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Business news and information from the European Union

EU approves acquisition of Tarmac of Germany
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation part of the proposed acquisition of the aggregate activities of Tarmac, part of the UK-based Anglo American group, by Eurovia, part of the French Vinci group.

Spain to label certain products in Braille
At a Seminar on Consumer Safety in Palma de Mallorca Spain's Minister of Health and Social Policy, Trinidad Jiménez, said the Spanish Government is drawing up a decree for certain products to be labelled in Braille.

EU okays Latvian state aid for exporting firms
The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, a measure adopted by Latvia to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting firms.

Bulgaria and Romania move a step closer to Schengen area
Bulgaria and Romania have moved a step closer to having their border checks with the borderless Schengen area lifted. An EU Council decision that both comply with data security requirements for joining the "Schengen Information System" border control database was approved by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday.

New rules in the EU to provide high-quality cross-border healthcare
EU Health Ministers today agreed on a draft directive which aims to facilitate the access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare and to promote cooperation on healthcare between member states.

Hungary Mining Act violates EU state aid rules: EC
The European Commission has concluded that a 2005 agreement between the Hungarian government and the Oil and Gas Company MOL conferred a financial advantage on the company that cannot be exempted under EU State aid rules.

EU approves EUR 16m for new Fiat transmission unit
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, EUR 16 million of regional investment aid, which the Italian authorities intend to grant to Fiat Powertrain Technologies, a subsidiary of the Fiat Group, for the production of car transmissions in Verrone, Italy.

Euro-MPs urge application of common EU energy rules
The EU should accelerate the application of common energy policy rules, and the policy itself must aim to improve competitiveness, security of supply and sustainability, concluded a joint meeting of over 250 MEPs and MPs from EU Member States in Brussels on Tuesday.

EU to strengthen cross-border cooperation on VAT fraud
EU Finance Ministers today reached an agreement on a draft regulation which will enable EU member states to combine efforts in combating fraud with regard to value-added taxation (VAT).

Sustainable fishing practices cannot be postponed: European Commission
The European Commission calls on EU Member States to urgently take action in implementing the EU 'Mediterranean Regulation', adopted in 2006, which aims to fight overfishing.

EU warns Italy on discriminatory pension age again
The European Commission has issued on Thursday a new request to Italy to comply with a 2008 European Court of Justice ruling that different pensionable ages for male and female civil servants violate the principle of equal pay.

EU to tighten rules on animal experimentation
The EU Council for Justice and Home Affairs has yesterday supported a draft directive for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, aimed at strengthening the protection of animals whilst allowing research to continue playing a key role in the fight against diseases.

EU takes action against Suez Environnement for antitrust practices
The European Commission has opened formal proceedings against French group Suez Environnement over an alleged breach of a seal affixed during an inspection by the Commission in April at the premises of the French group's subsidiary, Lyonnaise des Eaux.

EU questions Italy, Poland and Germany over safety of inland waterways vessels
The European Commission has yesterday sent reasoned opinions to Italy, Poland and Germany for failing to notify measures for the implementation of EU legislation ensuring technical harmonisation and safety on EU inland waterways.

EU warns Finland on personal tax data
The European Commission today warned Finland that its data protection law may be breaking EU rules. Finnish taxpayers’ personal data is available to the public and is being collected by businesses for sale as special publications, CDs and text messages.

EU accepts BT/Ofcom plans for fibre broadband 'virtual unbundling'
The European Commission has accepted UK telecoms regulator Ofcom's proposal to oblige British Telecom to provide 'virtual' access to its optical fibre infrastructure to alternative operators.

EU approves capital injection into Irish Educational Building Society
The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules an emergency recapitalisation worth €875 million in favour of the Irish Educational Building Society (EBS) for a period of six months as urgent rescue aid.

Euro-MPs call for harmonisation of copyright at European level
As a response to the growth of unauthorised file sharing of copyrighted works, the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee agreed on Tuesday to urge the European Commission to introduce EU-wide copyright licences in order to combat the breach of intellectual property rights (IPR).

Euro-MPs back new compensation rights for bus, coach and boat travellers
European bus, coach and boat passengers would have the same compensation rights as air passengers under proposals put forward by the European Parliament's transport committee today.

Twelve EU Member States on way to make cross-border divorces easier
European Legal Affairs MPs backed today arrangements which would enable divorcing international couples to choose which EU country's law governs their divorce.

EU aims to bridge the digital divide
EU Transport Ministers at their telecommunications session today approved the European Digital Agenda for high-speed internet and secure digital market, among others, to boost growth and employment in the EU.

Euro-MPs favour new labels for animal-friendly products
A European Parliament committee has voted in favour of new product labelling to help consumers identify and choose animal welfare-friendly products.

EU urges trading partners to remove protectionist barriers
Protectionist barriers are on the increase during the economic crisis, according to an EU report published today. In it, the European Commission calls on the EU's trading partners to remove trade restrictions in order to boost economic recovery.

EU approves acquisition of Mobil Oil Austria by ENI
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Mobil Oil Austria by Agip Austria, which is wholly controlled by ENI of Italy.

EU seeks high privacy standards in EU-US data protection agreement
The European Commission has adopted a draft mandate to negotiate a personal data protection agreement between the European Union and the United States when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime. The agreement would give citizens more rights to manage their data.