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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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VAT in the European Community
The country-specific documents on this European Commission page contain basic information on the application of VAT in the Member States for the use by administrations, business, information networks, etc.

VAT Invoicing Rules in the EU
The European Council adopted on 20 December 2001 a Directive (2001/115/EC) on VAT Invoicing. This Directive, which amends the 6th VAT Directive, had to be implemented into national Law before 1 January 2004. The Commission says this measure will be of significant practical benefit to firms operating within the Internal Market because it will ensure that they have only to deal with a single, simplified set of rules on invoicing valid throughout the EU instead of fifteen different sets of legislation. At the same time, the Directive requires Member States to recognise the validity of electronic invoices and allow cross-border electronic invoicing and electronic storage.

InfoTech France
The web site of the international network of CFME ACTIM press offices is funded by both the French government and by french companies. The press offices promote French technology and innovations to the international press.

Invest in France Agency
The Invest in France Agency is responsible for encouraging long-term international investment and reports to the Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry and to the Minister of Regional Development.

Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the Community's legislative body; for a wide range of Community issues, it exercises that legislative power in co-decision with the European Parliament. The Council is composed of one representative at ministerial level from each Member State, who is empowered to commit his Government. Council members are politically accountable to their national parliaments.

European Convention
The European Convention completed its work on 10 July 2003. Its site, the contents of which are dated 31 July 2003 remains open for consultation.

Developing Countries: Expanding Exports Helpdesk
The Export Helpdesk is an online service, provided by the European Commission, to facilitate market access for developing countries to the European Union. This free and user-friendly service provides relevant information required by developing country exporters interested in supplying the EU market.

REACH - New EU Chemicals Legislation
On 29 October 2003, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new EU regulatory framework for chemicals. Under the proposed new system called REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CHemicals), companies that manufacture or import more than one tonne of a chemical substance per year would be required to register it in a central database. The aims of the proposed new Regulation are to improve the protection of human health and the environment while maintaining the competitiveness and enhancing the innovative capability of the EU chemicals industry. REACH would in addition give greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. This information would be passed down the chain of production. The proposal is being considered by the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for adoption under the so-called co-decision procedure.

VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically
The objective is to create a level playing field for the indirect taxation of digital electronic commerce for EU and non-EU businesses and to make compliance for non-EU businesses as easy and straightforward as possible. The changes modernise the existing VAT place of supply rules for services to accommodate the electronic business environment and to provide a clear and certain regulatory environment for all suppliers, located within or outside the EU.

The EU's Lisbon strategy - Growth and Jobs
The Lisbon Strategy is a commitment to bring about economic, social and environmental renewal in the EU. In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to make the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy. Under the strategy, a stronger economy will drive job creation alongside social and environmental policies that ensure sustainable development and social inclusion.

e-Health in Europe
The EU Health Strategy aims to integrate all EU health-related policies and concentrate resources where the Community can provide real added value. The e-Health action plan was adopted 30 April 2004. eHealth - making healthcare better for European citizens: An action plan for a European e-Health Area

Road Transport in the EU
EU policy objectives for road transport are to promote efficient road freight and passengers transport services, to create fair conditions for competition, to promote and harmonise safer and more environmental friendly technical standards, to ensure a minimum fiscal and social harmonisation and to make sure that the rules in road transport are effectively applied without discrimination.

Sport and the European Union
Although not directed specifically at sport, many of the rules, policies and programmes of the European Union have an impact on the sports world or are of interest to it. Within the European Commission's Directorate-General Education and Culture is the Sport Unit, which is responsible for cooperation within the Commission and with other institutions on sport- related issues; cooperation with national and international sports institutions, organisations and federations; bilateral meetings with sports institutions and organisations and international sports federations.

EU policies on new and renewable energies
New and Renewable Energies - European Commission web site. The development of renewable energy - particularly energy from wind, water, solar power and biomass - is a central aim of the European Commission's energy policy.

