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Stories – March 2014

Road safety: Second good year in a row puts Europe firmly on track towards target Choose translations of the previous link 

Siim Kallas © EU

31/03/2014

Statistics, Transport and travel

2013 is the second year in a row that saw an impressive decrease in the number of people killed on Europe's roads. According to preliminary figures, the number of road fatalities has decreased by 8% compared to 2012, following the 9% decrease between 2011 and 2012.

 

March infringements package: main decisions Choose translations of the previous link 

Gavel on table © EU

28/03/2014

Institutional affairs, Justice and citizens rights

The Commission has taken 139 decisions, including 11 reasoned opinions and 3 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice.

 

March 2014: Business and Consumers surveysChoose translations of the previous link 

Graph showing the ESI indicator © EU

28/03/2014

Business, Economy, finance, tax and competition

In March the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 1.2 points in the euro area (to 102.4), while remaining broadly flat in the EU (a marginal increase by 0.3 points to 105.3). The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area remained broadly unchanged (at +0.39).

 

Commission roadmap to meet the long-term financing needs of the European economyChoose translations of the previous link 

Michel Barnier © EU

27/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition

The European Commission has adopted a package of measures to stimulate new and different ways of unlocking long-term financing and support Europe's return to sustainable economic growth.

 

Neighbourhood at the crossroads – taking stock of a year of challenges Choose translations of the previous link 

Stethoscope on Globe © EU

27/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs

Although 2013 has been a year of crises in some of its partners, reflecting political instability and difficult socio-economic conditions, the EU has continued to support efforts to enhance democratic governance, build security and support sustainable and inclusive development.

 

EU-US Summit

Handshake between Herman van Rompuy, Barack Obama and José Manuel Barroso © EU

26/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs

Meeting at the occasion of the EU US Brussels summit, Herman Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso, and President Barack Obama discussed the strong EU-US partnership, International foreign policy, the crisis in Ukraine and key global challenges.

 

Pushing for consumer safety. 10th anniversary of Europe’s Rapid alert system on dangerous products Choose translations of the previous link 

Neven Mimica © EU

25/03/2014

Environment, consumers and health

For 10 years the EU Rapid Information system (RAPEX) has been guarding European consumers against un-safe non-food products. In 2013 a total of 2,364 measures were taken by EU Member States.

 

Organics: Commission proposal for more and better Choose translations of the previous link 

Woman tending to organic plants © EU

25/03/2014

Agriculture, fisheries and food

The European Commission has published new proposals for a new Regulation on organic production and the labelling of organic products. Consumer and producer concerns are at the heart of this new proposal, which seeks to address shortcomings of the current system.

 

Council debates renewed measures to promote EU agricultural products

Mr Athanasios Tsaftaris, Mr Dacian Ciolos and Ms. Maria Damanaki © EU

24/03/2014

Agriculture, fisheries and food

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council discussed the promotion of agricultural products and labelling of origin for meat products.

 

Council adopts new rules on the taxation of savings income pdf

Binoculars with one euro coins © EU

24/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition

The Council adopted a directive strengthening EU rules on the exchange of information on savings incomes, aimed at enabling the member states to better clamp down on tax fraud and tax evasion.

 

European Council focuses on Ukraine crisis and further sanctions

European Council family photo © EU

21/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs, Institutional affairs

Meeting in the European Council on 20-21 March, EU leaders discussed the Ukraine crisis and also addressed economic issues, industrial competitiveness and climate and energy.

 

Commission clarifies EU rules for public passenger transport by rail and by road Choose translations of the previous link 

High speed train © EU

21/03/2014

Transport and travel

The rules determine how public authorities across Europe may contract for the provision of public transport services by rail, metro, tram or bus, how to award these contracts and how to compensate for public service obligations.

 

A decisive step towards the banking union

Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Yannis Stournaras © EU

20/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition

On 20 March the Council, represented by the Greek Presidency, has reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on the single resolution mechanism regulation.

 

EU leaders and social partners stress need to rebuild confidence in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 

José Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy © EU

20/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition, Employment and social rights

The Summit agreed on the need for further collective efforts to pursue sustainable economic growth, while ensuring social cohesion and quality employment.

 

EU/Ukraine: Commission proposes a further €1 billion in macro-financial assistanceChoose translations of the previous link 

EU flag in front of Commission building © EU

19/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs

The new MFA programme, expected to be approved by the EU's Council of Ministers in the coming weeks, is part of the package of support to Ukraine announced by the European Commission on 5 March and endorsed by the European Council on 6 March.

 

Commission says yes to first successful European Citizens' InitiativeChoose translations of the previous link 

EU flag and crowd of people in the background

19/03/2014

Environment, consumers and health, Justice and citizens rights

Organisers of the Right2Water ECI called on the Commission to ensure that all EU citizens enjoy the right to water and  sanitation, to exclude water supply and management of water resources from internal market rules and liberalisation, and to increase its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation around the world.

 

Main results of the General Affairs Council pdf

Dimitrios Kourkoulas and Evangelos Venizelos © EU

18/03/2014

Institutional affairs

The Council established the European voluntary humanitarian aid corps. This initiative provided for in the Lisbon Treaty will provide thorough training to volunteers and place them in humanitarian organisations, based on the needs of beneficiaries.

 

Council condemns the illegal referendum in Crimea

Catherine Ashton © EU

17/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs

Meeting today in the foreign Affairs Council, EU Ministers strongly condemned the referendum in Crimea and did not recognise its outcome. They also decided to introduce an additional set of measures against 21 officials responsible for actions threatening Ukraine's territorial integrity.

