EU News > Regulations & directives
EC to fight dangerous new synthetic drugs
Retail trade up by 0.2% in EU27
In July 2011, compared with June 2011, the volume of retail trade grew by 0.2% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27. In June retail trade rose by 0.7% and 0.5% respectively.
Tougher action across the European Union is needed to tackle the growing problem of new synthetic drugs entering the market, according to a report by the European Commission released on 11 July.
Traffic offences abroad: no hiding place
EU states will soon be swapping car registration details regularly to track down drivers who have committed serious traffic offences while in another EU country, after Parliament gave its backing to the plans on 6 July.
EU road fatalities fall by 11% in 2010
The European Commission has published new statistics on 5 July showing that EU road fatalities decreased by 11% in 2010. However, country by country statistics show that the number of deaths still varies greatly across the EU.
Industrial producer prices down by 0.2% in euro area
In May 2011 compared with April 2011, the industrial producer price index fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.3% in the EU27. In April prices increased by 0.9% and 1% respectively.
Euro area unemployment rate at 9.9%
The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9% in May 2011, unchanged compared with April. It was 10.2% in May 2010. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.3% in May 2011, unchanged compared with April. It was 9.7% in May 2010.
Social costs of crisis remain high
The new EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly review (summer 2011) released by the European Commission on 28 June shows that the EU labour market is recovering slowly but unevenly across the Member States.
EC president welcomes Croatia into EU
President of the European Commission, Herman Van Rompuy, has announced the political agreement on the accession of Croatia.
New EU rules for online shopping
A new Consumer Rights Directive is to benefit consumers who have purchased goods online, with new requirements that compel online traders to provide exact information.
Iceland emerges from recession after bank collapse
The OECD’s latest economic survey of Iceland, published on 21 June 2011, discusses the challenges facing the country in the wake of the financial crisis.
MEPs praise Croatia’s progress
Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs praised the Hungarian Presidency's efforts to complete EU enlargement negotiations with Croatia by end of June, and welcomed Serbia's arrest of Ratko Mladić but warned that its path to the EU "is still long", in an EU enlargement debate on 16 June.
Acquisition of citizenship in the EU
In 2009, 776,000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU27 Member State. In 2008 it was 699,000 persons. The main contribution to this increase at EU level came from the United Kingdom.
EU27 population will peak by around 2040
The EU27 population is projected to increase from 501 million on 1 January 2010 to 525 million in 2035, to peak at 526 million around 2040, and thereafter gradually decline to 517 million in 2060.
Industrial producer prices up by 0.9%
In April 2011 compared with March 2011, the industrial producer price index rose by 0.9% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1% in the EU27. In March prices increased by 0.8% and 1.2% respectively.
MEPs discuss airport body scanners
Body scanning should be voluntary for passengers at EU airports, argued Parliament's Transport Committee on 24 May. If scanners are used, health and fundamental rights must be safeguarded along with personal data, dignity and privacy.
Construction output down by 0.3% in euro area
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17), but rose by 1.9% in the EU27 in March 2011, compared with the previous month.
Euro area annual inflation up to 2.8%
Euro area annual inflation was 2.8% in April 2011, up from 2.7% in March. A year earlier the rate was 1.6%. Monthly inflation was 0.6% in April 2011.
More frequencies for mobile internet by 2013
Plans to speed up the spread of mobile internet were strongly endorsed by MEPs in Strasbourg. They also urged Europe to be bolder and take a global lead in this technology.
EU financial system still weighed down by risk
The risk burden still threatens Europe's financial stability, and the crisis aftermath will last many years, the two vice chairs of the EU's new financial risk watchdog warned the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 2 May.
ECB reports on SMEs’ access to finance
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published on 27 April its fourth report on the results of the “Survey on the access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the euro area”.
Fur to be mentioned on textile labels
Parliament and Council negotiators reached a compromise deal on a new EU regulation on textile labelling. Parliament ensured that any use of animal-derived materials will be stated on garment labels.
EU-funded breakthrough in malaria treatment
Ahead of World Malaria Day (25 April), EU-funded researchers have discovered that drugs originally designed to inhibit the growth of cancer cells can also kill the parasite that causes malaria.
Green light for world’s longest underground railway
Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, and European Coordinator Pat Cox attended a ceremony on 18 April in Innsbruck to launch the works on the Brenner Base Tunnel.
External trade deficit widens
The first estimate for the euro area (EA17) trade balance with the rest of the world in February 2011 gave a €1.5bn deficit, compared with +1.4bn in February 2010.
Growth-friendly environment for SMEs
The improvement of the innovative potential of small and SMEs, promoting their entry to international markets and facilitating their access to financing, were in the focus at the informal meeting of Member States’ ministers for industrial policy on 13 April.
