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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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Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) 04 February 2016, 22:13 CET
The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a trade agreement currently being negotiated by 23 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the EU. Together, the participating countries account for 70% of world trade in services.

Outbreak of Zika Virus Disease 04 February 2016, 17:18 CET
Latest developments in the EU regarding the outbreak of Zika Virus Disease, and how it is being managed in Europe. Information for travellers and EU residents in affected areas.

EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement: Agreed text as of January 2016 01 February 2016, 16:06 CET
The text of the EU-Vietnam Agreement is made public here exclusively for information purposes. The text presented in this document is the text at the end of the negotiations conducted by the European Commission. It will be subject to legal revision in order to verify the internal consistency and to ensure that the formulations of the negotiating results are legally sound. It will thereafter be transmitted to the Council of the European Union and to the European Parliament for ratification. The text presented in this document is not binding under international law and will only become so after the completion of the ratification process.

EUROPOL - the European Police Office 25 January 2016, 15:06 CET
Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency whose main goal is to help achieve a safer Europe for the benefit of all EU citizens. We do this by assisting the European Union’s Member States in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism. Large–scale criminal and terrorist networks pose a significant threat to the internal security of the EU and to the safety and livelihood of its people. The biggest security threats come from terrorism, international drug trafficking and money laundering, organised fraud, counterfeiting of the euro currency, and people smuggling. But new dangers are also accumulating, in the form of cybercrime, trafficking in human beings, and other modern-day threats. This is a multi–billion euro business, quick to adapt to new opportunities and resilient in the face of traditional law enforcement measures.

ECRIS (European Criminal Records Information System) 19 January 2016, 23:24 CET
The computerised system ECRIS was established in April 2012 to create an efficient exchange of information on criminal convictions between EU Member States. Examples such as the Fourniret case of 2004 and numerous subsequent studies have demonstrated that national courts frequently pass sentences on the sole basis of past convictions featuring in their national register, without any knowledge of convictions in other Member States. Consequently, criminals were often able to escape their criminal past simply by moving to another Member State. ECRIS has been created to improve the exchange of information on criminal records throughout the EU. It establishes an electronic interconnection of criminal records databases to ensure that information on convictions is exchanged between Member States in a uniform, speedy and easily computer-transferable way. The system provides judges and prosecutors with easy access to comprehensive information on the criminal history of persons concerned, no matter in which Member States that person has been convicted in the past. Through removing the possibility for offenders to escape their criminal past simply by moving from one EU country to another, the system could also serve to prevent crime.

European Capitals of Culture 16 January 2016, 22:05 CET
Each year, cities chosen as European Capitals of Culture - in 2016 they are Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) and Wrocław (Poland) - provide living proof of the richness and diversity of European cultures. Started in 1985, the initiative has become one of the most prestigious and high-profile cultural events in Europe. More than 40 cities have been designated European Capitals of Culture so far, from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow, and Cracow to Porto. A city is not chosen as a European Capital of Culture solely for what it is, but mainly for what it plans to do for a year that has to be exceptional. Its programme for the year must meet some specific criteria.

EU Presidency 07 January 2016, 22:11 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 2016) is held by The Netherlands.

Provisional Calendar of Meetings under the Netherlands Presidency of the EU Council 05 January 2016, 12:45 CET
Provisional agendas for Council meetings during the first semester of 2016 (Netherlands Presidency). This is a draft programme subject to changes.

EU action plan for the Circular Economy 03 December 2015, 23:31 CET
The European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

Novel Food - List of authorisations 16 November 2015, 22:38 CET
Foods that may be placed on the market in the EU pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 258/97 Article 4.2 first indent. Authorisation and use of novel foods and food ingredients have been harmonised in the European Union since 1997 when Regulation (EC) No 258/97 on novel food and novel food ingredients was adopted. Novel food is food not consumed to a significant degree in the European Union prior to 15 May 1997 and which falls under one of the categories listed in the Regulation (e.g. food consisting of or isolated from micro-organisms, fungi or algae).

EU Enlargement - strategy and progress reports 12 November 2015, 23:45 CET
Each year the European Commission adopts its "Enlargement package" - a set of documents explaining its policy on EU enlargement. Most importantly, this package includes the Enlargement Strategy Paper which sets out the way forward and takes stock of the progress made by each candidate country and potential candidate. In addition to this strategy paper, the package contains the Reports in which the Commission services present their assessment of what each candidate and potential candidate has achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) 12 November 2015, 21:15 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.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 05 November 2015, 20:00 CET
Since its establishment in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has become the largest financial investor in its region of operations which stretches from central Europe and the Western Balkans to central Asia. With the ability and willingness to bear risk on behalf of its clients, the EBRD helps their countries in the region to become open, market economies. The EBRD is owned by 64 countries, the European Union and the European Investment Bank. It provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies. It also works with publicly owned companies.

