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SEPA: Broad range of stakeholders beginning to see huge problems
SEPA (the Single European Payments Area) risks being a massive failure unless key issues are resolved, particularly regarding the security of the Direct Debit scheme and the fact that the representatives of the banks, in the form of the European Payments Council (EPC), do not take into account the needs or wishes of any of the end-users, including consumers or businesses (retailers, services providers, SMEs).

Commissioner Damanaki lifts fisheries department blockage
After months of deadlock, the European Commission has called on the EU to back the suspension of the international trade in bluefin tuna.

The Understanding China training programme 2010 launched!
30 employees of business intermediary organisations from across Europe can become experts on China, thanks to the “Understanding China” training programme

EU stalling on aid promises, binding targets needed, says CONCORD as OECD announces global 2010 aid forecast
Figures released today by the OECD show that the EU will not meet its 2010 aid targets. The 2010 aid forecast notes the EU is well off track and will miss its collective target of 0.56% of GNI, agreed in 2005 as an interim benchmark towards achieving the UN goal of 0.7% of GNI by 2015 to finance the Millennium Development Goals.

Greenpeace welcomes EP support for bluefin tuna trade ban
The European Parliament today confirmed its support for stricter protection of the endangered bluefin tuna. The Parliament urged the European Commission and EU member states to support listing bluefin tuna under appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), effectively calling for a suspension of the fishery.

Instantly online - 17 golden rules to combat online risks and for safer surfing mobile social networks
The EU ‘cyber security’ Agency - ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) today presents a new report on accessing social networks over mobile phones, ‘Online as soon as it happens“. The report points out the risks and threats of mobile social networking services, e.g. identity theft, corporate data leakage and reputation risks of mobile social networks. The report also gives 17 ‘golden rules’ on how to combat these threats.

Changes to international lease accounting standards may impact the cost and availability of finance for Europe’s small businesses
Leaseurope, the European leasing industry's representative body, has today called for businesses and policy makers across Europe to review the latest plans of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) that will lead to a drastic change in existing lease accounting requirements.

Services Directive properly implemented in only one third of member states: EUROCHAMBRES survey
A EUROCHAMBRES survey conducted among Chambers of Commerce throughout the EU shows that only 9 out of the 27 member states complied fully with the Services Directive by the 28 December 2009 deadline. Implementation in the remaining 18 countries is average or unsatisfactory because of problems or delays with legal and/or operational aspects.

EFBS: No force on the SEPA-implementation - Deadline for direct debit transfers totally inapplicable
On the occasion of the hearings at the European Parliament the commissioner designate for the internal market, Michel Barnier, announced the intention of a deadline concerning national direct debit transfers which should be replaced by a European direct debit transfer SEPA- procedure. This proposition does not conform to the European Commission’s commitment to allow stakeholders to introduce the SEPA-procedure voluntarily.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for small business after all?
Today, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of a Commission proposal to exempt micro-entities from certain disproportionately burdensome accounting rules. The vote signals an important step forward for the EU’s overall goal to reduce administrative burden by 25% by 2012.

Indecisive Council and European Parliament Threaten Credibility of EU Plan to Reduce Administrative Burdens
In January 2007, the European Commission presented a far-reaching Action Programme for the reduction of administrative burden in the European Union, in which it committed itself to reducing red tape on European businesses by 25% by 2012.

EU 2020 strategy must not turn a blind eye to the public sector, warn SMEs
The EU 2020 strategy must focus more on the quality, implementation and enforcement of public regulations if it is to live up to its role as Europe's long-term policy agenda, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation. Publishing today its response to the European Commission's consultation on the issue (1), UEAPME stressed the need to incorporate the quality of regulatory systems and their ability to enforce European law in the EU 2020 strategy, including a better integration of the "Think Small First" principles into the text. The organisation also recommended adding a fourth priority, namely improving the effectiveness and accessibility of the public sector. Moreover, it warned that the new strategy will only work if Member States take ownership of the process, which was not always the case in the past, and if stakeholders at all levels are not only involved but fully committed to putting jointly agreed policies into practice.

Doing business in Europe is becoming easier!
Businesses in around two-thirds of the services sector will soon be able to take greater advantage of European markets thanks to the EU Services Directive.

Parliament vote on Microfinance Facility: positive idea diluted by funding confusion
While today’s agreement on the content of the proposed “European Microfinance Facility for Employment and Social Inclusion” is a positive sign for entrepreneurs, it is undermined by the lack of agreement on how it will be funded.

European Buildings- Are they really green enough?
Despite the recent EU agreement to transform the building sector with the adoption of ambitious energy efficiency legislation, practical barriers remain in Europe, according to the latest RICS report "Towards an Energy Efficient European Building Stock".

Business prospects for 2010 lowest in a decade
Businesses in Europe expect to invest and employ less in 2010 than at any time in the last decade. Also turnover and export forecasts are at their lowest level since 2000, while businesses do not anticipate any changes in domestic sales for the coming year.

Small Business Act: a not so happy birthday, say SMEs
The Small Business Act adopted exactly one year ago by the Council has had a limited impact on the ground so far and much remains to be done to ensure the full application of its principles and guidelines, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation.

Greenpeace reaction to EU environment Council
European environment ministers met yesterday in Brussels to put the final touches to the EU position going into the Copenhagen climate summit in December. Greenpeace welcomes the statement by the EU Presidency noting that the “EU is moving closer to 30% emission reductions.” However, Greenpeace urges the EU to lead by example and to align its emission reduction target with climate science as soon as possible.

EU-Turkey Chambers Forum: a practical step forward in Turkish preparation for EU accession
One year ago, a EUROCHAMBRES/TOBB survey showed that Turkish businesses are not yet ready for EU accession mainly because of a lack of information on EU legislation. Today, part of this information gap has been filled thanks to the ETCF project (EU-Turkey Chambers Forum).

European Commission outlines a vision of 80% renewable energy by 2050
Over 550 high-level political decision makers at EU, national and regional level, representatives of the renewable energy industry, NGOs and scientists gathered in Brussels for the 3rd European Renewable Energy Policy Conference, organized by EREC as an official event of the Swedish EU Presidency. The conference showed a broad consensus that renewable energy will be the mainstream source of Europe's energy supply by 2050.

Red Tape: Commission leads reduction efforts at EU level but companies still struggling
EUROCHAMBRES welcomes today’s report by the European Commission on the initiatives it has taken to reduce administrative burdens in the EU. However, the feeling from businesses is that such positive announcements don't match reality.

Europe continues to block fair climate agreement
A just and fair international agreement on combating climate change is no nearer after Europe's environment ministers today failed to show Europe is willing to live up to its historical responsibilities for causing the climate crisis.

Korea trade deal goes against interest of major European industries and their workforce
The European Commission has, today, initialled a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea that consents to unfair competition and goes against the interest of major manufacturing industries in Europe, including the automotive sector, and their millions of employees.

Giuffrè Editore partnering with Caselex
Caselex has entered into a distribution agreement authorizing Italy’s leading legal publisher Giuffrè Editore to distribute Caselex’ case law service.

A first step towards improved energy bills for consumers
The European Commission's Citizens' Energy Forum has yesterday endorsed a report on good practice guidance as well as ten recommendations on energy billing.