Culture in the daily life of Europeans
Culture plays a significant role in the daily life of European citizens, and recent EU statistics illustrate cultural behaviour in the EU as well as cross-cultural contacts.
EU humanitarian aid for Libya crisis
A new aid decision of €10 million was adopted on 13 April by the European Commission, which will direct this additional allocation at intensifying the evacuation of foreigners from Libya – in particular Misrata – and the repatriation to their home country.
Eurovignette: a “fair price” for road transport
Road toll prices for the haulage industry as capped under the Eurovignette directive were originally intended to cover only infrastructure costs. In future they will reflect the cost of noise and air pollution as well.
Commission fights cross-border crime
Europeans have the right to travel freely within the EU for work, study or holidays. But open borders should not allow criminals to evade justice simply by travelling to another Member State.
$100 billion per year for climate actions in developing countries
A Commission staff working document on "Scaling up international climate finance after 2012" confirms that raising $100 billion per year by 2020 will be challenging but it can be done.
ECB increases interest rates to 1.25%
At a meeting on 7 April, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank made the decision to increase the interest rate on the main refinancing operations of the Eurosystem by 25 basis points to 1.25%, starting from the operation to be settled on 13 April 2011.
Gaining market visibility with “Dot.eu” domain name
7th April 2011 marks the fifth birthday of the ".eu" ("Dot.eu") internet domain name. ".eu" has become the 9th biggest top-level domain (TLD) on the Internet, the 5th most popular country code top-level domain worldwide and ranks in 4th place in Europe.
EU imposes sanctions on Ivory Coast
The Council of the European Union adopted new legislation on 6 April to impose additional restrictive measures against Côte d'Ivoire, in view of the gravity of the situation there.
Fraud: MEPs criticize lack of information
A lack of information on irregularities and fraud in connection with the spending of EU funds in EU Member States is criticised in a resolution passed by Parliament on 6 April.
OECD: Economic growth perspectives strengthening
Growth in the G7 economies outside Japan appears to be stronger than previously projected, with accelerating private sector investment and trade boosting recovery, according to new analysis from the OECD.
Industrial producer prices up by 0.8% in EU
In February 2011 compared with January 2011, the industrial producer price index rose by 0.8% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27. In January prices increased by 1.3% and 1.2% respectively.
Demographic challenges in the EU
The European Union, with a population of half a billion, is facing important demographic changes. While the population is getting older, fertility has begun to increase again, life expectancy keeps growing and the EU continues to attract a large number of immigrants.
Enterprise Europe Network helps SMEs with single market
After 1000 days in business, the Enterprise Europe Network has helped more than 2.5 million companies to make the most of the Single Market.
Long-term investment faces increasing constraints
The ability to make long-term investments is diminishing at a time when the need for long-term capital is significantly increasing, contends The Future of Long-term Investing, a report prepared by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Oliver Wyman.
Culture could help defeat economic crisis
“Culture and the related industries, can greatly contribute to intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth,” stressed Géza Szőcs, Minister of State for Culture, and the Ministry for National Resources, at the informal meeting of EU Ministers for Culture in Gödöllő, on 28 March.
EU citizens throw away too much waste
Almost 60% of EU citizens do not think their household produces too much waste, according to a Eurobarometer survey published on 28 March.
Earth Hour: European Parliament switches off lights
The European Parliament will once again mark "Earth Hour" by switching off lights in all its buildings for this Saturday 26 March from 20:30 to 21:30.
EUROCHAMBRES comments on Consumer Rights Directive
“Today’s vote shows that Members of the European Parliament have lost sight of one of the key objectives of the on the Consumer Rights Directive, which was to cut legal costs for businesses wishing to sell cross-border,” said Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES.
Hungary will not join the Euro Pact
The Hungarian government will not be joining the Euro Pact, nor be entering any military actions against Libya, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared in Budapest on 22 March, two days before the meeting of the European Council.
Council prepares for “historic” EU summit
The European Council’s meeting on 24-25 March will be of “historic importance” said Foreign Minister János Martonyi, on 21 March in Brussels, after the meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC).
The euro changeover in Estonia “successful”
On 22 March, the Commission adopted a Communication on the introduction of the euro in Estonia. It presents the most important aspects of the changeover to the single currency and draws some conclusions for future changeovers in other Member States.
Single market is bearing fruits, says EC
Despite challenging times, Member States continue to perform well in writing Internal Market rules into national law according to the European Commission's latest Internal Market Scoreboard.
Euro area external trade deficit €14.8bn
The first estimate for the euro area (EA17) trade balance with the rest of the world in January 2011 gave a €14.8bn deficit, compared with -9.7bn in January 2010.
Council disagrees on cloning for food
Parliament/Council conciliation talks on updating the Novel Foods Regulation broke down without agreement late on 16 March. Under conciliation rules, the final deadline to agree on a common text is the end of the month.
