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Foreign citizens in the EU – the numbers
€ 2.5 billions to boost SMEs
Promoting access to finance and encouraging an entrepreneurial culture, including the creation of new enterprises are the core issues of the new financial support programme, tabled by the European Commission in Brussels on 30 November.
In 2010, 32.5 million foreign citizens lived in the EU27 Member States, of which 12.3 million were citizens of another EU27 Member State and the remaining 20.2 million were citizens of countries outside the EU27.
Parliament against reintroduction of border controls
Parliament strongly opposes the reintroduction of border controls within the Schengen area. The influx of migrants and asylum seekers cannot justify them, say MEPs in a resolution on the planned changes to Schengen rules.
Member States to pay €4.54 billion less into EU budget
EU Member States' contributions to this year's budget will be cut by a total of €4.54 billion, following a vote by the European Parliament on 5 July.
EU ministers comment on Greek commitment
EU ministers welcomed the progress made by the Greek authorities in implementing the policy understandings reached with the European Commission, in liaison with the ECB, and the IMF.
Poland takes over EU Council Presidency
1 July 2011 marks the start of Poland’s chairmanship of the Council of the European Union. Poland is taking over the Presidency from Hungary which has presided over the EU for the past six months.
Greek parliament votes in favour of austerity measures
On 29 June, Greek members of parliament have voted in favour of a drastic package of austerity measures intended to save the country from defaulting on its debts.
It is time to move up a gear for SMEs
On 28 June 2011, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a public hearing on the "Review of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA, Europe’s policy framework for SMEs)" in Brussels.
Troika and Greece reach agreement
Heads of Mission of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank (the Troika) and the Greek authorities have reached a satisfactory agreement on 23 June on a set of measures to close the fiscal gap for the years 2011-2014.
Eurogroup urges Greece to impose austerity measures
Finance ministers from the Eurozone urge Greece to impose austerity measures and prepare a second bailout.
Commissioner Rehn comments on Greece
In his statement, Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, says he confident that the next tranche of loans to Greece will be disembursed.
EU closes last chapters on Croatia accession
On 11 June, President Jose Manuel Barroso commented on Croatia and the Commission’s proposal to close the last "Chapters" in the accession talks.
EU Council says: stop E-coli epidemic
The diarrhoea epidemic must be contained, because it is not only a matter of public health, it also has a severe economic effects too, Minister of National Resources Miklós Réthelyi, said in the press conference on 6 June 2011.
Euro area inflation estimated at 2.7%
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 2.7% in May 2011 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It was 2.8% in April.
Climate: EU must cut CO2 by 30%
Before the end of 2011, the EU should pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020 (from 1990 levels), says a resolution voted by the Environment Committee on 24 May.
Latest from the Economic and Financial Affairs Council
The European Council met on 17 May a session to discuss economic and financial developments in the EU.
Industrial production down by 0.2% in euro area
In March 2011 compared with February 2011, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.3% in the EU27. In February production rose by 0.6% and 0.4% respectively.
Volume of retail trade down by 1% in euro area
In March 2011, compared with February 2011, the volume of retail trade fell by 1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.8% in the EU27. In February retail trade rose by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.
Free movement for EU workers
May 1, 2011 will mark the removal of restrictions on the right to work in any Member State for citizens from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.
Industrial new orders up by 0.9% in euro area
In February 2011 compared with January 2011, the euro area (EA17) industrial new orders index rose by 0.9%.
EU draft budget 2012 adopted
"A delicate balancing act combining austerity and growth boosting measures for 500 million Europeans". This is how Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski describes the draft EU budget 2012 as adopted by the Commission on 20 April 2011.
Croatia takes step towards closing negotiations
The EU and Croatia has reached an agreement on two more chapters on 19 April 2011 in Brussels, during the Croatia’s accession conference. Out of 35 negotiation chapters, 30 are now closed. This marks an important step as concluding negotiations is in sight.
EC doubles humanitarian aid for Cote d’Ivoire
On 19 April, the European Commission increased its humanitarian assistance for the victims of the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire by an additional €30 million, bringing its total allocation to €60 million.
EC, ECB, and IMF comment on Ireland mission
Staff teams from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Dublin during April 5-15 for the first quarterly review of the government’s economic programme.
EU opens up market to Palestinian exports
On 13 April, Catherine Ashton has signed an agreement with Prime Minister Fayyad that gives all agricultural products, processed agricultural products and fish and fishery products originating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip immediate duty free access to the EU market.
EU contract laws for cross-border trade
Plans to draw up EU model contracts for cross-border trade, which firms could use to make deals with firms and consumers in other EU Member States, were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee on 12 April.
EC strengthens air passenger rights
On 11 April, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas announced a series of measures to clarify and strengthen the enforcement of passenger rights legislation.
