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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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Galileo European Satellite Navigation System 30 March 2015, 11:18 CET
The Galileo programme is Europe's initiative for a state-of-the-art global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate global positioning service under civilian control. The fully deployed system will consist of 30 satellites and the associated ground infrastructure. Galileo will provide Europe with independence in satellite navigation but will also be inter-operable with GPS and GLONASS, the two other global satellite navigation systems.

Digital Agenda for Europe 25 March 2015, 19:59 CET
The Digital Agenda is Europe's strategy for a flourishing digital economy by 2020. It outlines policies and actions to maximise the benefit of the Digital Revolution for all. To achieve these goals, the Commission will work closely with national governments, concerned organisations and companies. An annual Digital Assembly will bring stakeholders together to assess progress and emerging challenges.

RAPEX - EU Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products 23 March 2015, 16:42 CET
The Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products (RAPEX) allows the 31 participating countries (EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and the European Commission to exchange information on products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers and on the measures taken by these countries to do away with that risk. The system also covers products posing risk to health and safety of professional users and to other public interests protected by relevant EU legislation (e.g. environment and security). It does not cover food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, which are covered by other mechanisms. National authorities take measures to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of those dangerous products. Both measures ordered by national authorities and measures taken 'voluntarily' by producers and distributors are reported via the system. Every Friday, based on this information provided by the national authorities, the Commission publishes a weekly overview of latest alerts.

fi-compass 20 March 2015, 15:31 CET
fi-compass is a unique platform for advisory services on financial instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and microfinance under the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).fi-compass is designed to meet the needs of ESIF managing authorities, EaSI microfinance providers and other interested parties, by providing practical know-how and learning tools on financial instruments. These include "how-to" manuals, factsheets for quick reference, e-learning modules, face-to-face training seminars and networking events. The fi-compass website will progressively become the knowledge hub for ESIF Financial Instruments. fi-compass is provided by the European Commission in partnership with the European Investment Bank.

EU Market Access Policy 19 March 2015, 22:10 CET
Free trade can only exist when businesses can actually access their markets. Being a promoter of open trade, the European Union wants to ensure that access to markets is facilitated for all. Accessing markets outside the EU is crucial for jobs and growth within the EU. The EU works to keep markets open and to keep trade flowing through a variety of specific trade policies.

eSkills for Jobs 2015 19 March 2015, 15:51 CET
eSkills for Jobs 2015, part of the EU eSkills strategy, is a major cross sector, multi-stakeholder campaign from the European Commission, involving more than 650 organisations across Europe including companies, associations, education and training bodies and NGOs. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the need for citizens to improve their command of information and communication technology (ICT) skills for work. The campaign is a response to the growing demand for ICT-skilled professionals which is currently not met, despite high levels of unemployment in Europe.

Draft Calendar - Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 13 March 2015, 13:17 CET
Provisional agendas for Council meetings during the first semester of 2015 (Latvian Presidency). The agenda includes meetings and activities to be held in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Athens. This is a draft programme subject to changes.

Directive on Payment Services (PSD) 10 March 2015, 18:38 CET
The Directive on Payment Services (PSD) provides the legal foundation for the creation of an EU-wide single market for payments. The PSD aims at establishing a modern and comprehensive set of rules applicable to all payment services in the European Union. The target is to make cross-border payments as easy, efficient and secure as 'national' payments within a Member State. The PSD also seeks to improve competition by opening up payment markets to new entrants, thus fostering greater efficiency and cost-reduction. At the same time the Directive provides the necessary legal platform for the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

How digital is your country? - Digital Economy and Society Index 25 February 2015, 18:01 CET
There are plenty of digital opportunities waiting to be unlocked to benefit European citizens and companies. From shopping or studying online, to paying bills or using public services over the Internet – the Web is the answer, if the right conditions are in place. This is the conclusion of a new Digital Economy and Society Index developed by the European Commission and released today. Data shows that the picture of how digital countries are varies across the EU and that borders remain an obstacle to a fully-fledged Digital Single Market.

Capital Markets Union 18 February 2015, 14:08 CET
The Capital Markets Union (CMU) is a plan of the European Commission that aims to create deeper and more integrated capital markets in the 28 Member States of the EU. With the CMU, the Commission will explore ways of reducing fragmentation in financial markets, diversifying financing sources, strengthening cross border capital flows and improving access to finance for businesses, particularly SMEs. The CMU is a new frontier of Europe's single market. Its creation is a key element of the Investment Plan announced by the Juncker Commission in November 2014.

Winter Economic Forecast 2015: outlook improved but risks remain 05 February 2015, 12:42 CET
Growth this year is forecast to rise to 1.7% for the EU as a whole and to 1.3% for the euro area. In 2016, economic activity should grow by 2.1% and 1.9% respectively.

Statutory minimum wage levels in Europe in 2015 - Eurofound 03 February 2015, 23:50 CET
Most EU Member States have a statutory minimum wage, which sets the lowest legal amount of pay for all employees. Some Member States also have specific lower minimum levels for certain groups of workers, mainly younger ones. During the economic crisis, minimum wage levels have been mainly frozen, with only moderate increases in some countries. However, over the past two years, the minimum wage levels have begun to increase, and this first EU wide compilation of minimum wage levels in Europe in 2015 shows a marked change in trends. This article presents the most recent data on statutory minimum wages, applicable on 1 January 2015, and an overview of the discussions leading to the final settlements made in 2014.

Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories 03 February 2015, 15:27 CET
The EMIR Regulation, which entered into force on 16 August 2012, is designed to improve the stability of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivative markets throughout the EU. The Regulation requires standard derivative contracts to be cleared through central counterparties (CCPs) and establishes stringent organisational, business conduct and prudential requirements for these CCPs. It has also introduced an obligation to report derivative contracts to trade repositories. The Regulation, directly applicable and enforceable throughout the EU, will considerably increase financial stability and safety by preventing the situation where a collapse of one financial firm can cause the collapse of other financial firms. A specific exemption in the Regulation states that ‘pension scheme arrangements’ are exempt from the clearing obligation of certain derivatives until August 2015.

EU Transparency website 27 January 2015, 15:38 CET
Citizens expect the EU decision-making process to be as transparent and open as possible. The more open the process is, the easier it is to ensure balanced representation and avoid undue pressure and illegitimate or privileged access to information or to decision-makers. Transparency is also a key part of encouraging European citizens to participate more actively in the democratic life of the EU. The transparency register has been set up to answer core questions such as what interests are being pursued, by whom and with what budgets. The system is operated jointly by the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Joint bank sector letter against plans for FTT 23 January 2015, 13:03 CET
Joint European bank sector letter to EU Finance Ministers - signed by EBF as well as EACB, EAPB and ESBG - to oppose plans for a financial transaction tax.

European Year for Development 2015 15 January 2015, 16:37 CET
The European Year of Development 2015 is an opportunity to raise awareness of development across Europe, and to show European taxpayers know that every euro spent on development benefits both people living in some of the world's poorest countries, and EU citizens themselves. 2015 is a special year for development. It is the first ever European Year to deal with the European Union's external action and Europe’s role in the world. For development organisations all over Europe it is an unparalleled opportunity to showcase Europe's commitment to eradicating poverty worldwide and to inspire more Europeans to get engaged and involved in development. 2015 is also the year in which the Millennium Development Goals that the world agreed to reach in 2000, and in which the international community will agree on the future global framework for poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) 07 January 2015, 16:16 CET
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. It aims to remove 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.

EU negotiating texts in TTIP 07 January 2015, 15:19 CET
The European Commission is negotiating TTIP as openly as possible. A final agreement would have 24 chapters, grouped together in 3 parts: Market access - Regulatory cooperation - Rules. As part of the Commission's latest transparency initiative, it is publishing: new 2-page factsheets, in plain language; negotiating texts we've given US negotiators: EU textual proposals on parts 2 and 3 of the TTIP – these set out how the Commission would want a final deal to read, line by line; EU position papers – what we want to achieve in a chapter.

EU Presidency 31 December 2014, 23:12 CET
The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is responsible for the functioning of the Council of the European Union, the upper house of the EU legislature. It rotates among the EU Member States every six months. The presidency is not an individual, but the position is held by a national government. The presidency's function is to chair meetings of the Council, determine its agendas, set a work programme and facilitate dialogue both at Council meetings and with other EU institutions. The current presidency (as of January 2015) is held by Latvia. Three successive presidencies, known as presidency trios, the current trio (2014–15) is made up of Italy (incumbent), Latvia (Jan-Jun 2015) and Luxembourg (Jul-Dec 2015).

EU Budget 2015 - Documents 17 December 2014, 16:50 CET
The Financial Programming and Budget website provides documents for Budget 2015, depending on the progress of the procedures.

European Commission work programme 17 December 2014, 13:23 CET
The European Commission's Work Programme sets out the Commission's plans for the 12 months ahead. It identifies actions which will make a positive difference for jobs, growth and investment in 2015.

European Commission Annual Working and Legislative Programme 12 December 2014, 15:50 CET
The European Commission's Annual Working and Legislative Programme presents the major political priorities of the Commission on the basis of, in particular, the Annual Policy Strategy Decision and it also identifies concrete actions either legislative or non legislative that translate these priorities into operational terms

List of airlines banned within the EU 11 December 2014, 18:18 CET
Europe has one of the best aviation safety records in the world thanks to the effective implementation of high standards. Working in close cooperation with safety authorities in Member States, other countries and international aviation organisations, the European Union strives to raise these standards across the world. However, some airlines still operate in conditions which fall below essential and internationally recognised safety levels. To improve safety further, the European Commission – in close consultation with the aviation safety authorities of all Member States – has decided to ban certain airlines from operating in European airspace, because they are found to be unsafe and/or they are not sufficiently overseen by their authorities. To consult the list of banned airlines, you can download the document below (full list) or search on this site by clicking on the button 'Search banned airlines'.

ICT usage in enterprises in 2014 - Eurostat survey 09 December 2014, 23:05 CET
Instead of building their own IT infrastructure, enterprises have the possibility to access computing resources hosted by third parties on the internet. This shared pool of resources is most commonly known as "cloud computing". As cloud computing services are delivered on-line, enterprises must have internet access to be able to use them, which was the case in 2014 for almost all enterprises (97%) employing 10 persons or more in the EU28. Although the share of firms with internet access was at very similar high levels across Member States, only a fifth (19%) used cloud computing services in 2014.

EU Investment Offensive Website 09 December 2014, 15:58 CET
The European Commission's Investment Plan will unlock public and private investments in the real economy of at least EUR 315 billion over the next three years (2015-2017). President Juncker's major new initiative is aimed at getting Europe growing again and getting people back to work. Reasons for it are that Europe is facing an investment gap. Investment in the EU has dropped by more than 430 billion from a 2007 peak. Investment levels in the EU are EUR 270 billion to EUR 340 billion below historical sustainable norms. Weak investments hamper short term recovery and hurt long term growth.