Stories – February 2014

View of MEPs voting during Strasbourg plenary session © EU

Things we learnt in plenary: Ukraine, CO2 reductions, regulating tobacco


Institutional affairs

The situation in Ukraine was extensively debated by MEPs during February's second plenary session in Strasbourg that took place on 24-27 February. MEPs also approved measures to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars and vans and ways to discourage young people from taking up smoking.


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Gender Pay Gap stagnates at 16.4% across Europe


Justice and citizens rights

Women in Europe still work 59 days ‘for free’ – this is what the latest figures released today by the European Commission show.


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

Euro area unemployment rate at 12.0% - EU28 at 10.8%


Employment and social rights, Statistics

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.0% in January 2014, stable since October 2013. It was also 12.0% in January 2013. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.8% in January 2014, stable since October 2013.


MEPs displaying Ukrainian and European flags during plenary session © EU

Ukraine: MEPs urge EU to help financial rescue, but enact targeted sanctions too


External relations and foreign affairs

The EU must help Ukraine with urgent financial aid while enforcing targeted sanctions against those responsible for violence there, say MEPs in a resolution.


View of two trains © EU

Parliament counts on increased competition to improve passenger rail services


Transport and travel

Competition to provide better rail passenger services should warm up under draft rules voted in the European Parliament.


Cigarette packets © EU

Tobacco Directive: Parliament approves plans to deter young people from smoking


Environment, consumers and health

Draft legislation updating the EU Tobacco Directive to make tobacco products less attractive to young people was endorsed by MEPs.


Traffic jam on motorway © EU

Parliament backs law to cut car CO2 emissions


Environment, consumers and health, Transport and travel

New rules designed to achieve the CO2 emission reduction target of 95g/km for new cars by 2020 were endorsed by Parliament.


Smuggled goods seized by customs officers © EU

New rules make it easier to confiscate crooks’ assets across the EU


Justice and citizens rights

Rules to make it easier for national authorities to freeze and confiscate crooks' assets across the EU were approved by Parliament.


Olli Rehn © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Winter 2014 forecast: Recovery gaining ground


Economy, finance, tax and competition, Statistics

The European Commission's winter forecast foresees a continuation of the economic recovery in most Member States and in the EU as a whole. After exiting recession in spring 2013 and three consecutive quarters of subdued recovery, the outlook is for a moderate step-up in economic growth.


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January 2014: Euro area annual inflation stable at 0.8% - EU down to 0.9%


Economy, finance, tax and competition, Statistics

Euro area annual inflation was 0.8% in January 2014, stable compared to December 2013. A year earlier the rate was 2.0%. Monthly inflation was -1.1% in January 2014.


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February infringements package: main decisions


Institutional affairs

The Commission has taken 121 decisions, including 18 reasoned opinions and 8 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.


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Commission presents new European strategy to promote coastal and maritime tourism


Regions and local development, Transport and travel

Recognising the sector's potential for sustainable growth and job creation, the strategy outlines 14 EU actions to help coastal regions and businesses tackle the challenges they face and strengthen the sector's position as a key driver of Europe's blue economy.


Workers and machinery in factory © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

2013 industrial structure report highlights need for industrial renaissance



According to a European Commission report on the current status of EU industry, most sectors have still not regained their pre-crisis level of output and significant differences exist between sectors and Member States.


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The €63 billion app boom. Nearly 5 million jobs in European app sector by 2018, says EU report


Economy, finance, tax and competition, Science and technology

The EU's app sector has gone from zero to digital superhero in less than five years. By 2018 it could employ 4.8 million people and contribute €63 billion to the EU economy according to a report presented in Brussels.


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Commission to pursue role as honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance


Science and technology

In the wake of large-scale Internet surveillance and reduced trust in the internet, the European Commission proposes a key reform to the way the Internet is managed and run.


Queue of vehicles on motorway © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

New connected car standards put Europe into top gear


Science and technology, Transport and travel

Two European standards organisations, ETSI and CEN, confirmed that the basic set of standards requested by the European Commission to make connected cars a reality has been fully completed.


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European Cybercrime Centre – one year on


Justice and citizens rights, Science and technology

What are the main future cybercrime threats on the horizon? And how has the European Cybercrime Center (EC3) contributed to protect European citizens and businesses since its launch in January 2013? These questions are at the core of an EC3 report presented today.


European Parliament building in Strasbourg © EU

Things we learnt in plenary: insider trading, LGBTI rights, Italian president


Institutional affairs

MEPs voted to make the recognition of official documents easier in another EU member state during the 3-6 February plenary session, backed rules to punish manipulators of financial markets and urged an EU-wide strategy to combat homophobia and protect the rights of LGBTI people.


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Commission proposes stronger cooperation with non-EU countries on VAT


Economy, finance, tax and competition

As part of the intensified battle against tax fraud, the Commission launched the process to start negotiations with Russia and Norway on administrative cooperation agreements in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT).


Person checking airport departures screens © EU

Parliament pushes for enforceable air passenger rights


Justice and citizens rights, Transport and travel

Delayed or stranded air passengers would be likelier to win compensation, and airlines would get clear rules on how to deal with passenger complaints, under a draft law voted by Parliament.


Seasonal worker picking fruit in greenhouse © EU

More rights and better working conditions for non-EU seasonal workers


Employment and social rights

Seasonal workers from outside the EU will be entitled to better working and living conditions, including proper accommodation and a limit on working hours, under a law passed by Parliament.


Headphones with copyright symbol © EU

Copyright: cross-border licences for online music services


Environment, consumers and health, Justice and citizens rights

New rules on music copyright approved by Parliament aim to make it easier for online providers to get licences to stream music in more than one EU country.


Trader and computer screens © EU

Financial market manipulators may face at least four years in jail


Economy, finance, tax and competition, Justice and citizens rights

Judges imposing their countries’ maximum penalties for serious offences such as manipulating the LIBOR benchmark interest rate would have to stipulate at least four years in jail under draft rules approved by Parliament.


Cecilia Malmström © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission unveils first EU Anti-Corruption Report


Justice and citizens rights

The EU Anti-Corruption Report explains the situation in each Member State: what anti-corruption measures are in place, which ones are working well, what could be improved and how.