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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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Action Plan on VAT - Towards a single EU VAT area 18 January 2018, 15:47 CET
On 7 April 2016 the European Commission adopted an Action Plan on VAT - Towards a single EU VAT area. Following adoption of this Action Plan, the European Commission has made a series of proposals to work towards its completion.

Circular economy - Eurostat facts and figures 17 January 2018, 23:23 CET
A circular economy aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible and minimise the generation of waste. The European Commission published on 16 January a Communication on the monitoring framework for the circular economy and an accompanying staff working document. In order to underpin this initiative, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, is launching a new website section dedicated to circular economy reporting all the indicators of the monitoring framework, updated with latest data, as well as supporting visualisation tools.

Clean Energy for All Europeans 17 January 2018, 20:44 CET
On 30 November 2016, the European Commission presented a new package of measures with the goal of providing the stable legislative framework needed to facilitate the clean energy transition - and thereby taking a significant step towards the creation of the Energy Union. Aimed at enabling the EU to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitments, the 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' proposals are intended to help the EU energy sector become more stable, more competitive, and more sustainable, and fit for the 21st century. With a view to stimulating investment in the clean energy transition, the package has three main goals: Putting energy efficiency first; Achieving global leadership in renewable energies; Providing a fair deal for consumers

Payment services (PSD 2) - Directive (EU) 2015/2366 12 January 2018, 17:40 CET
In 2015 the EU adopted a new directive on payment services (PSD 2) to improve the existing rules and take new digital payment services into account. The directive became applicable in January 2018. It includes provisions to make it easier and safer to use internet payment services; better protect consumers against fraud, abuse, and payment problems; promote innovative mobile and internet payment services; strengthen consumer rights; strengthen the role of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to coordinate supervisory authorities and draft technical standards

Directive on Payment Services (PSD) 12 January 2018, 17:37 CET
The European Commission is working to create an efficient and integrated market for payment services in the EU. The EU is aiming to create a single payment area which lets citizens and businesses make cross-border payments as easily and safely as they would in their own countries; and where cross-border payments are subject to the same charges as domestic payments.

Novel food 04 January 2018, 00:01 CET
Novel Food is defined as food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force.

Provisional calendar of meetings under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council 03 January 2018, 18:31 CET
Provisional agendas for Council meetings during the first semester of 2018 (Bulgaria Presidency). This is a draft programme subject to changes.

EU Presidency 03 January 2018, 18:28 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 2018) is held by Bulgaria.

Preliminary results of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 03 January 2018, 18:15 CET
The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU worked with a total of 377 drafts, including legislative initiatives, strategies and communications, Estonia also brought new topics to the agenda.

Energy Efficiency of Buildings 19 December 2017, 23:43 CET
Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. While new buildings generally need fewer than three to five litres of heating oil per square meter per year, older buildings consume about 25 litres on average. Some buildings even require up to 60 litres. Currently, about 35% of the EU's buildings are over 50 years old. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, we could reduce total EU energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%.

Europass 19 December 2017, 13:06 CET
Europass is a European Union initiative to increase transparency of qualification and mobility of citizens in Europe. It aims to make a person's skills and qualifications clearly understood throughout Europe. Europass consists of five documents: two documents (Europass curriculum vitae (CV) and Europass Language Passport) you can fill in yourself; and three other documents (Europass Certificate Supplement, Europass Diploma Supplement and Europass Mobility) filled in and issued by competent organisations.

Inter-institutional register of delegated acts 14 December 2017, 18:19 CET
This register gives you access to the various steps in the preparation, adoption, scrutiny and publication of delegated acts. Delegated acts supplement or amend existing EU legislation.

European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) 13 December 2017, 22:49 CET
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is an initiative to help overcome the current investment gap in the EU. Jointly launched by the EIB Group and the European Commission, it aims to mobilise private investment in projects which are strategically important for the EU.

Approval of pesticides in the EU 12 December 2017, 23:15 CET
What are pesticides? Who decides on their authorisation? Who is responsible for their use? How can pesticides be used safely? An active substance is only approved by the European Commission after a rigorous and lengthy science-based assessment to ensure its use is safe. The assessment of these dossiers is then conducted jointly by: the national authorities in EU Member States; the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

EU External Investment Plan (EIP) 12 December 2017, 16:49 CET
The External Investment Plan (EIP) was adopted in September 2017 to help boost investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood. It aims to: contribute to the UN's sustainable development goals (SDG) while tackling some of the root causes of migration; mobilise and leverage sustainable public and private investments to improve economic and social development with a particular focus on decent job creation.The EIP supports partner countries by: mobilising finance - through the European Fund for Sustainable Development; providing technical assistance to help prepare investment projects; developing a favourable investment climate and business environment.