Euro area inflation has picked up
This Quarterly Report on the euro area concludes that the main reason for the acceleration of inflation in recent months is higher commodity prices, whereas domestically-generated inflation pressures remain subdued.
Portugal requests financial support
On 6 April, the Portuguese Prime-Minister, José Sócrates, informed the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, of the intention of Portugal to ask for the activation of the financial support mechanisms.
Single market: time to act
Parliament's recommendations for the proposed EU Single Market Act, a wide-ranging initiative to revivify the market as a prerequisite for achieving the EU 2020 strategy targets, and boosting competitiveness and sustainable growth, are set out in three resolutions passed on 6 April.
Unlocking corporate governance in Europe
The European Commission has launched on 5 April a public consultation that addresses the ways in which corporate governance of European companies can be improved.
European supports Japan with €10 million
On 4 April, the European Commission has adopted a new humanitarian funding decision of €10 million, to help the Japanese population cope with the massive consequences of the twin disaster.
Euro area unemployment rate at 9.9%
The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9% in February 2011, compared with 10% in January. It was 10% in February 2010.
EP leaders to develop stronger code for MEPs
Parliament’s political leadership has decided to overhaul rules governing the access and behaviour of lobbyists and to tighten the code of conduct for MEPs.
New emissions trading rules
From the start of the third phase of the EU Emissions Trading System (2013-20) the power sector will in general have to buy all its allowances.
Asylum seekers in EU27 stable at 260,000
In 2010, there were 257,800 asylum applicants registered in the EU27, or 515 applicants per million inhabitants. It is estimated that around 90% of these were new applicants and around 10% were repeat applicants. In 2009, there were 264 000 asylum applicants.
A collective guarantee of eurozone stability
On 24 March, the first day of the European Council meeting, the heads of state and government adopted the final decision on a permanent European Stability Mechanism. They also approved the Euro Plus Pact which will provide for a new degree of economic coordination
EC president’s speech after European Council meeting
Herman Van Rompuy remarked about the first day of the European Council meeting on 24 March 2011.
EU’s 2012 budget increase stays well below inflation
Parliament's Budgets Committee approved the estimates for Parliament's own 2012 budget on Thursday. The €1.725 billion total represents an increase over 2011 of 2.3%, well below the EU-27inflation rate of 2.8%.
New EU single permit for foreign workers
Non EU-workers are set to enjoy the same rights regarding working conditions as EU nationals, under the proposed 'single permit' law directive adopted by Parliament on 24 March.
Strikes on Libya: MEPs criticise bad coordination by EU
During a regular visit by High Representative Catherine Ashton to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 22 March, MEPs criticised the lack of coordination among EU Member States over the international mission in Libya.
Road to Iceland’s EU membership
In its first annual report on Iceland since the launch of that country's EU membership negotiations last year, the Foreign Affairs Committee welcomes the prospect of bringing on board one of Europe's oldest democracies with its well-functioning market economy.
Council: Nuclear plants to be tested in EU
It is in every Member State’s interest to participate in the security and risk survey of nuclear plants, stated Minister for National Development, Tamás Fellegi, after the extraordinary meeting of energy ministers in Brussels, on 21 March.
Egypt: EU imposes assets freeze
On 21 March, the Council adopted a decision and a regulation imposing the freezing of all funds and economic resources owned or controlled by persons identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian state funds.
UN security council approves no-fly zone over Libya
Demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute “crimes against humanity”, the Security Council imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace.
Stress tests for Europe’s atomic power plants
Stress tests on nuclear reactors, Europe's future energy mix and the lessons to be learnt from the ongoing nuclear accidents in Japan were the hot issues at a special appearance by EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger before Parliament's Energy Committee.
European Council discusses Libya
The European Council met on 11 March in an extraordinary session to discuss developments in Libya.
EU to dismantle trade barriers
On 10 March, the European Commission published its first Trade and Investment Barriers report which singles out important barriers in the markets of six strategic economic partners and proposes specific actions to remove the barriers.
EC adopts roadmap to tackle climate change
On 9 March, the European Commission adopted a roadmap for transforming the European Union into a competitive low carbon economy by 2050.
Safer products for European consumers
Consumers need better protection from potentially dangerous products, says a resolution on product safety passed in plenary session on 8 March. MEPs set out their inputs to a forthcoming update of EU product safety rules to be launched by the Commission later this year.
Equal Pay Day highlights EU earnings gap
Women in the European Union earn on average 17.5% less than men during their lifetimes. This stark figure will be highlighted tomorrow during the first EU-wide Equal Pay Day.
