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Business news and information from the European Union

EU updates aviation security rules
New measures to streamline and simplify the EU framework for aviation security, first put in place in 2002 after the September 11 attacks, came into force today.

EU okay for State Street's Intesa Sanpaolo acquisition
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of two subsidiaries of the Italian Intesa Sanpaolo banking group by an US-based corporation.

EU opens consultation on double taxation
The European Commission launched today an online public consultation to ask individuals, companies and tax advisers for information on double taxation problems that they have encountered when operating across borders within the EU.

Progress on services directive too slow, say Euro-MPs
The hotly contested services directive was due to be implemented in national law by 28 December 2009. This Tuesday, four months after the deadline, MEPs and members of national parliaments held a meeting in Brussels to discuss whether the EU Member States have done their duty in this regard.

MEPs want rules on working hours to apply to self-employed drivers
Members of the European Parliament have voted against a Commission proposal that self-employed drivers be exempted from the 2002 Working Time Directive on the road transport industry.

Euro-MPs vote to curb energy consumption
MEPs approved today EU energy efficiency legislation for buildings and the new layout of the EU energy efficiency label.

EU authorises compensation to electricity producers in Hungary
The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, an aid scheme to compensate electricity producers for costs incurred after liberalisation of the market in Hungary.

EU moots centre to combat cybercrime in Europe
The EU on Monday set out plans for a centre to combat cybercrime in Europe. Ministers meeting in Luxembourg proposed the new centre as part of a longer term strategy to cope more effectively with the crimes committed by means of electronic networks.

Cheaper drugs incentive schemes ruled legal by European court
The European Court of Justice has ruled that public authorities may offer financial incentives to induce doctors to prescribe cheaper medicinal products.

MEPs want say on EU employment guidelines
The European Parliament is calling on the European Council to postpone adopting the EU 2020 economic competitiveness strategy until the autumn, to give MEPs time to properly analyse the proposals.

ECB to demand loan-level information on asset bonds
The European Central Bank is to begin work on the establishment of loan-by-loan information requirements for asset-backed securities (ABSs) in the Eurosystem collateral framework.

Illegal cigarette factory in Lithuania raided
An illegal cigarette factory in Vilnius, capable of producing at least 1000 cigarettes a minute, has been raided and closed down in an operation mounted by Lithuanian Customs supported by OLAF.

EU responds to Internet consumers' fears over traffic monitoring
The negotiation parties of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) today published the documents of the 8th round of negotiations held in Wellington on 12-16 April.

Commission acts to bolster citizens' protection and security
The European Commission today presented concrete actions – with set timetables – to boost citizens' ability to work, travel and study outside their home countries, thereby enhancing citizens' security.

Commission authorises Bulgaria to grant limited aid to farmers
The European Commission authorised a Bulgarian scheme with a budget of BGN 20 million (approximately € 10,26 million) which aims at supporting agricultural holdings.

Commission authorises Austrian scheme for farmers aid
The European Commission authorised an Austrian scheme with a budget of approximately €1.2 million which aims at supporting farmers in Austria who encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis.

Commission revises EU competition rules
The European Commission has adopted a new Regulation that 'block exempts' distribution and supply agreements at different levels of the production and distribution chain.

EU greenlights Polish CO2 emissions allocation plan
The European Commission has no objections to Poland's new national allocation plan for distributing CO2 emission allowances for the 2008-2012 trading period of the EU Emissions Trading System.

Customs security procedures in a few clicks: new European portal
The European Commission has launched the first phase of a new web portal to help businesses to understand and follow the customs procedures for importing goods into and exporting goods from the EU.

Ministers agree improvements to energy performance of buildings
The Council of Ministers agreed today on improvements to the energy performance of buildings directive which aim to clarify, strengthen and extend the scope of the current Directive and to reduce the large differences between Member states' practices in this sector.

Ministers agree on labelling of energy-related products
The Council of Ministers agreed today to extend the Directive on the indication by labelling, restricted to household appliances, to all energy-related products.

Commission approves second prolongation of Slovenian liquidity scheme for the financial sector
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, the second prolongation until 30 June 2010 of a Slovenian liquidity scheme for the financial sector.

Commission approves €19 million German support to Salzgitter AG
The European Commission has authorised Germany to grant €19.1 million for an energy-saving steel production project run by Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, a subsidiary of the Salzgitter AG group.

Commission authorises French funding for Daher-Socata and Sogerma
The European Commission has authorised France under EU State aid rules to grant repayable advances of €35.14 million to Daher-Socata (€12.34 million) and Sogerma (€22.8 million).

Commission increases electricity trading capacity on the Swedish borders
The European Commission has adopted a decision rendering legally binding commitments offered by Svenska Kraftnät (SvK) that will increase trade in electricity within Sweden and between Sweden and neighbouring countries.