EU web links
A collection of links to web sites of the European Union institutions and other European business web sites.
- — 21 May 2013, 14:08 CET
Eye on Earth - WaterWatch combines official data with citizen opinion of bathing water quality. Near real time bathing water quality data are available during the summer season and is combined with official yearly reporting for the last 6 years. On top of this citizens can give their own opinion about bathing water quality for any location they wish.
- — 21 May 2013, 14:02 CET
The Water Data Centre provides the European entry point for water related data as part of the Water Information System for Europe (WISE). You can browse the catalogue of European datasets, interactive maps and indicators.
- — 02 May 2013, 17:49 CET
This site will help you to apply for finance supported by the European Union. To access EU finance, click on your country to locate banks or venture capital funds that provide finance supported by the EU.
- — 01 May 2013, 17:12 CET
The European Stability Mechanism is a permanent crisis resolution mechanism for the countries of the euro area. The ESM issues debt instruments in order to finance loans and other forms of financial assistance to euro area Members States.
The decision leading to the creation of the ESM was taken by the European Council in December 2010. The euro area Member States signed an intergovernmental treaty establishing the ESM on 2 February 2012. The ESM was inaugurated on 8 October 2012.
- — 30 April 2013, 13:42 CET
Based in Luxembourg, the European Court of Human Rights ensures compliance with EU law and rules on the interpretation and application of the treaties establishing the European Union. The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty under which the member States of
the Council of Europe promise to secure fundamental civil and political rights, not only to their
own citizens but also to everyone within their jurisdiction. The Convention, which was signed on 4 November 1950 in Rome, entered into force in 1953. The Convention secures in particular: the right to life, the right to a fair hearing, the right to respect for
private and family life, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the protection of property. The Convention prohibits in
particular: torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, slavery and forced labour, death penalty, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention.
- — 25 April 2013, 12:19 CET
In December 2012 to combat tax fraud and evasion at European level and globally the Commission adopted a Communication containing an action plan and two recommendations to Member States on aggressive tax planning and promotion of good governance in tax matters globally. This was a follow up to a June 2012 Communication. Problem - role of the EU - acting together - acting globally
- — 24 April 2013, 00:16 CET
European Commission website on mortgage credit - Directive on credit agreements relating to residential - Code of conduct - Studies - Archives
- — 18 April 2013, 22:35 CET
The European Commission on 18 April published proposals to provide transitional arrangements in 2014 for certain Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) rules, notably the system of Direct Payments.
- — 16 April 2013, 17:54 CET
The horsemeat scandal has been making headline news over the last few weeks. Europe's food processing industry is facing a crisis of consumer confidence. The European Commission together with Member States competent authorities and EUROPOL have been working closely to get to the bottom of how horsemeat was found to be in food products labelled as 100% beef.
- — 16 April 2013, 17:14 CET
The European Commission adopted on 16 April 2013 a proposal for a directive enhancing the transparency of certain large companies on social and environmental matters. This Directive amends the Accounting Directives (Fourth and Seventh Accounting Directives on Annual and Consolidated Accounts, 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC, respectively). The objective is to increase EU companies’ transparency and performance on environmental and social matters, and, therefore, to contribute effectively to long-term economic growth and employment.
Companies concerned will need to disclose information on policies, risks and results as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on the boards of directors.
- — 15 April 2013, 16:09 CET
Heavy goods vehicles transporting goods in Europe, buses and coaches, must comply with certain rules on weights and dimensions for road safety reasons and to avoid damages to roads, bridges and tunnels. Directive 96/53/EC sets maximum common measures, ensuring that Member States cannot restrict the circulation of vehicles which comply with these limits from performing international transport operations within their territories. To avoid that national operators benefit from undue advantages over their competitors from other Member States when performing national transport, they are bound to comply with the standards set for international transport.
- — 15 April 2013, 15:52 CET
Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA
- — 15 April 2013, 11:56 CET
The EU and Japan on 25 March 2013 officially launched the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The aim is for a comprehensive agreement in goods, services and investment eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development. The first round of negotiations was held in Brussels from 15 to 19 April 2013.
- — 10 April 2013, 21:31 CET
The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) is a united response to challenges affecting an area which stretches from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, including over 100 million inhabitants. Many of the region’s problems know no borders: flooding, transport and energy links, environmental protection and challenges to security all demand a united approach. The 14 countries in the region, with the support of the European Commission, are cooperating to develop projects and actions that meet these challenges and build prosperity in the Danube region.
- — 10 April 2013, 13:56 CET
The EU is committed to the liberalisation of international trade, but this depends on a level playing field between domestic and foreign producers based on genuine competitive advantages. The European Commission's role in achieving open and fair trade includes the defence of European production against international trade distortions such as subsidisation or dumping, by applying trade defence instruments in compliance with EU law and WTO rules. The Commission monitors the application of these instruments, follows up the enforcement of measures and negotiates future international rules with EU trading partners.
- — 10 April 2013, 13:29 CET
In order for EMU to function smoothly, Member States must avoid excessive budgetary deficits. Under the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact, they agree to respect two criteria: a deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3% and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 60%.
If a Member State exceeds the deficit ceiling, the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) is triggered at EU level. This entails several steps – including the possibility of sanctions – to encourage the Member State concerned to take measures to rectify the situation.