Financial institutions and Commission agree on stronger coordination
On 1 March, Commissioner Rehn, President Maystadt and President Mirow have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation between the European Commission, European Investment Bank Group and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Libya: EU imposes arms embargo and targeted sanctions
On 28 February, the Council of the European Union adopted a decision implementing the UN Security Council Resolution on Libya of 26 February and imposing additional restrictive measures against those responsible for the violent crackdown on the civilian population.
Commission launches “Europe 2020 Project Bonds” to fund infrastructure
On 28 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the "Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative" which aims at boosting the funding of projects with long-term revenue potential in line with the Europe 2020 policy priorities.
Euro area annual inflation up to 2.3%
Euro area annual inflation was 2.3% in January 2011, up from 2.2% in December 2010. A year earlier the rate was 0.9%. Monthly inflation was -0.7% in January 2011.
All eyes on Greece
Teams from the EC, ECB, and IMF visited Athens during January 27 to February 11 for the third review of the government’s economic program, which is being supported by a €80bn loan from Euro area countries and a €30bn Stand-By Arrangement with the Fund.
EUROCHAMBRES survey corroborates focus on stronger governance
On 23 February, EUROCHAMBRES endorsed the focus on governance in the Commission’s newly adopted Communication on the Review of the Small Business Act (SBA).
Europe’s Small Business Act strengthens SMEs and drives growth
Europe's 2020 strategy and Europe’s economy heavily rely on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) achieving their potential. In the EU, some 23 million SMEs employ 67% of the private sector workforce.
EP President on Libya: “this is the point of no return”
"I am appalled by the latest news from Libya. Waging lethal warfare on its own people is an act of inhuman brutality," said EP President Jerzy Buzek. "The regime and its leader have lost any remaining legitimacy. This is the point of no return."
EU grants €170 million to infrastructure projects
On 21 February, the European Commission announced the projects selected to receive a total of €170 million of trans-European transport network (TEN-T) funds to build and upgrade vital transport infrastructure across the European Union.
Croatia: the EU’s 28th Member State?
Croatia's EU membership negotiations could be completed in the first half of 2011 provided Zagreb pushes ahead with reform, according to a resolution adopted by Parliament on 16 February.
Euro area GDP up by 0.3% and EU27 GDP up by 0.2%
GDP increased by 0.3% in the euro area (EA16) and by 0.2% in the EU27 during the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Go-ahead given to the European citizens’ initiative
On February 14, the Council adopted a regulation that will make it possible for EU citizens to call for legislative proposals on a specific issue.
MEPs favour EU accession talks with Montenegro
The European Council’s decision to grant Montenegro EU candidate country status was welcomed by the Foreign Affairs Committee on 10 February.
Euro area unemployment rate at 10%
The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10% in December 2010, unchanged compared with November. It was 9.9% in December 2009. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.6% in December 2010, unchanged compared with November. It was 9.5% in December 2009.
EC demands smarter use of scarce resources
On 26 January, the European Commission set out its views on a strategic framework that should deliver a more sustainable use of natural resources and the shift towards resource-efficient, low-carbon growth in Europe.
Combating late payment in commercial transactions
On 24 January, the Council adopted a directive laying down new rules on late payment in commercial transactions.
EU27 current account deficit €19.7bn
According to the latest available data, the EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of €19.7bn in the third quarter of 2010, compared with a deficit of 26.1bn in the third quarter of 2009 and a deficit of 34.9bn in the second quarter of 2010.
EC Vice President Kallas comments on European snow disruptions
The vice president of the European Commission, Siim Kallas, urges airports to take action following the snow disruptions at Christmas, at a meeting with airports (ACI Board Members).
MEPs want better co-ordination of EU humanitarian aid
The EU's humanitarian aid capability should be stepped up, by creating a European civil protection force, boosting funding and ensuring a clear division of labour between military and humanitarian bodies in crisis areas, says Parliament in a resolution voted on 18 January.
Commission sets the yearly priorities for EU growth
Europe has a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis and to speed up Europe's economic growth. It now needs to focus its efforts in a coordinated manner and with an eye on priorities. That is what the Commission has presented on 12 January.
Customs: New security rules from 1 January 2011
From 1 January 2011, traders will have to make an electronic declaration to Customs with security data on goods before they leave or enter the European Union.
EU27 current account deficit €25.5bn
The EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of €25.5bn in the third quarter of 2010, compared with a deficit of €19.3bn in the third quarter of 2009 and a deficit of €37.1bn in the second quarter of 2010.
Labour market activity of women increased
Over the last decade, the inactivity rate for women aged between 15 and 64 years in the EU27 has fallen steadily, from 39.9% in 2000 to 35.7% in 2009, meaning that 5 million more women have entered the labour market.
European Commission’s actions to fight HIV/Aids
As the world's largest donor of development aid, the European Union has collectively provided the majority of the significant increase in recent years of international financing for combating HIV/AIDS.
