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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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European Solidarity Corps 08 December 2016, 11:36 CET
The European Solidarity Corps is a new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe. Young people who take part in the European Solidarity Corps will all agree with and uphold its Mission and Principles. You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people up to the age of 30 years old.

EU nature and biodiversity law 07 December 2016, 20:48 CET
At EU level, nature and biodiversity are protected by several laws. The EU has been committed to the protection of nature since the adoption of the Birds Directive in April 1979. It provides comprehensive protection to all wild bird species naturally occurring in the Union. The Habitats Directive was adopted in 1992 to help maintain biodiversity. It protects over 1000 animals and plant species and over 200 types of habitat. It also established the EU-wide Natura 2000 network of protected areas.

Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online: First results on implementation 07 December 2016, 12:11 CET
The European Commission published on 6 December 2016 the first evaluation of how IT companies applied the code of conduct to combat illegal online hate speech.

WIFI4EU - Free Wi-Fi for Europeans 07 December 2016, 11:44 CET
The European Commission wishes to promote free Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens and visitors in public spaces such as parks, squares, public building, libraries, health centres, and museums everywhere in Europe through WIFI4EU.

VAT 01 December 2016, 17:35 CET
The application of VAT is decided by national tax authorities but there are some standard EU rules, which are explained on this European Commission website. Check basic VAT rules in each EU country, and consult a Tax information Communication database.

Food Waste 28 November 2016, 18:24 CET
Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU, with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros (FUSIONS, 2016). Wasting food is not only an ethical and economic issue but it also depletes the environment of limited natural resources. All actors in the food chain have a role to play in preventing and reducing food waste, from those who produce and process foods (farmers, food manufacturers and processors) to those who make foods available for consumption (hospitality sector, retailers) and ultimately consumers themselves. The central goal of EU food safety policy is to protect both human and animal health. We cannot compromise on these standards but, in co-operation with Member States and stakeholders, are looking for every opportunity to prevent food waste and strengthen sustainability of the food system.

Geo-blocking 28 November 2016, 14:24 CET
Geo-blocking and other geographically-based restrictions undermine online shopping and cross-border sales. The Digital Single Market strategy includes a commitment for an initiative to end unjustified geo-blocking by way of legislative proposals.

Milk and milk products - the Milk Package 24 November 2016, 20:05 CET
The so-called "Milk Package" has been designed with a view to the longer-term future of the dairy sector following the end of the quota system in 2015. It is fully applicable as from 3 October 2012.

State of Health in the EU 23 November 2016, 20:26 CET
The European Commission is bringing together internationally renowned expertise to strengthen country-specific and EU-wide knowledge in the field of health. This initiative is designed to support EU Member States in their evidence-based policy-making.

UCITS Directive - updated questions and answers 22 November 2016, 00:08 CET
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an updated questions and answers document on the application of the Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive (UCITS). The Q&A includes two new questions and answers on how investment limits should be applied where a UCITS wants to invest in an umbrella fund. The purpose of the Q&A document is to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of the UCITS Directive and its implementing measures.

Antimicrobial Resistance 17 November 2016, 18:46 CET
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics. AMR not only has a direct impact on human and animal health - due to the failure in the treatment of infectious diseases - but also carries a heavy economic cost. AMR is a natural phenomenon but an accumulation of factors, including excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines on humans and animals and poor infection control practices, transformed AMR into a serious threat to public health worldwide.

Budget of the EU 17 November 2016, 17:46 CET
The annual budget lays down all the European Union's expenditure and revenue for one year. It ensures the financing of EU programmes and actions in all EU policy areas, for example, agriculture, research, regional policy, and other. The annual budget also ensures that the EU receives the revenue necessary to finance its expenditure. The annual EU budget - expenditure and revenue - must be in balance.

Drones - unmanned aircrafts 13 November 2016, 23:35 CET
Unmanned aircraft, commonly called drones, offer huge potential for developing innovative civil applications in a wide variety of sectors that benefit European society, and will contribute to creating new businesses and jobs. Within 20 years, the European drone sector is expected to: directly employ more than 100 000 people; have an economic impact exceeding EUR 10 billion per year, mainly in services. As civil aviation evolves towards more automation, drone technology will also be crucial for the competitiveness of the European aeronautics industry as a whole.

EU-FORA - The EUropean FOod Risk Assessment Fellowship Programme 10 November 2016, 22:24 CET
EFSA’s EU-FORA fellowship programme offers a unique opportunity to motivated early to mid-career scientists from EU national risk assessment authorities and any other Article 36 organisation to increase their knowledge and experience in food safety risk assessment. The programme’s principal focus lies on chemical and microbiological risk assessment. It is aimed at professionals from the following fields: molecular biology, biology, microbiology, veterinary/human medicine agronomy/agricultural science, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental science, food technology or toxicology.

