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Commission President José Manuel Barroso delivered his State of the Union address and debated with MEPs about the EU's future. In response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, MEPs called for a coordinated EU approach, not excluding deterrent measures if political and diplomatic ones fail.
MEPs gave their green light to the EU bank supervision system which will bring some 150 of the EU's largest banks under the European Central Bank's direct oversight from September 2014.
Reciprocity rules enabling the EU to reimpose visa requirements for nationals of countries that still impose them on EU citizens were adopted by Parliament, in a revision of the EU visa regulation.
More than 6000 entrepreneurs have already benefitted from loans worth a total of close to €50 million under the European Progress Microfinance Facility, according to the third annual report on this EU instrument.
The “Connected Continent” legislative package, when adopted, will reduce consumer charges, simplify red tape faced by companies, and bring a range of new rights for both users and service providers, so that Europe can once again be a global digital leader.
President Barroso set out his vision for the EU in the year to come in the fourth annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It was followed by a debate with MEPs and political leaders.
The Commission announced new measures to get more freight onto Europe's rivers and canals. Barges are amongst the most climate-friendly and energy efficient forms of transport but currently they only carry about 6% of European cargo each year.
New rules imposing tougher sanctions for manipulating financial markets, insider dealing or abuse of inside information were voted by the Parliament. These rules will also cover a wider range of trading venues and financial instruments than today's rules and they will apply directly in all member states, which should ensure a high level of investor protection in the EU.
The Commission proposed new legislation to prevent and manage the rapidly growing threat from invasive species. There are currently over 12 000 species present in Europe which are alien to the natural environment.
Growth and jobs, fairer taxation, financial regulation, trade and Syria were the main themes at the G20 summit held in St Petersburg on 5-6 September 2013.
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 0.50%, 1.00% and 0.00% respectively.
The Commission has adopted a communication on shadow banking and proposed new rules for money market funds (MMFs). The communication is a follow-up to last year's Green Paper on Shadow Banking. It summarises the work undertaken so far by the Commission and sets out possible further actions in this important area.
In a report released today, the European Commission identified about 150 new trade restrictions introduced over the last year, whereas only 18 existing measures have been dismantled.
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in July 2013, stable compared with June. The EU28 unemployment rate was 11%, also stable compared with June.
The Economic Sentiment Indicator increased sharply by 2.7 points in the euro area and by 3.1 points in the EU. The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area increased markedly by 0.31 points to -0.21.
A new Regulation on biocidal products applying from 1st September will significantly increase the safety and simplify the authorisation procedure of biocides used and placed on the market in the EU.
In the light of recent developments in Egypt, an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council was held on Wednesday 21 August. The meeting was chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
GDP rose by 0.3% in both the euro area and the EU27 during the second quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
A total of €180 million of EU agricultural policy funds, unduly spent by Member States, is being claimed back by the European Commission today under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure.
In June 2013 compared with May 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.