Access City Award 07 December 2017, 13:20 CET
European cities today have a steadily ageing population, as well as a growing number of persons with disabilities. These Europeans have difficulty getting around in the urban environment and making full use of the services and facilities which others take for granted. The Access City Award recognises and celebrates a city's willingness, capability and efforts to ensure accessibility in order to guarantee equal access to fundamental rights; improve the quality of life of its population and ensure that everybody - regardless of age, mobility or ability - has equal access to all the resources and pleasures cities have to offer.

EU trade defence 06 December 2017, 22:36 CET
The EU stands firm against unfair trade practices through anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures. This is necessary to uphold the EU's commitment to open markets. The EU is one of the main users of trade defence instruments globally. It ensures that procedures are followed rigorously and takes all the Union’s interests into account. The EU applies trade defence instruments in accordance with EU and WTO law. The European Commission monitors the application of these instruments, follows up the enforcement of measures and negotiates future rules with international partners.

List of airlines banned within the EU 30 November 2017, 23:24 CET
The EU Safety List (i.e. "Community list of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban within the Community") is a list of airlines which the European Commission, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and the Council of 14 December 2005 on the establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community and on informing air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier and on the basis of the advice of the EU Air Safety Committee, decided to subject to either a complete or a partial operating ban within the European Union, for failure to adhere to the applicable international safety standards.

Urban Agenda for the EU 30 November 2017, 14:25 CET
The Commission is working together with cities to ensure a good quality of life. See how the Commission helps cities to grow sustainably through sharing of knowledge, funding, and other urban policies and initiatives.

Guidance to help pharma companies prepare for Brexit 30 November 2017, 13:59 CET
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published additional guidance to help pharmaceutical companies prepare for the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU). The guidance document outlines the practical and simplified requirements that companies should follow when they apply for changes to their marketing authorisation to allow for the continued marketing of their medicine in the European Economic Area after the UK withdraws from the EU. The guidance has been prepared on the basis that the UK will become a third country as of 30 March 2019.

Joint Africa-EU Strategy 30 November 2017, 13:14 CET
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy was launched at the Africa–EU Summit in Lisbon in 2007 and sets out the intention of both continents to move beyond a donor/recipient relationship towards long-term cooperation on jointly identified, mutual and complementary interests. It is based on principles of ownership, partnership and solidarity and its adoption marks a new phase in Africa-EU relations.

What I need to know about Biosimilar Medicines - Information for patients 29 November 2017, 17:15 CET
The European Commission launched today additional translations of the Q&A paper “What I Need to Know about Biosimilar Medicines – Information for patients’’ making it available now in 23 official European languages, in order to provide patients with easy-to-understand information about biosimilar medicines. What are biosimilar medicines? How are they produced? How are they approved? Are they safe? – These questions and many more are addressed in this paper. Empowering patients to engage, discuss and participate in decisions on their treatment options is key to improving patient outcomes and contributing to the effective treatment of their individual condition(s).

State of Health in the EU 23 November 2017, 22:49 CET
The State of Health in the EU is a two-year initiative undertaken by the European Commission that provides policy makers, interest groups, and health practitioners with factual, comparative data and insights into health and health systems in EU countries. The cycle is developed in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

SME Performance Review 23 November 2017, 15:35 CET
The SME Performance Review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to monitor and assess countries' progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) on a yearly basis. With an emphasis on the measures from the SBA Action Plan, the review brings comprehensive information on the performance of SMEs in EU countries and other partner countries. It consists of two parts: an annual report on European SMEs and SBA country fact sheets.

Gambling 23 November 2017, 00:33 CET
The EU gambling market is estimated at around EUR 84.9 billion and grows at a yearly rate of around 3%. Online gambling is particularly popular with around 6.8 million consumers in the EU and a wide variety of operators offering services. In 2012, online gambling services represented more than 12% of the EU’s gambling market with annual revenues of over EUR 10 billion. Annual revenues in 2015 for online gambling are expected to increase to EUR 13 billion.