European Investment Advisory Hub 05 November 2015, 17:11 CET
The European Investment Advisory Hub ("The Hub") aims to strengthen Europe's investment and business environment. The Hub offers a single access point to a 360 degree offer of advisory and technical assistance services. The Hub is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, and is part of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Single Supervisory Mechanism 02 November 2015, 10:53 CET
The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is a new system of banking supervision for Europe. It comprises the ECB and the national supervisory authorities of the participating countries. Its main aims are to: ensure the safety and soundness of the European banking system. increase financial integration and stability.

Improving how funds are invested and managed 29 October 2015, 21:57 CET
The Commission provides support to Member States in order to help them make the best possible use of the Cohesion Policy funding, and to address problems with implementation. This support has been reinforced for the 2014-2020 funding period.

Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought 29 October 2015, 13:06 CET
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. The prize was set up in 1988 to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Parliament awards the human rights prize, endowed with 50,000, at a formal sitting held in Strasbourg on or around 10 December, the day on which the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948.

State aid Register 22 October 2015, 23:36 CET
The State aid Register holds all State aid cases that have been the object of a European Commission decision since 1 January 2000, including information on block exemption cases registered by the Commission. It does not include information on on-going cases for which no decision has yet been taken. The database is updated daily.

Transparency Register 05 October 2015, 13:34 CET
Citizens can, and indeed should, 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.

AirBase - the European Air quality dataBase 29 September 2015, 19:09 CET
AirBase is the public air quality database system of the European Environment Agency (EEA). It contains air quality monitoring data and information submitted by the participating countries throughout Europe. The air quality database consists of multi-annual time series of air quality measurement data and their statistics for a representative selection of stations and for a number of pollutants. It also contains meta-information on the involved monitoring networks, their stations and their measurements. The database covers geographically all countries from the European Union, the EEA member countries and some EEA potential candidate countries. The EU Member States are bound to report under the Council Decision 97/101/EC, a reciprocal Exchange of Information (EoI) on ambient air quality. Whereas, the EEA member countries and cooporating countries, which include EU (potential) candidate countires and the EFTA states, either committed themselves to report to the EEA following this EU-legislation, or develop the appropriate measuring and reporting infrastructure following EEA's EuroAirnet programme critiria. All data reported within EuroAirnet context is included in the database.

Council conclusions on the EU mandate for Paris 2015 18 September 2015, 20:16 CET
The Environment Council of 18 September 2015 adopted conclusions establishing the EU's position for the UN climate change conference in Paris later this year.

European Securities and Markets Authority 07 August 2015, 00:06 CET
ESMA's mission is to enhance the protection of investors and reinforce stable and well functioning financial markets in the European Union. ESMA, as an independent EU Authority, achieves this mission by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application and supervision across the EU. ESMA contributes to the supervision of financial services firms with a pan-European reach, either through direct supervision or through the active co-ordination of national supervisory activity.

European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) 03 July 2015, 15:09 CET
The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) was created as a temporary crisis resolution mechanism by the euro area Member States in June 2010. The EFSF has provided financial assistance to Ireland, Portugal and Greece. The assistance was financed by the EFSF through the issuance of bonds and other debt instruments on capital markets. A permanent rescue mechanism, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) started its operations on 8 October 2012. The ESM is currently the sole mechanism for responding to new requests for financial assistance by euro area Member States. It has provided loans to Spain and Cyprus. The EFSF will not provide financial assistance to any further countries. The final ongoing EFSF assistance programme (for Greece) expired on 30 June 2015. However, even after this date, the EFSF will continue to operate in order to: - receive loan repayments from beneficiary countries; - make interest and principal payments to holders of EFSF bonds; - roll over outstanding EFSF bonds, as the maturity of loans provided to Ireland, Portugal and Greece is longer than the maturity of bonds issued by the EFSF. The mission of both the EFSF and ESM is to safeguard financial stability in Europe by providing financial assistance to countries of the euro area. The two institutions share the same staff and offices located in Luxembourg.

Doing Business in Greece 30 June 2015, 23:57 CET
From the World Bank Group - The first section presents the Ease of Doing Business rank (out of 189 economies) and the distance to frontier (DTF) measure, overall and by topic. The second section summarises the key indicators for each topic benchmarked against regional averages.

List of airlines banned within the EU 25 June 2015, 12:35 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'.