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European Union Business News from EUbusiness.com

Europe goes to the polls
Three days of Europe-wide elections for the European Parliament got under way Thursday with voters in the Netherlands and also, finally, the United Kingdom going to the polls.The count starts Sunday.

Brussels aims for price transparency in food chain
After bans on unfair trading practices and better producer cooperation, the EU Commission made proposals Wednesday for greater transparency in the way prices are reported throughout the food chain.

EU approves unprecedented cuts to single-use plastics
EU ministers gave final approval Tuesday to new laws to tackle marine litter coming from single-use plastic products found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.

Brussels signs landmark aviation agreements with China
The EU strengthened aviation relations with China Monday, signing an agreement on civil aviation safety and a horizontal aviation agreement in a boost for EU trade in aircraft and related products.

Track & trace system bolsters EU fight against illicit tobacco trade
A new system of tobacco traceability became operational in Europe Monday, with the first EU producers requesting and receiving traceability markings for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products.

Banks fined over EUR 1bn for foreign exchange cartel
The EU Commission fined five banks - Barclays, RBS, Citigroup, JPMorgan and MUFG - EUR 1.07 billion Thursday for taking part in two cartels in the Spot Foreign Exchange market for 11 currencies.

Brussels launches new tool to crack down on VAT fraud
A new system to help EU countries crack down on VAT fraud, launched Wednesday by the European Commission, allows EU Member States to rapidly exchange and jointly process VAT data.

EU launches citizens' initiative to save the bees
The European Commission decided Wednesday to register a European Citizens' Initiative entitled ‘Save the bees! Protection of biodiversity and improvement of habitats for insects in Europe'.

UN Partnership Forum and the 2030 Agenda – Deputy Secretary-General says "The Clock is Ticking"
The day provided an opportunity for multiple stakeholders to gather and discuss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Participants shared opinions on how best to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda, in particular, through accounts regarding collaborations between different spheres, from public, private, and civil society.

Price caps introduced on international calls within the EU
A new maximum price for all international calls and SMS within the EU applies from 15 May, when consumers calling another EU country will pay a maximum amount of 19 cents per minute (+VAT).

InBev fined EUR 200m for breaching EU antitrust rules
The EU Commission fined Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's biggest beer brewer, some EUR 200 million Monday for breaching EU antitrust rules through its actions in hampering cross-border sales of beer.

EU leaders discuss future of Europe after Brexit
With the European Parliament elections only two weeks away, EU leaders met at a summit Thursday to begin a discussion on what sort of EU future they want to build if and when Brexit finally takes place.

German growth forecast cut as economic uncertainty continues
GDP growth in Germany is forecast to be particularly subdued this year, as global uncertainties continue to weigh on Europe's economy, according to the EU Commission's latest economic forecast Tuesday.

EU issues 20,000 more euro-travel passes for 18-yr-olds
18-year-olds in the EU have until 16 May to apply for 20,000 DiscoverEU travel passes, the Commission announced Thursday, for the opportunity to explore Europe between 1 August and 31 January.

EU-Canada trade deal passes top EU Court legal test
The mechanism for the resolution of disputes between investors and States provided for by the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada is compatible with EU law, the EU's top Court ruled Tuesday.

Young European farmers get access to EUR 1 bn EU loan package
The EU Commission and European Investment Bank launched a EUR 1 bn loans package Monday targeting specifically young farmers. Nearly a third of young farmers' loan applications were rejected in 2017.

Auditors review EU support for urban mobility
The European Court of Auditors is examining the effectiveness of EU action on improving the mobility of people in cities and densely populated areas, including progress in managing traffic congestion.

EU, Japan strengthen bilateral ties
The recently-signed EU-Japan free trade agreement was hailed as "one of the greatest achievements in EU-Japan relations" by EU and Japanese leaders meeting at their summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Social media needs to do more against fake accounts, says EU
The EU Commission welcomed Tuesday the commitment of Facebook, Google and Twitter to act against disinformation but said more needs to be done ahead of European elections due to take place next month.

MEPs approve minimum rights for 'gig economy' workers
The EU Parliament approved minimum rights for workers in casual or short-term employment Tuesday, including workers with on-demand, voucher-based or platform jobs such as Uber or Deliveroo.

Copyright rules 'for digital age' clear final EU hurdle
The EU gave the green light Monday to rules adapting copyright law to a 'digital single market', protecting authors and artists, with new possibilities for accessing and sharing copyright-protected content online.

EU backs start of trade talks with United States
The EU agreed Monday to adopt negotiating directives to start trade talks with the United States, authorising negotiations on the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment.

EU auditors review innovation support for SMEs
The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit of EU's innovation support scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including start-ups, it announced Thursday.

Brexit: EU summit agrees delay until 31 October
EU leaders agreed late Wednesday evening at their special summit to give the United Kingdom an extension of Article 50 until the end of October 2019. Their decision was taken in agreement with the UK.

EU maps out road to climate neutrality by 2050
The EU Commission reported progress on the Energy Union Tuesday, particularly its action plan on batteries, and setting out a path to more efficient and democratic decision making in EU energy and climate policy.