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Business news and information from the European Union

Belgium-Umicore arrangement 'not state aid': Commission 26 May 2010, 23:27 CET
The European Commission has closed its investigation into an arrangement between Belgium and Belgian-based multinational materials technology company UMICORE, which it says does not constitute state aid.

Lack of progress on single EU telecoms market hurts consumers 25 May 2010, 23:55 CET
Consumers, businesses and the EU economy as a whole are denied the full economic benefits of a truly single and competitive EU-wide telecoms market because of inconsistent application of EU telecoms rules,according to the European Commission's annual report on the Single European Electronic Communications Market.

European SME Week 2010 kicks off 25 May 2010, 23:51 CET
Vice President Antonio Tajani has launched the European SME Week 2010 in Brussels today. This pan-European campaign is designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. Over 3 million people are estimated to participate in the some 1261 events and activities that are being organised in 37 countries across Europe.

EU authorises temporary Finnish financial aid to farmers 25 May 2010, 23:50 CET
The European Commission authorised a Finnish scheme with a budget of €22 million which aims at supporting farmers in Finland who encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis. Aid under this scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form of a direct grant.

EU mulls improvements to European contract law 22 May 2010, 17:39 CET
The European Commission, seeking to boost cross-border trade and to ensure strong rights for consumers, convened a new expert group to propose ways to improve contract law in the European Union.

EU reduces chemicals fees for smaller businesses 22 May 2010, 17:38 CET
The European Commission is taking further measures to ease the implementation of the new EU Regulations on chemicals for small and medium-sized enterprises and reduce costs.

EC approves joint venture between TOTAL and ERG 22 May 2010, 17:37 CET
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed merger of Total Italia and Erg Petroli (EGP), both of Italy, into a new joint venture, active in the refined oil sector.

European Commission authorises acquisition of Vedici by the 3i investment group 22 May 2010, 17:36 CET
The European Commission has cleared, under the EU Mergers Regulation, the proposed acquisition of the French Vedici group of healthcare facilities by the British investment group 3i.

Euro-MPs call for closer ties between universities and industry 20 May 2010, 23:22 CET
Links between business and the academic world need to be strengthened but higher education institutions must retain their autonomy and public support, says a resolution adopted on Thursday by the European Parliament.

European Commission approves restructuring of Belgian insurance company Ethias 20 May 2010, 23:19 CET
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a €1.5 billion recapitalisation provided by Belgium in the context of the restructuring of Ethias, a Belgian insurer that ran into severe difficulties in 2008, in the wake of the financial crisis.

EU moves to strengthen maritime policy 20 May 2010, 23:19 CET
EU Council of Ministers in June will create a financial instrument to develop a comprehensive maritime policy and will promote the inclusion of a maritime aspect in EU security and defence policies, said on Thursday the Spanish Secretary of State for the EU, Diego Lopez Garrido.

EU Attorneys General want to unify criteria to combat cross-border crime 20 May 2010, 23:17 CET
EU attorneys general are considering the creation of a consultative forum which would enable them to unify criteria and advance towards a common European justice system to combat cross-border crime.

New energy labels for EU household appliances 20 May 2010, 13:04 CET
Labels on household appliances such as fridges, washing machines and ovens will have to include more information on energy consumption, following a vote by MEPs on Wednesday.

Parliament proposes standard maternity leave rights for self-employed women 18 May 2010, 18:11 CET
EU Member States should grant standard social protection, including at least 14 weeks' maternity leave allowance, for self-employed women and for wives or life partners of self-employed workers, says the European Parliament in a binding proposal to update an EU directive.

EU sets higher energy-saving standards for buildings built after 2020 18 May 2010, 18:10 CET
On Tuesday, MEPs approved the EU's new energy efficiency legislation for buildings, which will help consumers cut their energy bills and the EU as a whole to hit its climate change target of using 20% less energy in ten years' time.

EU charts path to sustainable fishing in 2011 18 May 2010, 00:35 CET
The European Commission wants to haul EU fishing limits back to sustainable levels in 2011, in line with recommendations made by science experts.

Commission approves acquisition of NWR Energy by Dalkia Česká republika 17 May 2010, 23:51 CET
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of NWR Energy by Dalkia Česká republika, two Czech companies active in the energy sector.

Spain tests new border control system for EU 14 May 2010, 23:25 CET
Spain set up a pilot project on Thursday that will help travellers move faster through border crossing points within the European Union, through the use of an automated identification and document verification system, overseen by police officers.

Parliament seeks equal treatment for self-employed 14 May 2010, 23:23 CET
Euro-MPs want to promote female entrepreneurship and are proposing new rules to bridge the gender gap for self-employed workers and their partners and to ensure everyone has social protection.

State aid: Commission to investigate EUR 20 million capital injections into Elan of Slovenia 12 May 2010, 22:47 CET
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under EU State aid rules into capital injections destined to two subsidiaries of state owned company Elan Skupina in Slovenia.

EU clears Swedish restructuring aid for Carnegie Investment Bank 12 May 2010, 22:43 CET
The European Commission has granted final clearance under the EU state aid rules to the Swedish aid for the restructuring of Carnegie Investment Bank.

Commission approves tax exemptions for Finnish Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 12 May 2010, 22:42 CET
The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules the introduction of "Real Estate Investment Trusts" (REITs) in Finland that will be exempted from corporate income tax in order to encourage investment in affordable rental housing.

EU restricts imports of plants from China 11 May 2010, 17:39 CET
The European Union has decided to impose stricter measures for the import from China of plants hosting the harmful citrus long horn beetle, an insect that is not native to Europe and can attack a wide range of plants.

EU ministers adopt rules to prevent injuries to healthcare workers 11 May 2010, 17:39 CET
At a meeting of the EU Council of Education, Youth and Culture today, Ministers adopted a directive aimed at achieving the safest possible working environment for healthcare workers through prevention from injuries.

EU steers its way towards intelligent transport systems 10 May 2010, 21:44 CET
A coherent EU-wide framework for interoperable transport systems is the aim of a proposal adopted by EU transport ministers today. Following negotiations with the European Parliament, the European Council today approved a proposal for a directive on the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the field of road transport.