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European Union Business News from EUbusiness.com

EC looks to boost European Company
The European Commission has launched a public consultation to determine whether changes are needed to make the European Company Statute (SE) work better. With the review of the SE Statute, the Commission is aiming to increase the use of the SE across the EU.

Football clubs eligible for compensation, EU Court rules
The European Court of Justice has ruled that football clubs who have trained and prepared young players may seek compensation if that player wishes to sign their first contract with a different club within the European Union.

Paying with euros: new Commission recommendation
The European Commission has adopted a recommendation on the legal tender of the euro banknotes and coins. The recommendation gives useful guiding on many practical questions related to payments with euro banknotes and coins.

EP boost for organ transplants
Last week, the European Parliament Environment and Public Health Committee approved common European rules on organ transplants, which should make transplants easier, faster and safer. Parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposals on 18 May.

EU innovation scoreboard calls for performance pick-up
The ninth edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is out and preliminary data show that the economic crisis impacting Europe is also affecting the progress of innovation across the region. The majority of EU Member States may have posted stronger innovation performance results in 2008, but countries with lower innovation performance levels are likely to be responsible for reversing the convergence process that the EU has undergone in the last few years.

Commission approves acquisition of Edscha by Gestamp Automoción
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the hinge and control systems unit of Edscha AG of Germany by Gestamp Automoción S.L. of Spain.

Euro-MPs vote to tighten security of gas supplies
The European Parliament's Industry Committee has proposed a strenthening of gas crisis prevention measures, laying down new requirements for plans to offset any serious disruptions to gas supplies from third countries.

EC facilitates use of mobile phones on ships
The European Commission has adopted new rules to make it easier for passengers and crews on ships to use their mobile phones whilst in European waters.

Commission requests exit tax changes
The European Commission has formally requested Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands to change tax rules which impose an immediate exit tax when companies transfer their seat or assets to another EU Member State.

EC acts against 12 Member States on implementation of EU rules
The European Commission has taken action against a total of 12 Member States on implementing EU Internal Market rules in the areas of acquisitions in the financial sector, pension funds, shareholders’ rights, and anti-money laundering.

Europe raises red flag on future of animal species
The European Red List, a review of the conservation status of some 6,000 European species, is hot off the press and the results are not good. The data, which are compiled with the support of European Commission funding, show that 14% of dragonflies, 11% of beetles and 9% of butterflies are at risk of extinction within Europe. Even more alarming is the fact that some of these species are threatened with extinction at the global level. These species have been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (TM).

Euro-MPs opt for clearer food labelling rules
The European Parliament's Environment Committee on Tuesday approved draft legislation on clearer and more informative new food labelling rules which require new information on energy content and nutritional value.

EU green light for Slovenian short-term export-credit insurance scheme
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a measure adopted by Slovenia to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on export firms.

EU to cooperate on fighting tax evasion
At a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council today, finance ministers adopted a draft EU directive on strenghtening mutual assistance between Member States in the recovery of taxes.

Polish phone company loses Court challenge
The European Court of Justice has ruled against Poland's largest phone company, Telekomunikacja Polska SA, in a challenge to Polish national legislation that blocks service providers from binding customers to combined sales contracts.

MEPs back fresh EU money for low-carbon technologies
Euro-MPs have approved fresh EU funding for the development of innovative low-carbon technologies to help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.

EU energy rules still not being implemented: report
EU Member States are lagging behind in the implementation of the internal energy market rules, reveals the Commission’s 2009 Benchmarking Report published today.

Scientists and SMEs join forces to fight influenza
Researchers and industrialists from Europe and abroad have clinched EUR 18 million in EU support for their collaboration on projects targeting influenza. In total, 52 research institutes and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 18 European countries, as well as China, Israel and the US will work together on 4 projects to determine how influenza virus genes migrate, and how they pose a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals. In less than a decade, the Commission has earmarked more than EUR 100 million for research on influenza.

In-depth examination of insurance against natural catastrophes, announces Barnier
The Commission is to carry out an in-depth examination of insurance schemes covering national catastrophes, in particular flooding, announced Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, yesterday, 9 March, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Parliament wants to reduce red tape for small firms
Very small companies could be exempted from having to draw up annual accounts, following approval by the European Parliament of changes to EU accounting rules. Voting in the 10 March plenary, MEPs said it would be up to each Member State to grant such exemptions, depending on the impact the directive would have in that country. Companies would in any case still have to keep records of their business transactions and financial situation.

"Internal market test" needed for new EU legislation, say MEPs
The EU's internal market was put under scrutiny today, 9 March, when Members of the European Parliament debated a series of reports in their plenary session in Strasbourg. They concluded that there is no conflict between consumer rights and an economically efficient single market: they reinforce each other. This is the key message of three resolutions approved by Parliament that look at EU law on consumer protection, the internal market and the SOLVIT system for settling consumer disputes.

Euro-MPs urge EU rethink on competition policy
A resolution adopted by the EP today, 9 March, highlights the need to assess the effectiveness of Member States' state-aid activities during the crisis, scale back the protectionist reflexes that it triggered and update EU competition rules, inter alia by revisiting the "fines only" policy. The EP lists on-line advertising, and the telecoms, pharmaceuticals and dairy sectors as areas needing further action.

Price floor on tobacco infringes EU law
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the national legislation in certain EU Member States that allows the fixing of a price floor for tobacco products is contrary to the Directives of free competition.

Ministers approve directive to improve safety of EU healthcare workers
EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers have adopted a Directive to prevent injuries and infections to healthcare workers from sharp objects such as needle sticks - one of the most serious health and safety threats in European workplaces and estimated to cause 1 million injuries each year.

Austria's monopolistic approach to gaming is incompatible to EU law
An EU Member State which reserves the operation of casinos exclusively to companies which have their seat in its territory is acting in a way which is incompatible with European Union Law, according to an Opinion of the European Court of Justice.