Euro area annual inflation up to 2.4%
Euro area annual inflation was 2.4% in February 2011, up from 2.3% in January. A year earlier the rate was 0.8%. Monthly inflation was 0.4% in February 2011.
Euro area unemployment falls
The number of persons employed in both the euro area (EA16) and the EU27 increased by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU.
EU responds to earthquake in Japan
Since the devastating earthquake which struck Japan on Friday 11 March, the European Union is says it is fully mobilised to translate its solidarity in concrete support.
Schengen: More efficient border crossing rules
On 10 March, the Commission proposed to amend the Schengen Borders Code with the aim of facilitating the movement of people across EU internal and external borders in a controlled manner.
EU27 current account deficit €30.4bn
The EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of €30.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with a deficit of €4.9bn in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a deficit of €19.7bn in the third quarter of 2010.
Are households going green?
OECD’s new Greening Household Behaviour has set out to uncover policies that can encourage people to make sound environmental choices.
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 second estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
New European satellite navigation service to reduce travel chaos
On 2 March the European Commission launched the EGNOS “Safety-of-Life” service for aviation. The EGNOS system enables precision approaches and renders air navigation safer as well as helps reducing delays, diversions and cancellations of flights.
Europeans’ views of the European Parliament remain stable
Parliament has published the results of its latest EU-wide opinion poll, which looks at how much EU citizens know about the European Parliament and their opinions about how it works and what its priorities should be.
Tourism in the EU27 increased
In 2010, 1.6 billion nights were spent in hotels and similar establishments in the EU27, an increase of 2.8% compared with 2009, after two successive annual declines of 0.3% in 2008 and 3.7% in 2009.
EU ban on BPA use in baby bottles
A ban prohibiting the manufacture in the European Union of baby bottles containing Bisphenol A (BPA) substance enters into force next week, on March 1. BPA is widely used in the production of plastic baby bottles.
Avoid new failures, says Committee of the Regions president
Europe 2020: "The Member States have not learnt from the failure of the Lisbon strategy," warns Mercedes Bresso, president of the Committee of the Regions.
Major EU differences in GDP per inhabitant
In 2008, GDP per inhabitant, expressed in terms of purchasing power standards, in the EU27's regions ranged from 28% of the EU27 average in the region of Severozapaden in Bulgaria, to 343% of the average in Inner London in the United Kingdom.
Emissions trading: Commission to combat fraud
On 23 February the European Commission outlined a series of actions to strengthen the integrity of the European carbon market following cyber-thefts from several EU Emissions Trading System registries last month.
One person in six lives in an overcrowded dwelling
In the EU27, housing conditions differ considerably between Member States. These differences can be seen both in the type of housing in which people live and in the housing problems they encounter.
EIB spent €19bn on climate action projects in 2010
In 2010, the European Investment Bank (EIB) increased financing for climate action projects to €19bn, representing an impressive 30% of its lending in the European Union.
EU condems Libya deaths
In a declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, she speaks on behalf of the European Union on events in Libya.
Construction output down by 1.8% in euro area
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 1.8% in the euro area (EA16) and by 3.1% in the EU27 in December 2010, compared with the previous month. In November, production decreased by 0.9% and 0.8% respectively.
EU approves rules to protect against fake medicines
A new law to prevent fake medicines from entering the legal supply chain was approved by Parliament on 16 February. Internet sales will be covered by the law, which also introduces new safety and traceability measures, as well as sanctions against counterfeiters.
EU-backed culture projects benefit innovation and public services
Nearly 30 cross-border cultural projects supported by the European Union will be showcased today at the "Culture in Motion: Pathways to EU2020" conference in Brussels.
OECD unemployment rate drops to 8.5% in December
In December 2010 the OECD area unemployment rate was 8.5%, down 0.1 percentage point from November. The OECD rate (now including Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia, the four countries that joined OECD in 2010) has been stable at around 8.5% since February 2010.
Use of mobile phone abroad still worrying
Almost three quarters of Europeans are worried about the cost of using their mobile phone when travelling in the EU a survey released by the European Commission on 14 February shows.
Industrial production down by 0.1% in both euro area and EU27
In December 2010 compared with November 2010, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.1% in both the euro area (EA16) and the EU27. In November 2010 production rose by 1.4% and 1.2% respectively.
EC calls for more involvement in European debate
The European Commission has asked the national parliaments to become more involved in the European debate on economic governance, and more particularly on the "European Semester" and the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Manufacturers deliver the common mobile phone charger
Have you ever been annoyed for not being able to borrow a friend's or a colleague's mobile phone charger because it wasn't compatible with your phone? This era is coming to an end.
