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Business news and information from the European Union

Euro-MPs urge tightening of animal welfare rules
More frequent inspections and tougher penalties will be needed to enforce the next EU Animal Welfare Action Plan, says a resolution adopted by the European Parliament today.

"Bulk data" transfers to the US against EU law, warn MEPs
Euro-MPs warned today that any new agreement on providing bank data to the United States must avoid "bulk data" transfers until they can be processed within the EU.

Incoming British government 'must tackle rising debt'
EU forecasts on the eve of the British general election put Britain under the highest public deficit levels in Europe, with Brussels warning the next government must focus first on the shortfall.

Euro-MPs urge more time for combustion plants to comply with emission limits
Certain combustion plants, including some fossil-fuel power stations, should be allowed extra time to meet stricter rules on industrial emissions, Euro-MPs said today. The proposal will be voted in July.

First steps towards reform of EU's Common Fisheries Policy
The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy begins today, stated the Spanish Minister for the Environment, as the Informal Meeting of Fisheries Ministers in Vigo, Spain, got under way on Tuesday.

E.ON's commitments open up German gas market to competitors
The European Commission has adopted a decision that renders legally binding commitments offered by E.ON to effectively open up access to the German gas market.

EU proposes rules for fishery imports from Greenland
The European Commission proposes rules for imports of fishery products from Greenland into the EU. These rules will affect fish, fishery products as well as by-products derived from these sources.

New social security regulations enter into force in the EU
On 1 May 2010, new regulations on social security coordination in the European Union enter into force. The aim is to make life easier for Europeans on the move.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy high on the EU's agenda
European Fisheries ministers and stakeholders alike will be discussing the future shape of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy at two major events in Spain over the next days.

Late business payments: MEPs want deadlines
MEPs believe that deadlines for paying bills in the business world should be laid down by law for both the private and public sectors. Yesterday Euro-MPs approved amendments to a planned EU directive designed to tackle the problem of late payments.

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.