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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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Doing Business in Germany
Rivergate Associates is a German-based, business development firm, focused on assisting technology companies in entering the German Market.

Finfacts Irish Finance
Finfacts is Ireland's leading business / finance / e-business information portal service providing both business managers and financial consumers with up-to-date information in a wide variety of areas from interest/deposit information to stock market performance and e-commerce.

ALFI Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry
ALFI - Association Luxembourgeoise des Fonds d'Investissement - the official trade association of the world's 4th largest investment fund industry, strives to protect the interests of its members and to promote Luxembourg as a major financial centre. Its mission statement is: To lead industry efforts to make Luxembourg the most attractive international center for investment funds.

Netherlands foreign trade agency
The Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency (EVD) is an arm of the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs specially created to further the international activities of companies and entrepeneurs from all sectors of the Dutch economy.

Netherlands trade
This website aims to be of assistance to those doing business in Holland. It is expected to expand its services soon. This Trade & Industry site is an initiative of the Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency (EVD) and Holland.com.

Privacy Protection in the EU
The EU regulatory framework for electronic communications comprises a series of legal texts and associated measures that apply throughout the 25 EU Member States. The goals of the new framework are to encourage competition in the electronic communications markets, to improve the functioning of the internal market and to guarantee basic user interests that would not be guaranteed by market forces. The framework provides a set of rules that are simple, aimed at deregulation, technology neutral and sufficiently flexible to deal with fast changing markets in the electronic communications sector.

EU steel sector
The European Union, producing 193 million tonnes of crude steel, accounts for 18% of world production. China is the largest producer with 272 million tonnes (26% of world production), followed by Japan with 113 million tonnes and the USA with 99 million tonnes. The value of the annual EU steel production is estimated at EUR 21 billion, representing more than 1% of the Union’s GDP. Employment in the steel sector has contracted steadily over the years, so much so that from 1 million people working in the sector in 1970 there are now just 347,000 employed which represent less than 1.5% of the total employment in EU manufacturing industries.

Future of Europe debate - Europa
Documents, debates, events about the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) - Opinions of the European Parliament, European Commission, European Central Bank, European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Air transport in the EU
Of all forms of transport, air travel has seen by far the most impressive growth in the European Union over the last twenty years. In terms of passenger-kilometres, traffic increased by an average of 7.4 per cent a year between the year 1980 and 2001, while traffic at the airports af the 15 Member States increased five-fold since 1970. Despite the impact on air transport of the 11th of September terrorist attack it's expected that the traffic trend will recover in the coming years - European Commission web site

European Culture portal
Since its inclusion in the Treaty on the European Union, cultural cooperation has become a new community competency. The European Commission Culture site is aimed mainly at European cultural operators who want to set up cooperation projects with other European partners. Information on the numerous other EU policies for the promotion of culture is available on the European Culture Portal.

Euro Info Centres
Euro Info Centres or EICs inform, advise, and assist businesses on Community issues. They also provide feedback to the European Commission about community matters affecting SMEs. EICs are well integrated in the local and regional business environment, while their teams are familiar with European practices. EICs are in constant contact with the European Commission and get access to a business support network comprising of more than 300 centres across more than 45 countries.

EU shipbuilding sector
The shipbuilding industry is an important and strategic industry in a number of EU member states and for the European Community as a whole. There are more than 150 shipyards in the EU, with around 40 of them active in the global market for large sea-going vessels. The production in the EU concentrates increasingly in high-value market segments. The shipyards employ around 100.000 people directly and more than 400 000 indirectly. Since the enlargement of the EU, the annual turnover of the EU shipbuilding industry is more than EUR 11.5 billion.

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.