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A collection of links to web sites of the European Union institutions and other European business web sites.

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Eastern Partnership 24 April 2014, 11:34 CET
As the EU has expanded, the countries in Eastern Europe and the southern Caucasus have become closer neighbours, and their security, stability and prosperity increasingly affect the EU’s. Closer cooperation between the EU and its eastern European partners – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine – is seen as very important for the EU's external relations. Launched in 2009, the Eastern Partnership is a joint initiative between the EU, EU countries and the eastern European partner countries. It enables partner countries interested in moving towards the EU and increasing political, economic and cultural links to do so. It is underpinned by a shared commitment to international law and fundamental values - democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms - and to the market economy, sustainable development and good governance. The EU has put forward concrete ideas for each partner country. The aim is to improve relations with individual countries. A new generation of Association Agreements is being negotiated with some countries on an individual basis. These will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements concluded with partner countries (apart from Belarus) in the late 1990s. The latest Association Agreements/DCTFAs to have been initialed were the ones for Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.

European unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) 08 April 2014, 19:15 CET
The development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has opened a promising new chapter in the history of aerospace. However, while military exploitation of UAS has grown exponentially in recent years, this trend has so far not been followed by the civil sector. Unmanned Aircrafts can offer a wide range of possibilities for the benefit of European society, ranging from environmental control, security, as well as a fascinating variety of commercial services. UAS can perform air operations that manned aviation can hardly do, with evident economic savings and environmental benefits while reducing the risk to human life. However, the absence of a clear EU regulatory framework limits the possibility to fly UAS in non segregated airspace. It is a severe limitation for the development of UAS market which requires careful consideration. The emergence of this new market needs to be further assessed, and political will power to ensure that appropriate actions are taken on the European level to help development and provide within a reasonable timeframe the necessary framework to ensure federation of efforts and quick benefits for this sector.

Organic farming - European Commission website 26 March 2014, 00:06 CET
EU legislation ensures that ‘organic’ means the same for consumers and producers all over the EU. Legislation concerning organic produce is developed with the participation of Member States and the assistance of advisory and technical committees and expert bodies. Download logo & promotional material - The EU organic logo & guidelines Download photos Download videos Download infographics More promotional material What is organic farming? Producing organic International trade in organics Organic certification Studies Frequently asked questions EU Policy Legislation Policy development EU rules on production EU rules on trade European Action Plan Data and statistics Expert advice Food quality policy How to become an organic producer in the EU?

Macro-Financial Assistance to non-EU countries 19 March 2014, 15:54 CET
Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) is a form of financial aid extended by the EU to partner countries experiencing a balance of payments crisis. It takes the form of medium/long-term loans or grants, or a combination of these, and is only available to countries benefiting from a disbursing International Monetary Fund programme. MFA is designed for countries geographically, economically and politically close to the EU. These include candidate and potential candidate countries, countries bordering the EU covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and, in certain circumstances, other third countries.

Erasmus+ - new EU programme for Education, Training, Youth, and Sport for 2014-2020 11 March 2014, 13:15 CET
The Erasmus+ programme aims to boost skills and employability, as well as modernising Education, Training, and Youth work. The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion; a 40% increase compared to current spending levels, reflecting the EU's commitment to investing in these areas. Erasmus+ will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. Erasmus+ will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. It will also support national efforts to modernise Education, Training, and Youth systems. In the field of Sport, there will be support for grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of Education, Training, and Youth; it will for the first time provide support for Sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the Education, Training, Youth, and Sport sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules.

Company Law and Corporate Governance 04 March 2014, 17:17 CET
Harmonisation of the rules relating to company law and corporate governance, as well as to accounting and auditing, is essential for creating a Single Market for Financial Services and products. In the fields of company law and corporate governance, objectives include: providing equivalent protection for shareholders and other parties concerned with companies; ensuring freedom of establishment for companies throughout the EU; fostering efficiency and competitiveness of business; promoting cross-border cooperation between companies in different Member States; and stimulating discussions between Member States on the modernisation of company law and corporate governance.

Gender pay gap statistics 28 February 2014, 17:29 CET
This article shows how gender inequalities in terms of pay vary widely among Member States of the European Union (EU) and among groups of employees. The unadjusted gender pay pap (GPG) is an important indicator used within the European employment strategy (EES) to monitor imbalances in wages between men and women. It is defined as the relative difference (in percentage) between the average gross hourly earnings of women and men.

Winter forecast 2014 - EU economy: recovery gaining ground 25 February 2014, 16:15 CET
Europe's economic recovery, which began in the second quarter of 2013, is expected to continue spreading across countries and gaining strength while at the same time becoming more balanced.

European Tourism Quality Principles 20 February 2014, 13:34 CET
The European Commission has proposed a set of EU Principles for quality tourism services to help tourism services providers promote the quality of their services and enhanced consumer confidence about the high-quality of EU tourism services.

Connected Continent: a single telecom market for growth & jobs 17 February 2014, 11:49 CET
As the world moves rapidly towards an Internet-based economy, directly affecting everything from traditional services such as banking and insurance to new sectors such as online retail, and from industrial production to energy supply, ICT is increasingly seen as a source of the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth envisaged in Europe 2020. However, Europe lacks a genuine single market for electronic communications. The Union is fragmented into distinct national markets and as a result Europe is losing out on a major source of potential growth. The European Commission welcomed the conclusions of the 2013 Spring European Council, calling for measures to create a Single Telecoms Market as early as possible. Three years of consultations, public events and private meetings inform these proposals - including two major public events with 1000 participants in June. On 11 September 2013, the European Commission adopted a legislative package for a "Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market" aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries.

