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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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LIFE Programme - EU financing for the environment and climate action 28 September 2017, 23:04 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 more than 4,500 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately EUR 3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.

EU passenger rights 28 September 2017, 22:43 CET
Have you experienced delays and cancellations? As an air, rail, ship or bus passenger, you have rights when travelling in the EU. Air passenger rights - Rail passenger rights - Bus and coach passenger rights - Ship passenger rights - Download the "Your Passenger Rights" app to your smartphone ( Google Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone )

Employment contracts 26 September 2017, 22:32 CET
The following pages present the minimum requirements set by the EU employment laws. The following information aims to give an overview of employment contracts rules, but won't cover all the details of the rules and provisions.

Fair Taxation of the Digital Economy 21 September 2017, 18:48 CET
The European Commission Communication 'A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the European Union for the Digital Single Market' was adopted on 21 September 2017. The taxation of the digital economy is part of the EU's fair taxation agenda. It wants an ambitious EU agenda on the matter and a common EU approach to influence the international discussions and develop meaningful solutions to taxing the digital economy to be agreed at the international level by spring 2018.

State of the Union 2017 13 September 2017, 15:43 CET
On Wednesday 13 September 2017, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, delivered his annual speech on the State of the European Union at the European Parliament. The speech takes stock of Europe's current political and economic landscape. It is an opportunity to review the work of the EU over the past year, and to look ahead to the priorities of the coming year.

WIFI4EU - Free Wi-Fi for Europeans 12 September 2017, 17:23 CET
The aim of WiFi4EU is to promote free Wi-Fi connectivity for European citizens and visitors in public spaces such as parks, squares, public building, libraries, health centres, and museums everywhere in Europe through WIFI4EU.

Vacuum cleaners 01 September 2017, 12:44 CET
Vacuum cleaners are subject to EU energy labelling and ecodesign requirements. From September 2017, the most efficient vacuum cleaners will carry a label of A+++. These ratings take into account the vacuum cleaners' total power and how efficiently that power is used to pick up dust. With more efficient vacuum cleaners, Europe as a whole can save up to 20 TWh of electricity per year by 2020. This is equivalent to the annual household electricity consumption of Belgium. It also means over 6 million tonnes of CO2 will not be emitted – about the annual emissions of eight medium-sized power plants.

International carbon market 16 August 2017, 23:44 CET
International carbon markets can play a key role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. The number of emissions trading systems around the world is increasing. Besides the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), national or sub-national systems are already operating or under development in Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States.

EU Emissions Trading System 16 August 2017, 23:26 CET
The EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) is a cornerstone of the EU's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. It is the world's first major carbon market and remains the biggest one.

Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) 10 August 2017, 23:05 CET
Created in 1979, RASFF - the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed - enables information to be shared efficiently between its members (EU-28 national food safety authorities, European Commission, EFSA, ESA, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland) and provides a round-the-clock service to ensure that urgent notifications are sent, received and responded to collectively and efficiently. Thanks to RASFF, many food safety risks had been averted before they could have been harmful to European consumers.

How is the EU progressing towards its Europe 2020 targets? 20 July 2017, 23:37 CET
The Europe 2020 strategy, adopted by the European Council in June 2010, is the European Union's agenda for jobs and growth for the current decade. As a main objective, the strategy strives to deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion in the Member States, while reducing the impact on the natural environment. To reach this objective, the EU has adopted targets to be reached by 2020 in five areas: employment, research & development (R&D), climate change & energy, education and poverty reduction.

EU Stability and Growth Pact 13 July 2017, 13:48 CET
The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is a set of rules designed to ensure that countries in the European Union pursue sound public finances and coordinate their fiscal policies.

Invasive alien species 12 July 2017, 23:25 CET
Invasive Alien Species are animals and plants that are introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment. They represent a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing damage worth billions of euros to the European economy every year. As invasive alien species do not respect borders, action at the European level will be more effective than action at the Member State level.

Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 06 July 2017, 23:07 CET
The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor is designed to help national, regional and municipal policy makers identify local strengths and opportunities and benchmark their cities against similar urban centres using both quantitative and qualitative data. The platform allows users to browse the 168 selected cities and the quantitative and qualitative information about their performance in the Countries and Cities pages.

Single Market Scoreboard 06 July 2017, 22:40 CET
The Single Market is based on a large body of EU law, accompanied by national transposition measures. However, it is essential to ensure that the Single Market does not exist only on paper but also in reality for citizens and businesses who want to work, travel, shop, invest or do business across borders. This requires effective governance of the Single Market by the European Commission and by the EU and EEA Member States, as well as effective implementation "on the ground", in the Member States. This scoreboard aims to give an overview of the practical management of the Single Market.

EU-Japan trade agreement: texts of the agreement in principle 06 July 2017, 18:37 CET
The agreement in principle – shared with the EU’s Member States and the European Parliament, this website sets out what is in the agreement: summary of the agreement, explanatory factsheets, infographics and the published chapters

EU-Japan economic partnership agreement 06 July 2017, 17:36 CET
The EU has been negotiating a trade agreement with Japan. EU firms already export over EUR 58bn in goods and EUR 28bn in services to Japan every year. But European firms face trade barriers when exporting to Japan which make it hard for them to compete. The EU is also negotiating a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Japan in parallel.

European citizens' initiative 05 July 2017, 16:48 CET
A European citizens' initiative is an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. A citizens' initiative has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 out of the 28 member states. A minimum number of signatories is required in each of those 7 EU Member States.

Provisional calendar of meetings under the Estonian Presidency of the Council 03 July 2017, 16:19 CET
Provisional agendas for Council meetings during the second semester of 2017 (Estonia Presidency). This is a draft programme subject to changes.

EU Presidency 03 July 2017, 16:13 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 July 2017) is held by Estonia.

Antimicrobial Resistance 29 June 2017, 22:30 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.

Personal Pensions Products 29 June 2017, 18:18 CET
Personal pensions (also known as 'private pensions') are long-term savings products that individuals contribute to on a voluntary basis, complementing state and workplace pensions. They have a role to play in linking long-term savers with long-term investment opportunities. The Commission is exploring ways to increase choices for retirement saving and build an EU market for personal pensions.

Non-Financial Reporting 26 June 2017, 23:44 CET
EU law requires large companies to disclose certain information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental challenges. This helps investors, consumers, policy makers and other stakeholders to evaluate the non-financial performance of large companies and encourages these companies to develop a responsible approach to business. Directive 2014/95/EU lays down the rules on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large companies. This directive amends the accounting directive 2013/34/EU. Companies are required to include non-financial statements in their annual reports from 2018 onwards.

EU Market Access Strategy 26 June 2017, 21:47 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.

Transparency for intermediaries 21 June 2017, 22:28 CET
On 21st June 2017, the European Commission proposed new transparency rules for intermediaries that design or sell potentially harmful tax schemes. Intermediaries are firms or persons, such as consulting firms, banks, lawyers, tax advisors, accountants, etc. which can help their clients to set up schemes to reduce their tax bills. Most services provided by intermediaries are legitimate. However, recent cases, such as the Panama Papers, exposed the role that some of these intermediaries may play in international tax avoidance and evasion by designing schemes that are specifically set up to help their clients escape taxation.