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Developments in collectively agreed working time 2014 16 July 2015, 16:25 CET
The average collectively agreed weekly working time in the European Union of 38.1 hours did not change between 2013 and 2014. In both years, the working week also remained, on average, 30 minutes shorter than the EU28 average in the EU15 Member States, and more than 90 minutes longer in the more recent Member States. If the collectively agreed normal annual working time is taken as the pattern, full-time workers in the EU will have worked, on average, 1,707 hours (1,675 hours in the EU15 and 1,813 hours in the recent Member States) in 2014. Of the sectors of activity examined, the banking sector recorded the shortest average agreed normal working week at 37.6 hours and the retail sector the longest at 38.4 hours. Collectively agreed paid annual leave entitlements stood at 25.1 days across the EU. These were slightly higher in the EU15 countries (26.4 days) and considerably lower in the more recent Member States (21 days).

A Union created for citizens - programme of the Luxembourg Presidency 09 July 2015, 16:22 CET
Luxembourg holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the twelfth time in the second semester of 2015. The priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency for the second semester of 2015 are based on seven pillars: investment to boost growth and employment; the European Union's social dimension; migration, combining freedom, justice and security; the single market by focusing on its digital dimension; European competitiveness in a global and transparent framework; sustainable development; the European Union's presence on the global stage.

Is the ECB "expropriating" savers? - Critique of accommodating central bank policies and the 'expropriation of the saver' 07 July 2015, 16:31 CET
Are the European Central Bank’s low policy interest rates a tax on savers? A new study shows that the decisive factor for savers over the medium and long-term is not central bank policy interest rates but the state of the economy. What matters to savers is the real rate of return on their savings, which takes into account inflation, not the nominal interest rates set by the central bank.

EU-OSHA Annual report 2014: Improving working conditions across Europe 01 July 2015, 18:53 CET
In its 2014 annual report, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) demonstrates how it is helping to improve working conditions across Europe, particularly in micro and small businesses. Key activities of 2014 include the success of the completion of the ESENER-2 survey fieldwork, start of the project ‘Improving OSH in micro and small enterprises in Europe’, the Online interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) tool, achievements of the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress Campaign and the much anticipated launch of OSHwiki. It also looks to the future and the next campaign, Healthy Workplaces for All Ages, which will focus on promoting sustainable working lives.

Drugs policy and the city in Europe - EMCDDA Papers 25 June 2015, 15:49 CET
Illicit drug problems and responses and the different forms they can take in the city environment are explored in this paper. It addresses four areas: urban spaces and drug use, responses to city-level drug problems, city-level drugs strategies, and the coordination and funding of city-level policies.

Impact of intellectual property rights intensive industries in the European Union 18 June 2015, 16:28 CET
The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and the European Patent Office have carried out an EU-wide study on the contribution of intellectual property rights (IPRs) to the EU economy. Main findings: About half of EU industries are IPR intensive - intensive industries account directly for 26% of all jobs in the EU (around 56 million direct jobs) - With the addition of 20 million indirect jobs, one in three of all EU jobs (35% of all jobs) rely on IPR intensive industries - These industries generated almost 39% of total economic activity (GDP) in the EU, worth EUR 4.7 trillion - IPR-intensive industries pay higher remuneration than non-IPR intensive industries, with a premium of more than 40% - IPR-intensive industries account for 90% of the EU's trade with the rest of the world

European Drug Report 2015: Trends and Developments 04 June 2015, 11:39 CET
Changing dynamics in the heroin market, the latest implications of cannabis use and new features and dimensions of the stimulant and ‘new drugs’ scene are among the issues highlighted in the European Drug Report 2015: Trends and Developments. This years' annual review reflects on 20 years of monitoring and examines the global influences and local ramifications of Europe’s ever-changing drugs problem.The EMCDDA presents its annual overview of the European drug situation on 4 June in a multilingual, multimedia information package focusing on today’s rapidly shifting drug phenomenon.

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) report 2014 03 June 2015, 22:48 CET
In 2014, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) achieved excellent results in the fight against fraud across Europe. OLAF completed a high number of investigations while continuing to reduce their overall duration. It issued a record number of recommendations in over five years. The Office recommended the recovery of EUR 901 million, which should progressively return to the EU budget and help fund other projects.

Eurofound yearbook 2014: Living and working in Europe 28 May 2015, 13:14 CET
Eurofound in 2014 expanded its evidence base on the repercussions of the crisis on the living and working conditions of Europeans, and offered guidance on viable options available to policymakers in their efforts to turn Europe around. The Agency produced new knowledge in some of the areas of most immediate concern to Europeans and in fields crucial to their long-term prosperity. Its reporting of recent employment trends highlighted where in the economy most job creation and job loss has occurred and suggested where investment in future growth is best directed.

ECB Financial Stability Review May 2015 28 May 2015, 12:45 CET
Euro area systemic stress has remained low over the past six months, according to the ECB’s latest Financial Stability Review. This also reflects ECB action that calmed fears of a too prolonged period of low inflation threatening to harm both price and financial stability. The Financial Stability Review is published twice a year to provide an overview of the possible sources of risk and vulnerability to financial stability in the euro area.