Startup Europe 13 February 2014, 17:43 CET
ICT and web entrepreneurs create new jobs for young people. Their businesses help transform the economy and the society. Startup Europe is a Digital Agenda initiative supported by Vice President Neelie Kroes promoting ICT and web entrepreneurs to start their business in Europe and to let them flourish in Europe. Therefore, she invites promising entrepreneurs to join The Startup Europe Tour: to be connected, to network and to be inspired for the leading tech conferences.

Eurapp 13 February 2014, 17:41 CET
Eurapp - a study of the European app economy launched by the European Commission and run by DERI, NUI Galway and GigaOM Research - will provide a comprehensive review of the size of the app economy in Europe so that it can be further supported by the DAE and other initiatives. We will produce innovative and pragmatic recommendations detailing how to overcome various bottlenecks identified in the app economy, using pragmatic ways in which to reach stakeholders, deploying effective research instruments and impact assessment methodologies for the app economy (in particular in relation to jobs creation)

Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) 13 February 2014, 16:27 CET
The Committee provides opinions on health and safety risks (chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products (e.g. cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products) and services (e.g. tattooing, artificial sun tanning).

European Partnership on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs 12 February 2014, 12:30 CET
The European Partnership on Pig Castration has been formed to develop methods to phase out the surgical castration of pigs by 2018, and to make sure that costs of transition are shared in a fair way. Because this transition may involve the use of different methods throughout the EU, this could affect the functioning of the EU Market. Therefore, baseline methods for detecting boar taint will be developed to prevent the pork trade from being disrupted.

Anti-Corruption report 03 February 2014, 15:58 CET
Corruption continues to be a challenge for Europe - a phenomenon that costs the European economy around EUR 120 billion per year. EU Member States have taken many initiatives in recent years, but the results are uneven and the Commission believes more should be done to prevent and punish corruption. In its February 2014 report, the Commission provides a picture of the situation in each Member State: measures in place, outstanding issues, policies that are working and areas that could be improved. The report shows that the nature and scope of corruption varies from one Member State to another and that the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies is quite different. It also shows that corruption deserves greater attention in all EU Member States.

European School Milk Scheme 30 January 2014, 16:59 CET
The EU School Milk Scheme is intended to encourage consumption among children of healthy dairy products containing important vitamins and minerals. The scheme does not only have a nutritional character but also an educational character and contributes therefore greatly to the fight against obesity among children. The School Milk Scheme is there to provide quality products for children, to contribute to a healthy way of living and to nutritional education with a better knowledge on products.

School Fruit Scheme 30 January 2014, 16:57 CET
This EU-wide voluntary scheme provides school children with fruit and vegetables, aiming thus to encourage good eating habits in young people. Besides providing fruit and vegetables the scheme requires participating Member States to set up strategies including educational and awareness-raising initiatives.

Financial Stability Board (FSB) 29 January 2014, 13:14 CET
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has been established to coordinate at the international level the work of national financial authorities and international standard setting bodies and to develop and promote the implementation of effective regulatory, supervisory and other financial sector policies. It brings together national authorities responsible for financial stability in significant international financial centres, international financial institutions, sector-specific international groupings of regulators and supervisors, and committees of central bank experts.

Establishing a company in Estonia 28 January 2014, 13:24 CET
Legal form; How to register a private limited company; The process of establishing a company; Branch of Foreign Company; Notaries - all the information you need on how to set up a company in Estonia, from the Estonian Investment Agency

Mission Growth: Europe at the Lead of the New Industrial Revolution 22 January 2014, 18:44 CET
Europe's economy cannot survive in a sustainable way without a strong and profoundly reshaped industrial base. New technologies have dramatically changed our life and our economy in the past 20 years. Political systems collapsed, new players emerged on the markets, as well as new materials, new technologies and workers who are better skilled than ever. The wind of change is blowing at a time when Europe is facing a severe economic and social crisis. But this situation and the changes are also an opportunity.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) 21 January 2014, 18:40 CET
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. It aims at removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. On top of cutting tariffs across all sectors, the EU and the US want to tackle barriers behind the customs border – such as differences in technical regulations, standards and approval procedures. These often cost unnecessary time and money for companies who want to sell their products on both markets. For example, when a car is approved as safe in the EU, it has to undergo a new approval procedure in the US even though the safety standards are similar. The TTIP negotiations will also look at opening both markets for services, investment, and public procurement. They could also shape global rules on trade.

Joint Customs Operations (JCO) 21 January 2014, 13:40 CET
The customs authorities of EU countries as well as some non-EU countries, in cooperation with OLAF, carry out regular joint customs operations with specific checks at European level. These operations are coordinated and targeted actions of a limited duration with the aim of combating the smuggling of sensitive goods and fraud in certain risky areas and/or on identified trade routes.

Maritime Affairs - Blue growth 17 January 2014, 14:14 CET
Blue Growth is the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. It recognises that seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy with great potential for innovation and growth. It is the Integrated Maritime Policy's contribution to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The 'blue' economy represents 5.4 million jobs and a gross added value of just under EUR 500 billion a year. However, further growth is possible in a number of areas which are highlighted within the strategy.

DG Energy - renewables 17 January 2014, 14:12 CET
The EU aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Renewables include wind, solar, hydro-electric and tidal power as well as geothermal energy and biomass. More renewable energy will enable the EU to cut greenhouse emissions and make it less dependent on imported energy. And boosting the renewables industry will encourage technological innovation and employment in Europe.

Investment Services Directive – Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) 15 January 2014, 10:39 CET
The European Parliament and the Council on 14 January 2014 reached an agreement on updated rules for markets in financial instruments, that will improve the way capital markets function to the benefit of the real economy.