunities 2014 for certain fish stocks in the Black Sea.


Antonio Tajani © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

European SMEs getting greener, contributing to a resource-efficient economy


Business, Economy, finance, tax and competition

Compared to last year, European SMEs are becoming more resource efficient and are contributing substantially to the transition towards a low-carbon economy, according to the results of the 2013 Eurobarometer survey on "SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets".


Catherine Ashton at the press conference © EU

Ukraine protests and humanitarian issues discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council


External relations and foreign affairs

Foreign Affairs ministers discussed a wide range of issues, including the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and recent events in Ukraine.


Siim Kallas © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

EU triples funding for rail innovation


Transport and travel

The European Commission adopted "Shift2Rail", a new public-private partnership to invest just under €1 billion in research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways.


People sorting parcels in warehouse © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission presents roadmap for completing the single market for parcel delivery


Business, Economy, finance, tax and competition

The Commission has adopted a communication on completing the single market for parcel delivery to boost e-commerce in the EU, and to ensure that e-retailers and consumers have access to affordable and high-quality parcel delivery services.


Fishing boat © EU

Council discusses invasive alien species and CO2 emissions from ships


Environment, consumers and health

The EU environment ministers discussed a draft regulation on invasive alien species and a draft regulation on CO2 emissions from maritime transport.

  • Man and woman holding folders © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Commission proposes best practices to reduce the social impact of restructuring


    Business, Employment and social rights

    Best practices for anticipating company restructuring and minimising their impact on workers and social conditions have been outlined by the European Commission in the form of an EU Quality Framework for anticipation of Change and Restructuring.


    Stethoscope on Globe © EU

    Council discusses development policy


    External relations and foreign affairs

    The Foreign Affairs Council dedicated to development issues decided to resume development cooperation with the Republic of Guinea. It also discussed the post-2015 agenda and policy coherence for development.


    Mr Günther Oettinger and Mr Jaroslav Neverovič © EUpdf

    Main results of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council


    Energy and natural resources, Transport and travel

    The Council endorsed a report on the progress on the completion of the EU internal energy market, and a report on the review of developments on the external dimension of the EU energy policy in the follow-up to the European Council of 22 May 2013.


    Person sorting banknotes at cash machine © EU

    Basic bank accounts for all


    Economy, finance, tax and competition

    Anyone legally residing in the EU should have the right to open a basic payment account, and this right should not be denied on grounds of nationality or place of residence, said MEPs voting on draft EU legislation.


    Máire Geoghegan-Quinn © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Horizon 2020 launched with €15 billion over first two years


    Science and technology

    The European Commission has for the first time presented calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union's €80 billion research and innovation programme.


    Commissioner Michel Barnier and Rimantas Šadžius, Lithuanian Minister of Finance © EUpdf

    Main results of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council


    Economy, finance, tax and competition

    The Council updated its position on bank recovery and resolution and deposit guarantee schemes in the light of on-going negotiations with the European Parliament.


    Water bomber plane in action © EU

    Parliament backs stronger EU disaster response


    Environment, consumers and health, External relations and foreign affairs

    New rules upgrading the EU's civil protection mechanism, which coordinates the EU's response to natural and man-made disasters such as earthquakes, oil spills or forest fires, were backed by MEPs.


    Inspector verifies size of a fish © EU

    Green light for new sustainable EU fisheries policy from 2014


    Agriculture, fisheries and food

    The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform package, including measures to halt overfishing and a ban on discarding fish at sea, Parliament's key aims, was approved in a final plenary vote.


    Person using smartphone © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    EU extends the use of electronic devices on planes


    The EU's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has updated its guidance on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers.


    Ms. Viviane REDING, Vice President of the European Commission; Mr Juozas BERNATONIS, Lithuanian Minister of Home Affairs © EUpdf

    Main results of the Justice and Home Affairs Council


    Home affairs ministers took note of the communication provided by the European Commission on the free movement of EU citizens and their families and concluded that work will continue in cooperation with the member states on the basis of the five actions outlined in the communication.


    Euro coins and banknotes © 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 0.25%, 0.75% and 0.00% respectively.


    Cecilia Malmström © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Lampedusa follow up: concrete actions to prevent loss of life in the Mediterranean


    The Commission is proposing ways to increase solidarity and mutual support in order to prevent migrants' death in the Mediterranean.


    László Andor © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

    Commission proposes standards to improve quality of traineeships


    The proposal for a Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships would in particular call on Member States to ensure that national law or practice respects the principles set out in the guidelines, and to adapt their legislation where necessary.


    Mr Evaldas GUSTAS, Lithuanian Minister for Economy © EUpdf

    Council adopts "Horizon 2020": the EU's research and innovation programme for 2014-2020


    Horizon 2020 will replace the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7), which runs until the end of 2013. Compared with FP7, the new programme is expected to further eliminate fragmentation in the fields of scientific research and innovation.


    Euro banknotes © EUpdf

    Council adopts the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020


    Today's decision marks the end of two and a half years of negotiations and allows the new generation of EU spending programmes to be implemented as from 1 January 2014.