Education and Training Monitor 09 November 2016, 23:31 CET
The Education and Training Monitor is an annual publication that captures the evolution of education and training in the EU. It contributes to the objectives of the EU strategic framework for cooperation in education and training, the overall Commission's strategy for growth and employment and the European Semester cycle of economic policy co-ordination.

Animal diseases - control measures 08 November 2016, 23:54 CET
The EU has a set of specific legislation for a number of animal diseases depending on their potential social and economic impact. This includes notification obligations; diagnostic methods; measures to be applied in case of suspicion and confirmation of disease and, where applicable, regionalisation measures. This site contains details and links to the relevant EU legislation for each disease.

LIFE Programme - EU financing for the environment and climate action 03 November 2016, 21:41 CET
LIFE is the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4306 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately EUR 3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.

Antimicrobial resistance - Action at EU Level 29 October 2016, 11:32 CET
The EU - active on AMR for more than 15 years - strives to bring about behaviour change and tackle this pressing issue within a "One Health"approach: Raising Awareness - Reducing the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines is vital to stop the appearance of resistant microorganisms. Among other good practices, the following ones are key to tackle this problem: Better prescribing practices (including prescribing antibiotics only when required) Stop self-medication in countries in which antimicrobial medicines are freely available Respect the dosages Stop the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines in agriculture and the veterinary field

TACs and quotas - EU fishing rules 27 October 2016, 21:06 CET
Total allowable catches (TACs) or fishing opportunities, are catch limits (expressed in tonnes or numbers) that are set for most commercial fish stocks. The Commission prepares the proposals, based on scientific advice on the stock status from advisory bodies such as ICES and STECF. Some multi-annual plans contain rules for the setting of the TACs. TACs are set annually for most stocks (every two years for deep-sea stocks) by the Council of fisheries ministers. For stocks that are shared and jointly managed with non-EU countries, the TACs are agreed with those (groups of) non-EU countries. TACs are shared between EU countries in the form of national quotas. For each stock a different allocation percentage per EU country is applied for the sharing out of the quotas. This fixed percentage is known as the relative stability key. EU countries can exchange quotas with other EU countries. EU countries have to use transparent and objective criteria when they distribute the national quota among their fishermen. They are responsible for ensuring that the quotas are not overfished. When all the available quota of a species is fished, the EU country has to close the fishery.

Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) 25 October 2016, 19:12 CET
In October 2016, the Commission proposed to re-launch the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. The Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) is a single set of rules to calculate companies' taxable profits in the EU. With the CCCTB, cross-border companies will only have to comply with one, single EU system for computing their taxable income, rather than many different national rulebooks. Companies can file one tax return for all of their EU activities, and offset losses in one Member State against profits in another. The consolidated taxable profits will be shared between the Member States in which the group is active, using an apportionment formula. Each Member State will then tax its share of the profits at its own national tax rate.

EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) 18 October 2016, 23:07 CET
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a freshly negotiated EU-Canada treaty. It is designed to offer EU firms more and better business opportunities in Canada and support jobs in Europe. It removes customs duties, enda restrictions on access to public contracts, opens up the services market, offers predictable conditions for investors and helps prevent illegal copying of EU innovations and traditional products.

EU Coding Platform - Reference Compendia for the Application of a single European Coding System for Tissues and Cells 06 October 2016, 23:21 CET
The web-based EU Coding Platform supports healthcare professionals and national competent authorities in tracing donated tissues and cells from donor to recipient in the entire EU.

Europass 06 October 2016, 20:59 CET
Europass is a way of helping people to make their skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe (European Union, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries); and to move anywhere in Europe. Europass consists of five documents: two documents (Europass curriculum vitae (CV) and Europass Language Passport) you can fill in yourself; and three other documents (Europass Certificate Supplement, Europass Diploma Supplement and Europass Mobility) filled in and issued by competent organisations.

Connecting Europe Facility 29 September 2016, 15:40 CET
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. It supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services. CEF investments fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. The CEF benefits people across all Member States, as it makes travel easier and more sustainable, it enhances Europe’s energy security while enabling wider use of renewables, and it facilitates cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses and citizens. In addition to grants, the CEF offers financial support to projects through innovative financial instruments such as guarantees and project bonds. These instruments create significant leverage in their use of EU budget and act as a catalyst to attract further funding from the private sector and other public sector actors.

Digital Skills 22 September 2016, 23:49 CET
The European Commission has set out steps to improve digital skills in Europe, which are the cornerstone of a truly functioning digital society and Digital Single Market. These steps were outlined in the New Skills Agenda for Europe: working together for human capital, employability and competitiveness, adopted recently by the European Commission.