Safer internet day
Nearly one third of internet users in the EU27 caught a computer virus, while 84% of internet users use IT security software for protection.
Volume of retail trade down by 0.6% in euro area
In December 2010, compared with November 2010, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.6% in the euro area (EA16) and by 0.4% in the EU27. In November retail trade decreased by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.
Business investment rate remains low
In the third quarter of 2010, in both the euro area (EA16) and the EU27, the seasonally adjusted business investment rate remained stable at low levels, while the profit share grew.
Swine flu: lessons to learn
With the new influenza season underway, MEPs have criticised the EU's "disproportionate" response to the outbreak of the H1N1 ("swine flu") virus in 2009-2010.
EU to cut red tape for researchers and SMEs
On 24 January, the European Commission has adopted measures to make participation in the EU's current Seventh Framework Programme for Research more attractive and more accessible to the best researchers and most innovative companies, especially Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Clearer rules on seeking healthcare abroad
MEPs on 19 January approved a new EU law setting out patients' rights to seek medical care in another EU country. The legislation clarifies the rules for reimbursement, including when advance authorisation may be required.
Euro banknote counterfeiting is decreasing
In the second half of 2010 a total of 364,102 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation. This is a decrease of 5.9% on the quantity recovered in the previous six months.
OECD urges Ukraine to put anti-corruption declarations into actions
Ukraine has made little progress in tackling corruption over the past four years, despite regular pledges from the country’s leaders to take action, according to a new OECD report.
Commission launches new Equal Opportunities Strategy
The European Commission has launched a new Strategy on Equal Opportunities for the period to 2014, aiming to build further on the considerable progress already made over recent years.
EU and Jordan sign air transport agreement
The European Union and Jordan have today signed a comprehensive air services agreement, which will open up and integrate their respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and operators.
EU discusses relationship with Russia
In the immediate wake of the successful EU-Russia Summit, the European Economic and Social Committee is discussing its own-initiative opinion on EU-Russia relations in the presence of Vladimir Chizhov, Russian Ambassador to the EU.
Retail trade volume up by 0.5% in euro area
In October 2010, compared with September 2010, the volume of retail trade increased by 0.5% in the euro area (EA16) and by 0.4% in the EU27.
EC and US: personal data agreement
On 3 December, EU Justice Ministers approved the start of talks between the European Union and the United States on a personal data protection agreement when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime.
Green and growth go together
Companies are designing new ‘green’ business models which will complement the outcome of international climate change negotiations, according to a report by OECD.
Better protection for European citizens
The "EU Internal Security Strategy in Action" adopted on 22 November comprises 41 actions targeting the most urgent security threats facing Europe.
European Company Statute review
The European Commission has presented a Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Regulation on the Statute for a European Company (Societas Europaea or SE).
EU consumers not saving enough energy
A European Commission study on the functioning of retail electricity markets for EU consumers published on 15 November shows that EU consumers could save about €13bn in total if they switched to the cheapest electricity tariff they could find.
Save Europe’s bees
Bee mortality is rising while the number of beekeepers in Europe is declining, all of which could have a serious impact on food production since most plants and crops are pollinated by bees.
Euro area inflation estimated at 1.9%
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.9% in October 2010 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
MEPs miss real budget revision
MEPs were disappointed that the Commission's EU budget review document had not sought the radical revision that the EU needs, they told Budgets Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski in a Policy Challenges Committee debate on 28 October.
Start of EU budget negotiations
Negotiations between Parliament and Council on the EU's annual budget kick off on 27 October. Under the new budget procedure, Parliament and member states have three weeks to reach an agreement.
SEPA is progressing, says ECB
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published a Progress Report on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) on 22 October. SEPA enables customers to make cashless euro payments to anyone located anywhere in Europe.
EIB lends €2bn to Poland
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending €2bn to the Polish Government to help meet the objectives of the Polish National Strategic Reference Framework during the period 2007-2013. This is the biggest loan the EIB has granted to an EU member state that joined the EU after 2004.
Climate change: EU makes deep emission cuts
The European Union is ahead of schedule in its promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. The Commission's annual report shows that the 25 member states with reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol will meet their commitments.
EIB and ADB finance first large-scale wind farm in Africa
The European Investment Bank and African Development Bank agreed on 7 October to provide €45m to design, build and operate onshore wind farms on four islands in the Cape Verde archipelago.
Corporate balance sheet adjustment shapes euro-area economic outlook
The Third Quarter 2010 edition of the Quarterly Report on the Euro Area highlights that although output growth in most euro area member states has improved, the ongoing balance sheet adjustment process in the corporate sector will influence the recovery ahead.
2011 budget defended by MEPs
After three days of negotiations and voting, Parliament's Budgets Committee on 30 September finalised the bulk of its position on next year's budget.