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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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

High speed train © EU


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.


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


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


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


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.


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

Viviane Reding © EU


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


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.


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

European Parliament building in Strasbourg © EU


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Janusz Lewandowski © EUChoose translations of the previous link 

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


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.