The EDP is established in the Treaty and specified in the Stability and Growth Pact legislation.
- — 10 April 2013, 13:27 CET
The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is a surveillance mechanism that aims to identify potential risks early on, prevent the emergence of harmful macroeconomic imbalances and correct the imbalances that are already in place. The annual starting point of the MIP is the Alert Mechanism Report: Based on a scoreboard of indicators, it is a filter to identify countries and issues for which a closer analysis (in-depth review) is deemed necessary. The outcome of these in-depth reviews form the basis for further steps under the MIP whereby a graduated approach is followed reflecting the gravity of imbalances. The MIP has a preventive and a corrective arm. The latter is made operational by the Excessive Imbalance Procedure, which can eventually lead to sanctions for euro area Member States if they repeatedly fail to meet their obligations.
- — 19 March 2013, 15:57 CET
The European Consumer Centres work together to analyse consumer issues in Europe, based on the complaints they handle in the national centres.
Every year, they collaborate to analyse the state of play for the most popular or problematic consumer topics and publish their findings in their consumer reports.
The aim is to offer consumers practical information – a buyers’ guide to help them compare products and services in Europe and avoid common problems.
- — 19 March 2013, 15:54 CET
Council Regulation 861/2007 of 11 July 2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure seeks to improve and simplify procedures in civil and commercial matters where the value of a claim does not exceed EUR 2,000.
The Regulation applies between all Member States of the European Union with the exception of Denmark.
The Small claims procedure operates on the basis of standard forms. It is a written procedure unless an oral hearing is considered necessary by the court.
The Regulation also establishes time limits for the parties and for the court in order to speed up litigation.
The Regulation provides for four standard forms.
You can complete these forms online by clicking one of the links.
- — 14 March 2013, 16:31 CET
The European Commission is organising the Late Payment Information Campaign in the 27 EU Member States and in Croatia from October 2012 to December 2014. The aim of this campaign is to increase awareness amongst European stakeholders, in particular SMEs, and within public authorities on the new rights conferred by Directive 2011/7/EU.
These events will also provide a forum for the exchange of best practices and help businesses to tackle late payment issues. While addressing the business environment, the information campaign will focus in particular on SMEs, as they are most affected by the current culture of late payment across the EU.
For these events, the European Commission will also invite speakers from:
the national authority in charge of the transposition of the Directive,
the Enterprise Europe Network,
as well as national and regional experts in the subject.
- — 11 March 2013, 18:01 CET
The Cosmetics Directive provides the regulatory framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics purposes. It establishes a prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals (testing ban), and a prohibition to market in the European Union finished cosmetic products and ingredients included in cosmetic products which were tested on animals for cosmetics purposes (marketing ban). The same provisions are contained in the Cosmetics Regulation, which replaces the Cosmetics Directive as of 11 July 2013.
The testing ban on finished cosmetic products applies since 11 September 2004; the testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients applies since 11 March 2009.
The marketing ban applies since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.
- — 07 March 2013, 18:10 CET
In the Report on “Minimizing regulatory burden for SMEs - Adapting EU regulation to the needs of micro-enterprises” (COM (2011) 803 final), the European Commission announced that it would create a dedicated webpage to identify the TOP 10 EU legislative acts considered to place burdens on micro companies and SMEs. This will be used to make focused and tailor-made revisions of these legislative acts. The identification of the most burdensome pieces of EU legislation was carried out in two steps. In the first stage, a consultation was run through the European Enterprise Network (EEN). Its results were used as a basis for the next consultation, the last phase of the exercise.
- — 07 March 2013, 13:37 CET
The correct application of financial sanctions is crucial in order to meet the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and especially to help prevent the financing of terrorism. The application of financial sanctions constitutes an obligation for both the public and private sector. In this regard, the EU assigns particular responsibility to credit and financial institutions, since they are involved in the bulk of financial transfers and transactions affected by the relevant Regulations.
In order to facilitate the application of financial sanctions, the European Banking Federation, the European Savings Banks Group, the European Association of Co-operative Banks and the European Association of Public Banks ("the EU Credit Sector Federations") and the Commission recognised the need for an EU consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to CFSP related financial sanctions. It was therefore agreed that the Credit Sector Federations would set up a database containing the consolidated list for the Commission, which would host and maintain the database and keep it up-to-date. This database was developed first and foremost to assist the members of the EU Credit Sector Federations in their compliance with financial sanctions.
- — 04 March 2013, 14:03 CET
A new framework for Quality schemes in agriculture entered into force on 3 January 2013. Guaranteeing quality to consumers and a fair price for farmers are the twin aims of the new Quality Regulation that enters into force today.
Based on the proposal tabled by the Commission in 2010 the text is a very balanced compromise between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission.
It encourages the diversification of agricultural production, protect product names from misuse and imitation and help consumers providing information on product characteristics and farming attributes.
- — 01 March 2013, 22:58 CET
On 3 March 2013, an EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) comes into effect to stop the circulation of illegally logged wood in the European Union.
Under the EUTR, placing illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber on the EU market is prohibited. The Regulation applies to wood and wood products being placed for the first time on the EU market.