EU trade - access to essential medecines
Infectious diseases are responsible for almost half of all deaths in developing countries, and half of these diseases are caused by HIV (AIDS), tuberculosis and malaria. More than 2 billion inhabitants of the world do not have regular access to adequate treatment and cure. AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria alone kill 5 million people each year mostly in developing countries. European Union initiatives

Audiovisual and Media Policies in the European Union
The audiovisual sector directly employs over one million people in the European Union. In addition to its economic importance, it also plays a key social and cultural role: television is the most important source of information and entertainment in European Societies, with 98% of homes having a television, and the average European watching more than 200 minutes television per day.

Development DG European Commission
The mandate of DG Development of the European Commission is to enhance the development policies in all developing countries world-wide. DG Development provides policy guidance on development policy and oversees the programming of aid in the ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT). The Cotonou Agreement provides the framework for a 20-year partnership for development aid to 77 ACP countries, funded mainly by the European Development Fund.

Financial crime in the EU
The creation of the Single Market and the breaking down of barriers not only aids legitimate business, but may also provide increased opportunities for money laundering and financial crime. European legislation has been adopted to protect the financial system and other vulnerable professions and activities from being misused for money laundering and financing of terrorism purposes. At the wider international level, the Internal Market Directorate General heads the European Commission's delegation to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, the foremost world body active in this area.

Regional policy in the EU
The European Union's regional policy is based on financial solidarity inasmuch as part of Member States' contributions to the Community budget goes to the less prosperous regions and social groups.

EU Water Framework Directive
The EU Water Framework Directive - integrated river basin management for Europe: on 23 October 2000, the "Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy" was finally adopted.

Tourism - EU Internet Guide for the tourism sector
The Internet Guide for the tourism sector contains information on various EU programmes, schemes, funds, initiatives and actions of interest to the tourism sector and establishes Internet links to the homepages of the relevant programmes. The objective of this new Internet guide is to make available to actors in the tourism sector and to other interested people, a comprehensive and structured overview of the opportunities the Community offers to help the development of sustainable tourism.

Copyright and neighbouring rights in the EU Internal Market
There has been significant harmonisation of the substantive copyright law in the European Union to reduce barriers to trade and to adjust the framework to new forms of exploitation. Common ground is also needed with respect to the rules on the enforcement of rights, i.e. on access to justice, sanctions and remedies regarding infringements. In order to grasp the full potential of marketing intellectual property rights in the Internal Market, the EU Commission believes that complementary measures on the management and licensing of these rights may also prove necessary. The Internal Market DG's task is to enforce the "acquis" on copyright and related rights; to advance it further and to modernise and adapt it to new developments in technology or the markets concerned as this is an evolving scenario.

Bankruptcy - Restructuring, bankruptcy and a fresh start
Entrepreneurship can trigger the creation of wealth and employment and within the EU entrepreneurial activity should be encouraged. Many in the EU feel that there is a stigma on failure, which works as deterrent to entrepreneurial initiative. This climate is contrasted with the climate in the US where business failure is in certain business communities considered as a learning experience. This report, prepared for the European Commission in November 2003, assesses national bankruptcy laws in the EU member states and the extent to which these act as a deterrent to business survival and a fresh start, as well as the effects of social stigma on the potential of entrepreneurs who have try but fail to try again.

Translation Directorate-General of the European Commission
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation is the largest translation service in the world. Located in Brussels and Luxembourg, it has a permanent staff of some 1 650 linguists and 550 support staff, and also uses freelance translators all over the world. Known as the DGT after its English initials, the service translates written text into and out of all the EU's official languages, exclusively for the European Commission. Interpretation of the spoken word is the responsibility of the Commission's Directorate-General for Interpretation.

Languages of Europe
Official languages of Europe statistics: The official EU languages; Policy issues; Awareness raising; Language teaching; Language learning; EU funding opportunities; Key documents; Useful links