European bathing water quality in 2014 - EEA Report No 1/2015 20 May 2015, 18:03 CET
The report assesses bathing water quality in 2014, indicating where the quality of bathing water is expected to be good in 2015. The report was compiled using information from more than 21 000 bathing waters in the 28 EU Member States. The report also covers bathing waters in Albania and Switzerland. The report is a joint production of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission.

State of Nature in the EU - Report on the status of and trends for habitat types and species covered by the Birds and Habitats Directives for the 2007-2012 period 20 May 2015, 14:22 CET
The Commission has adopted a new report providing the most comprehensive picture yet on the ‘State of Nature in the EU’. The findings show that the majority of birds have a secure status, and some species and habitats are doing better. Targeted conservation actions have brought successes, but a much greater effort is required for the situation to improve significantly.

Europe and the Eurozone: No Vision, No Strategy? 14 May 2015, 23:11 CET
The rise of populist parties across Europe is a severe threat to European integration. Irrespective of their underlying political ideologies, populist parties mainly benefit from widespread EU scepticism among their national constituencies. At the same time, criticising the EU is not about bashing Brussels anymore. It is about the South bashing the North, the North bashing the South, and some bashing Germany, quite often unfairly. It is high time for European leaders to recognise that the future of EU integration critically depends on a model of economic integration whose success is not measured by temporary success in plastering together a flailing Eurozone.

European Economic Forecast - Spring 2015 05 May 2015, 11:59 CET
Economic growth in the European Union is benefiting from positive economic tailwinds. According to the European Commission's Spring 2015 Economic Forecast, these short-term factors are boosting an otherwise mild cyclical upswing in the EU. The European Economy series contains important reports and communications from the Commission to the Council and the Parliament on the economy and economic developments.

Youth entrepreneurship in Europe: Values, attitudes, policies 29 April 2015, 23:05 CET
The level of youth unemployment is alarmingly high in several EU Member States, with rates of over 50% recorded in Spain and Greece in 2013. In light of the potential of entrepreneurs to create employment and sustainable growth, promoting youth entrepreneurship and making Europe more entrepreneur‑friendly has recently become a priority on the EU policy agenda. However, research has shown that among young people the wish to become an entrepreneur, and their assessment of its feasibility, is lower in EU Member States than in comparable and emerging economies. This report investigates successful initiatives that have been implemented in five countries in the following areas: fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and culture; removing perceived practical and logistical barriers; and providing information, advice, coaching and mentoring to young would‑be entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurship is not a viable career path for all young people, just for the minority equipped with the right skills, attitudes and values, future initiatives should focus on this target group to ensure the best use of public funds.

Treatment of cannabis-related disorders in Europe 23 April 2015, 17:50 CET
Providing effective treatment for those with cannabis use disorders is likely to become a matter of growing importance in European drug policy. This is according to the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) as it launched its a new in-depth study: Treatment of cannabis-related disorders in Europe. This publication reviews the interventions used in the treatment of cannabis disorders and maps out the geography of cannabis treatment in Europe.

The European Union's China Policy: Priorities and Strategies for the New Commission - ECIPE Policy Briefs 22 April 2015, 13:57 CET
The arrival of a new European Commission is a good opportunity for Europe to re-consider its policy vis-à-vis China. Under Xi Jinping, China is going through a period of change in domestic as well as foreign policy - and this change adds urgency to Europe’s quest for an effective China policy. If Europe wants to carry weight in its relation with China, it first needs to set its house in order. The Eurozone’s crisis and the lack of economic vitality are not just causing worries in Beijing; they also undermine Europe’s standing in China as a powerful entity to deal with. Europe’s absence as a strategic and military power in the Asian region makes its economic health all the more important if it wants to get listened to a country that prizes power. The European Union should prioritise its trade and investment ambitions with China. These are the areas where the European treaties endow the EU institutions with power. China has great stakes in its commercial relation to Europe and if the EU acts skillfully it can obtain improvements in its access to China’s market. However, Europe needs to formulate a policy that does not split its own ranks. It needs to be able to speak with one voice and not give China the opportunity to play the game of divide and rule with Europe. China can play that game skillfully and did that in several trade-defence disputes with Europe during the previous Commission. Beyond trade and investment, it needs to put the emphasis on areas of cooperation where the two sides share ambitions.

How trade policy and regional trade agreements support and strengthen EU economic performance 26 March 2015, 22:18 CET
This discussion paper, presented at this week's ministerial Council, reviews the contribution that trade agreements between the EU and its trading partners can make to boost jobs and growth in Europe. The EU has an ambitious bilateral agenda which can complement the multilateral trading system centred on the WTO. The paper calculates that, if concluded successfully, ongoing bilateral negotiations could boost EU's GDP by more than 2%, or 250 billion euros. In the EU, 31 million jobs – over 14% of total employment – depend on our exports to third countries. Each additional €1bn of exports supports roughly 14.000 additional jobs across the EU, the paper adds. These are in general more qualified and better paid than in the rest of the economy. The millions of trade-related jobs include retail, wholesale, port handling, logistics and transportation.

