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Business news and information from the European Union

Euro-MPs call for equal rights for part-time and contract workers
Any reform of labour law should seek to protect workers in "non-standard" employment, such as part-time or temporary work, and make it easier to move between various types of work and unemployment, says a resolution adopted by European Parliament on Tuesday.

EU approves acquisition of Círculo by Spanish media group Planeta
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by the Spanish media group Planeta of joint control of the Spanish book club Círculo, currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann.

Euro-MPs set to cut red tape in maritime transport
Ships entering and departing from EU ports will no longer be subject to complex, repetitive administrative formalities thanks to a new directive approved by European Parliament on Tuesday.

EU approves merger between IT companies Bell Micro and Avnet
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Bell Micro by Avnet. Avnet and Bell Micro are both US-based distributors of information technology products.

EU to increase investor protection in EU investment fund market
The European Commission has today completed a programme of improvements to the EU framework for investment funds. The new rules better empower investors by requiring a new standardised fund document, while also setting out in detail the high standards of conduct of business that investment fund managers must comply with.

EU reviews options for revised Market Abuse Directive
The European Commission have launched a public consultation on the review of the Market Abuse Directive. Its objective is to consult financial market participants, governments, competent authorities and other stakeholders on the modifications to the Market Abuse Directive that the Commission is considering for its forthcoming legislative proposal.

EU approves Total's partial acquisition of Polimeri of Belgium
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed sale of Polimeri's polystyrene business at Feluy, Belgium, to Total Petrochemicals Feluy S.A.

EU contract law to smooth Single Market for businesses
The European Commission proposed today options for a more coherent approach to contract law. The goal is to bring more legal certainty for businesses and simpler rules for consumers.

EU moves a step closer to a Single Patent
The European Commission presented today a proposal on translation arrangements for a future EU Patent, the final element needed for a single EU Patent to become a reality.

EU consults on implementation of Services Directive
The European Commission is inviting interested parties to share their views on those aspects of national legislation which are being discussed by EU Member States in the "mutual evaluation process", forseen by the Services Directive, transposed in December 2009.

New EU organic logo comes into force on 1 July
New EU rules on organic food labelling including the requirement to display the new EU organic logo, enter into force on 1 July, 2010. The so-called “Euro-Leaf” will now be obligatory on pre-packaged organic food products that have been produced in any of EU Member States and meet the necessary standards.

EU approves restructuring of Austrian bank BAWAG
The European Commission has authorised under EU State aid rules a €550 million capital injection provided by Austria in favour of the BAWAG bank and approved a new restructuring plan of the bank.

EU clears extension of bank support measures in 4 Member States
The European Commission has extended its authorisation under EU state aid rules until 31 December 2010 of the Dutch and Slovenian bank guarantee schemes and the Greek and Polish bank support measures.

EU approves bank support schemes in 4 Member States
The European Commission has extended, under EU state aid rules, until 31 December 2010, guarantee schemes for banks in Ireland, Spain and Denmark and a liquidity scheme in Hungary. The extended schemes feature higher premiums to be paid by the banks for the guarantees and liquidity granted by the State.

EU okays bail-out of Spain's Caja Castilla-La Mancha
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, Spanish aid for the restructuring of Caja Castilla-La Mancha because it adequately addresses the problems that led to the bail-out of the bank in 2009 whilst avoiding undue distortions of competition.

Euro-MPs call for food price transparency
New legislation is needed to ensure fair returns to farmers and transparent prices to consumers, by enforcing fair competition throughout the food supply chain, said the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee on Monday.

EU launches multilingual website on succession laws
EU citizens living outside their home countries are confronted with different succession laws in the 27 EU Member States. To help citizens become better informed about these laws, the Council of the Notariats of the EU launched a website today in 22 EU languages plus Croatian.

EU approves Foxconn's acquisition of Sony's television production in Slovakia and Mexico
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by the Taiwanese company Foxconn of Sony entities producing televisions in Slovakia and Mexico.

New EU measures to ease access to structural funds
The EU adopted yesterday new measures aimed at simplifying management rules for the structural and cohesion funds to help regions tackle the crisis. The changes should help to facilitate access to the funds and accelerate flows of investment at a time when public budgets are under pressure.

New EU trust label to make e-trading more reliable
The European Parliament's Internal Market Committee approved today new proposals for a European trust mark to encourage cross-border e-trading by building consumer trust.

12 Member States warned to implement EU rules on shareholders' rights
The European Commission is taking action against a twelve EU Member States in the area of public procurement and for late implementation of the Shareholders' Rights Directive.

EC tells UK to comply with EU data protection rules
The powers of Britain's data protection authority need to be strengthened if they are to comply with the EU's Data Protection Directive, the European Commission said today.

Portugal must comply with Natura 2000 rules, warns EC
The European Commission has requested that Portugal ensure coastal developments in sensitive natural areas are fully compliant with EU environmental protection law.

EU approves EUR 390m aid for Polish gas project
The European Commission has authorised, under the EU state aid rules, the provision of state grants amounting to EUR 390 million for the construction or capacity increase of four underground gas storage sites in Poland.

EU to investigate aid granted to SEA Handling of Italy
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into compensation for losses incurred by SEA Handling, an Italian groundhandling company operating at airports in Milan. The losses have been absorbed by the Italian authorities since 2002 through the public airport operator at Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate airports.