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Business news and information from the European Union

EU prepares for increased threat of Covid variants
The EU Commission put forward plans Wednesday for a new European bio-defence preparedness plan to pull together available resources to ready the EU against the increased threat of coronavirus variants.

EU Council signs off on airline slot relief
EU ministers signed off an amendment to the Slot Regulation Monday, relieving airlines of airport slot-use requirements for the summer 2021 scheduling season, to protect airlines and help the environment.

EU stiffens defences against unfair trading
Robust new trade enforcement rules entered into force in the European Union on Monday designed to further strengthen the EU's toolbox in defending itself against unfair trading practices.

EU growth forecast sees hope at end of Covid tunnel
With Europe in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU's winter economic forecast provided grounds for cautious optimism Thursday, projecting stronger growth momentum for the second half of 2021 and 2022.

MEPs greenlight EU's EUR 672.5 bn stimulus funding
The European Parliament gave the green light Wednesday to EUR 672.5 billion in grants and loans from a 'Recovery and Resilience' fund to help EU countries tackle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

States provisionally agree update to EU ePrivacy rules
The EU member states agreed Wednesday on a negotiating mandate for revised rules on the protection of privacy and confidentiality in the use of electronic communications services.

Brussels mulls changes to VAT rules for financial and insurance services
The EU Commission launched a public consultation Tuesday to gather views on the current VAT rules for financial and insurance services, and to seek ideas on possible improvements.

EU agency needs to be more open in pandemic response: Ombudsman
The EU Ombudsman called Tuesday for greater transparency and public scrutiny at Europe's disease prevention agency, as part of a wide-ranging enquiry into how EU institutions responded to the pandemic.

States fail to transpose new EU telecoms rules
The EU Commission started legal action Thursday against 24 Member States for failing to enact a new EU telecoms directive which regulates and reforms electronic communications networks and services.

Lift-off for Europe's biggest ever R&D programme
The EU's Portuguese presidency launched the ambitious research and innovation programme 'Horizon Europe' Tuesday with a budget of EUR 95 billion to spur Europe's economic recovery from 2021-2027.

EU sets out plan for joint action against cancer
A new EU approach to cancer prevention, treatment and care, outlined Wednesday by the EU Commission, tackles the entire disease pathway from prevention to quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.

Brussels consults on new EU Soil Strategy
The EU Commission launched a public consultation on a new EU soil strategy Tuesday, the last of a set of consultations on different ecosystems which forms part of the EU's biodiversity strategy.

Innovation divide holds back EU research potential
The capacity of European firms to take up and develop state-of-the-art technology varies considerably among Member States and prevents the EU from fully exploiting its potential, EU auditors said Tuesday.

EU disburses EUR 14 bn to help fight social impact of Covid
The EU Commission disbursed EUR 14 billion to nine Member States Tuesday in the fourth instalment of financial support to Member States to help alleviate the social impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stricter EU rules against homemade explosives into force
New EU rules to restrict access to explosive precursors, in force from Monday, strengthen controls on the sale and marketing of dangerous chemicals used by terrorists to build homemade explosives.

EU sets up 'temporary' Covid vaccine export controls
Vaccine exports outside the EU will be subject to an authorisation by Member States, the European Commission announced Friday, "to ensure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines for all EU citizens".

Wine and food boost for EU-Japan trade deal on 2nd anniversary
The EU hailed the success of the EU-Japan trade deal on its second anniversary Monday, as it agreed a number of improvements to the agreement in the area of protected foods, wine and vehicle trade.

EU looks to clamp down on website 'greenwashing'
'Greenwashing' - where websites take advantage of consumers looking to buy environmentally sound products - is on the increase, an EU report on online breaches of EU consumer law found Thursday.

EU okays EUR 2.9 bn battery innovation project
The Commission gave its approval under EU state aid rules Wednesday to a second Important Project of Common European Interest to support research and innovation in the battery value chain.

New COVID-19 slot relief to help EU airlines
The EU announced Thursday it is preparing new temporary rules to help air carriers cope with the drastic decline in air traffic caused by the Coronavirus crisis and avoid operating empty flights.

Brussels takes next step in rule of law action against Poland
The European Commission sent an additional reasoned opinion to Poland on Wednesday as it steps up its legal action to safeguard the independence of the judiciary in Poland.

EU launches debate on ageing population
The European Commission presented Wednesday a green paper to launch a broad policy debate on the challenges and opportunities of Europe's ageing society, inviting the public to express its views.

MEPs call for end to "take-make-dispose" economy
MEPs in committee called for an end to Europe's current "take-make-dispose" economy Wednesday, with binding targets for recycled content and an EU policy on sustainable non-energy-related products.

EU fines Steam gaming platform for 'geo-blocking'
The EU Commission has fined Valve, owner of online PC gaming platform 'Steam', with publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax EUR 7.8m for breaching antitrust rules.

MEPs vote for 'right to disconnect' from work
The European Parliament called Thursday for an EU law to define minimum requirements for remote working including a right to digitally disconnect from work without facing negative repercussions.