Differential treatment of workers under 25 with a view to their access to the labour market 19 March 2015, 23:57 CET
This Policy Department A study aims at providing the EMPL Committee with an up-todate, comprehensive picture of the latest developments in policy measures regarding differential treatment of workers under 25 in the EU with a view to their access to the labour market. The evidence collected shows that in the last 15 years the youth unemployment rate has been constantly higher than the adult rate in the EU. Active labour market policies and employer incentives can be combined effectively to increase the employment rate of young people. When measures discriminate, this tends to be the result of the interplay between the measure and the institutional and socioeconomic context. While the responsibility for employment policies resides at national level, the EU can enhance its coordinating and overseeing role to support young people in becoming financially independent and socially included. The EU should promote policy innovation and better define anti-discrimination legislation with respect to age

Bird's eye view of Latvia 19 March 2015, 23:54 CET
This exhibition is all about revealing the beauty of the Earth. When you fly above our earth in an airplane all the details begin to merge, the daily bustle of life disappears, puffy cumulus clouds float by as if a white flock of sheep as you traverse the broad heavens. Stunning landscapes open up before your very eyes – all of this has of course been superbly described by Antoine de Saint- Exupéry and Richard Bach. But this exhibition is about the particular beauty of Latvia, about Latvia’s green forests, its winding rivers, the fields that farmers till, the fascination of marshes and other landscapes as seen from above, the mystery of the Old City streets of Rīga and the majesty of its churches as they reach toward heaven.

Understanding crowdfunding and its regulations - How can crowdfunding help ICT innovation? 19 March 2015, 23:51 CET
This report offers an overview of crowdfunding using the current literature on the topic. It explains how crowdfunding campaigns and crowdfunding platforms function. It next explains how start-ups can benefit from crowdfunding: start-ups can gain access to finance not otherwise available; but crowdfunding can also lend legitimacy to projects and can help these projects access traditional financing. This report also discusses potential drawbacks, such as the risk that crowdfunding might lead entrepreneurs to disclosure requirements that destroy the value of their ideas and might expose investors to fraud, incompetent managers, and investment lock-ins. Finally, this report highlights how current equity crowdfunding regulations have regulated platforms, participating crowds, and fundraising companies. We conclude by offering further avenues of investigation to assess how crowdfunding and these regulations will impact the funding of ICT innovations .

The future of the transport industry 19 March 2015, 23:48 CET
This publication aims to bridge the gap between the analysis of the trends in the European transport system and the evaluation of their impacts on competitiveness. Specifically, this report presents the future challenges, demand drivers and upcoming innovations which can have a considerable impact on the global demand patterns for the passenger and freight transport and how this might affect the competitiveness of related industries and service providers. Emphasis is given to targeted research strategies. The goal is to investigate the challenges for the European transport sector in the long term, in order to develop the suitable strategic options for European transport research policy.

ERM Annual Report 2014: Restructuring in the public sector 12 March 2015, 22:25 CET
The European Restructuring Monitor’s annual report for 2014 explores the rapid transformation of the public sector in Europe since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. Initially, employment expansion in the sector helped to stabilise Europe’s economy while the private sector suffered severe job losses. However, subsequent austerity measures (or fiscal consolidation) have brought in their wake widespread restructuring in the public sector. Hiring freezes have meant the public sector workforce has shrunk and become significantly older, with more female workers. Lack of job security means working in the public sector is no longer quite as attractive. More restructuring will undoubtedly occur, and it is vital that those involved in its planning develop a more forward-looking, anticipatory strategy, to soften the blow for those workers who leave and to enhance conditions for those who stay.

2015 EU Justice Scoreboard 10 March 2015, 00:15 CET
The EU Justice Scoreboard is an information tool that contributes to the European Semester by providing objective data on the quality, independence and efficiency of justice systems in all Member States. The aim of the EU Justice Scoreboard is to assist Member States, as part of an open dialogue, in improving the functioning of their justice systems. The Justice Scoreboard contributes to identifying potential shortcomings and good practices and aims to present trends on the functioning of the national justice systems over time. While the Scoreboard presents comparative information on Member States’ justice systems based on a number of particular indicators, it is not intended to present an overall single ranking, or to promote any particular form of justice system. Whatever the model of the national justice system or the legal tradition in which it is anchored, timeliness, independence, affordability, and user-friendly access are some of the essential parameters of what constitutes an effective justice system.

New psychoactive substances in Europe - an update from the EU Early Warning System (March 2015) 10 March 2015, 00:03 CET
New psychoactive substances (NPS or ‘new drugs’) were detected in the European Union last year at the rate of around two per week, according to an update issued today by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). A total of 101 new substances were reported to the EU Early Warning System (EWS) in 2014 (up from 81 in 2013), continuing an upward trend in substances notified in a single year. This short report provides an update on new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Europe for 2014. It highlights recent developments, including the growth of the market over the past few years, as illustrated by seizures by law enforcement and other indicators, as well as the growing number of serious harms that are being reported as a result.