 

The 2014 EU Justice Scoreboard: Towards more effective justice systems in the EU Choose translations of the previous link 

Viviane Reding © EU

17/03/2014

Justice and citizens rights

Following the first edition in 2013, the 2014 European Justice Scoreboard will continue to assist Member States and the EU in achieving more effective justice systems, and hence contribute to fostering economic growth in the Union.

 

February 2014: Euro area annual inflation down to 0.7% - EU down to 0.8% Choose translations of the previous link 

Pen on graph © EU

17/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition, Statistics

Euro area annual inflation was 0.7% in February 20142, down from 0.8% in January. A year earlier the rate was 1.8%. Monthly inflation was 0.3% in February 2014.

 

Council agrees its position on key rail proposals

A train © EU

14/03/2014

Transport and travel

Transport ministers adopted the Council's position on the proposal giving new tasks to the European Railway Agency and on the Shift2Rail proposal.

 

Things we learnt in plenary: Ukraine, data protection, Troika

European Parliament building in Strasbourg © EU

14/03/2014

Institutional affairs

The crisis in Ukraine and an update of EU data protection legislation were two of the main topics during the March plenary session in Strasbourg. MEPs also concluded the assessment of the Troika's work during the financial crisis and adopted tougher rules to fight money laundering.

 

MEPs push for common charger for all mobile phones

Mobile phones on display © EU

13/03/2014

Science and technology

A common charger should be developed for all mobile phones sold in the EU, to reduce waste, costs and hassle for users, said MEPs voting on an update to EU radio equipment laws.

 

European Parliament calls on Russia to withdraw military forces from Ukraine

MEPs in plenary meeting room in Strasbourg © EU

13/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs

Russia must immediately withdraw all its military forces from Ukrainian territory, say MEPs in a resolution.

 

Traders at work © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission adopts nine Regulatory Technical Standards to implement the single rule book in banking

13/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition

The nine RTS adopted today define the ways in which competent authorities and market participants must, inter alia, handle disclosures linked to securitisation instruments, measure potential losses from derivative positions and counterparty failure.

 

Tourists on beach © EU

MEPs vote to extend protection for package holiday travelers

12/03/2014

Environment, consumers and health, Transport and travel

Holidaymakers putting together their own package holidays from travel services sold on the internet or elsewhere need extra protection, as they are unlikely to get the same all-in cover as those buying from traditional travel agents, say MEPs.

 

Hand typing on laptop keyboard © EU

MEPs tighten up rules to protect personal data in the digital era

12/03/2014

Justice and citizens rights, Science and technology

MEPs inserted stronger safeguards for EU citizens’ personal data that gets transferred to non-EU countries in a major overhaul of the EU’s data protection laws voted on Wednesday.

 

Council updates its position on the single resolution mechanism

Council updates its position on the single resolution mechanism

12/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition

The Council adjusted the mandate given to the presidency for negotiations with the European Parliament on the establishment of a single resolution board and a single fund for the resolution of banks.

 

Justice statue and European flag © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

European Commission presents a framework to safeguard the rule of law in the European Union

11/03/2014

Justice and citizens rights

The new rule of law framework will be complementary to infringement procedures - when EU law has been breached – and to the so-called 'Article 7 procedure' of the Lisbon Treaty which, at its most severe, allows for the suspension of voting rights in case of a "serious and persistent breach" of EU values by a Member State. 

 

Rows of cars © EU

MEPs back new common standards for vehicle checks

11/03/2014

Transport and travel

A deal with EU member states on minimum common standards for periodic vehicle inspections, vehicle registration documents and roadside inspections of commercial vehicles was endorsed by MEPs.

 

Rows of 5 euro notes © EU

Parliament toughens up anti-money laundering rules

11/03/2014

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

The ultimate owners of companies and trusts would have to be listed in public registers in EU countries, under draft anti-money laundering rules voted by Parliament.

 

European Central Bank building in Frankfurt © EU

European Central Bank keeps interest rates unchanged

06/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition, Statistics

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.

 

Olli Rehn © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Commission concludes in-depth reviews to identify macroeconomic imbalances and assesses progress in fiscal consolidation

05/03/2014

Economy, finance, tax and competition

The European Commission has published its conclusions emerging from the in-depth reviews (IDRs) carried out into 17 Member States' economies.

 

Customs officer removing boxes from container © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

EU proposes responsible trading strategy for minerals from conflict zones

05/03/2014

Business, External relations and foreign affairs

The package of measures will make it more difficult for armed groups in conflict-affected and high-risk areas to finance their activities through the mining of and trade in minerals.

 

Mr Gunther Oettinger and Mr Giannis Maniatis © EU

Council debates rising energy prices and costs in Europe

04/03/2014

Energy and natural resources

Energy ministers discussed the impact of rising energy costs and prices on European consumers and on the EU's industrial competitiveness.

 

Janusz Lewandowski © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

Final "simplification scoreboard": 120 measures to cut red tape on EU funding

04/03/2014

Business, Economy, finance, tax and competition, Regions and local development

The Commission has adopted its Final Simplification Scoreboard: over 120 measures to simplify the EU funding rules for Europe's businesses, towns, regions, scientists and NGOs.

 

Justus Lipsius building in Brussels © EU

EU condemns Russia's actions in Ukraine, calls for dialogue and remains ready for further measures

03/03/2014

External relations and foreign affairs

The EU ministers of foreign affairs held an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on the situation in Ukraine.