Ireland to receive loan of up to €85bn
Eurogroup and ECOFIN Ministers unanimously agreed on 28 November to grant financial assistance in response to the Irish authorities' request on 22 November 2010.
Europe must do more on broadband
Broadband connections in Europe are much faster than one year ago according to statistics published on 25 November by the European Commission.
President Barroso comments on Ireland
"Before taking any definitive position on that I think we should assess the situation and that is precisely what we are doing. And that was the conclusion of yesterday's Eurogroup meeting..."
EP budget deadlock
The European Parliament budget negotiators deeply regret that talks over the 2011 budget have reached deadlock over a stubborn refusal by a minority of EU governments to talk about a procedure to involve Parliament in discussions on the EU financing system.
European Parliament and Commission to improve transparency
The High Level Group of the European Parliament and the European Commission concluded its discussions on a joint "Transparency Register" on 10 November.
EIB to help implement carbon programme
On 9 November, the European Commission has launched the world’s largest funding programme to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technology demonstration projects.
European Development Days organised in Brussels
On 6 and 7 December, the European Commission will organise the 5th edition of the European Development Days (EDD) in Brussels, in cooperation with the Belgian Presidency of the European Union.
European Chambers take position on G20 issues
The European members of the C20 group call on EU leaders to achieve ambitious agreements on the main chapters of the official G20 agenda, so as to provide a decisive EU contribution to the global economic recovery.
Trade barriers must be removed, says EU
A new report published on 25 October by the European Commission shows that more than 330 trade restrictive measures have been taken by the European Union's major trade partners since the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis in 2008.
Parliament votes on late payments
Parliament's adoption of the recast Late Payment Directive represents an important step in curbing the late payment culture which affects the cash flow of businesses across the EU, said Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES.
EC expands the use of e-procurement
The European Commission is launching a consultation on e-procurement on 18 October. Taking the form of a Green Paper, the consultation will seek the views of interested parties on how the EU can help member states to speed up and facilitate the procurement process.
Global Chambers call for stricter financial markets’ regulation
Stricter financial markets’ regulation is the most important policy to consolidate the (emerging) global economic recovery, according to the results of this years’ Global Economic Survey.
Banking sector: new rules on capital requirements
On 11 October, the Council adopted a directive aimed at strengthening capital requirements and ensuring remuneration policies.
Motorcycle safety: EC proposes substantial improvements
The European Commission has proposed the mandatory fitting of advanced braking systems on new motorcycles and automatic headlamp-on switching for all L-category vehicles.
EC and Imperial Tobacco to combat illicit tobacco trade
On 27 September, the European Commission announced a multi-year agreement with Imperial Tobacco Limited (ITL) to work together in tackling the illicit trade in tobacco products.
EC adopts new strategy on gender equality
On 22 September, the European Commission adopted a five-year strategy for promoting equality between women and men in Europe.
EU recovery progressing in an uncertain global environment
The economic recovery in the EU has gained ground of late. GDP growth in the second quarter of 2010 was particularly strong, and more balanced towards domestic demand than previously anticipated.
ECB report reviews payment systems
The European Central Bank (ECB) published an assessment report on 8 September on the implementation status of the Eurosystem’s business continuity oversight expectations for systemically important payment systems.
Council strengthens monitoring of economic policies
On 7 September, the Council endorsed changes to the manner in which the EU's stability and growth pact is implemented in order to allow a 'European semester' to be introduced as part of a reform of EU provisions on economic policy coordination.
Roma: MEPs doubt legality of returns
The legality of the French government's expulsion of Roma people has yet to be established, with regard both to EU law on free movement and temporary residence and to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Commission told Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a debate on 2 September.
Euro area unemployment rate 10%
The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10% in July 2010, unchanged compared with June. It was 9.6% in July 2009. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.6% in July 2010, unchanged compared with June. It was 9.1% in July 2009.
World Economic Forum releases new report
The report by the WEF provides a roadmap to maximise private investment in meeting infrastructure funding needs.
Cross-border crime must be prevented, says EC
EU rules in force since 2006 allow EU member states to obtain the confiscation of criminal assets abroad. However, a report published by the European Commission on 23 August shows that half of EU countries have yet to put these rules in place.
Greece to receive second installment of loans from EU
The European Commission, on 19 August, assessed measures taken by Greece to comply with the Council Decision of 10 May 2010 to remedy the situation of excessive deficit.
Council adopts EU draft budget for 2011
In August, the Council has adopted its position on the EU draft budget for the financial year 2011, approving targeted cuts in the Commission's proposal whilst ensuring appropriate funding for the priorities of the European Union, in particular economic recovery.
Self-employed workers to gain maternity and pension benefits
New EU laws will mean that self-employed workers and their partners will be able to enjoy better social protection.