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Destructive potential of EU billions
CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe today warned that environmentally destructive and economically unsound projects, at a total cost of 23 billion euro, in the ten new EU member states of central and eastern Europe, may receive an 'un-smart' green light as the European Union seeks to rapidly deploy billions of euros to offset the worsening economic crisis.

Commission revision on Late Payments does not go far enough
Intrum Justitia, Europe's leading Credit Management Services company, commends the European Commission's proposal to amend the existing Late Payment Directive and agrees with EU Enterprise Verheugen as describing late payments as a "disease". Intrum Justitia also agrees that SMEs are hard hit by the crisis and the problems of companies' liquidity in a time of the credit crunch must be addressed by the Commission.

Small businesses' confidence hits new record low: first EU SME survey
European SMEs have reached a new record low in business confidence, according to an EU-wide survey recently conducted by UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, and its members.

European Investment Bank loans underline importance of the automobile industry for Europe's economy
The European automobile manufacturers welcome the EUR 3 billion in loans freed today by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance automotive projects, most of them concerning ‘green’ investments. As the Bank indicated, in total around EUR 7 billion will become available in the first half of this year and its budget allows maintaining similar levels of financing until 2012. “The arrangement with the EIB underlines the importance of the automobile industry for investments, R&D and employment in Europe as a whole”, says ACEA secretary general Ivan Hodac.

Eurovignette vote: mixed results say business organisations
European business organisations UEAPME Transport Forum, EUROCHAMBRES and EuroCommerce were left with mixed feelings by today's contradictory voting results on the Eurovignette directive at the European Parliament's plenary session.

Successful completion of the first 2009 EU Gateway Business Mission to Japan renews strength of EU- Japan business cooperation
9 March 2009 Press Release

Accounting rules and micro entities - when simplification becomes complication
The European Federation of Accountants and Auditors (EFAA), Europe's leading accountancy organisation dedicated solely to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, criticised today's communication by the European Commission giving Member States the option to exempt micro entities from preparing and publishing annual accounts.

Services Directive: General improvement, but concerns over impact - EUROCHAMBRES survey
On the occasion of a Czech Presidency conference on the future of services in Prague today, Secretary General Arnaldo Abruzzini presented the findings of the 4th EUROCHAMBRES survey on the implementation of the Services Directive.

Celebrate European Data Protection Day - Keep consumers in control!
Today is the Third European Data Protection Day. Privacy is a fundamental consumer right, that must be respected both offline and online. Yet consumers' privacy is currently more under threat than ever before.

ECAR renews call for EC "Repairs Clause"
The European Campaign for the Freedom of the Automotive Parts and Repair Market (ECAR) has written to the EU Czech Presidency to express its strong support for the European Commission's proposal of a Repairs Clause that liberalises the market in automotive spare parts.

Collective Redress: Going Around in Circles
When things go wrong with a service or product in our mass production and consumption economies, a high number of consumers can easily be affected. It is not hard to imagine situations where several people would want to group their individual claims against the same trader into one single action, and benefit from a collective redress mechanism: consumers who have suffered skin infections due to the leather treatment of their armchairs, passengers who have missed their Christmas holidays because of a rogue tour operator, consumers wanting to act against their bank for illegal overcharges...

Zero Tolerance towards Sexual Exploitation of Children
From 25-28 November, the 3rd World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation Of Children & Adolescents will see Heads of State, government officials, experts and thousands of activists renew global commitments and move forward the global agenda to stop the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. The previous two Congresses took place in Stockholm in Sweden (1996) and Yokohama in Japan (2001).

Blue Card Scheme still too cautious, EUROCHAMBRES says
Following today's vote by the European Parliament on the proposed Blue Card scheme, EUROCHAMBRES expresses its satisfaction with the fact that, for the first time, the EU is taking a common approach to the issue of legal economic migration.

First REACH hazardous chemicals list is a drop in the ocean
The first-ever list of 15 hazardous chemicals released today by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is a welcome start, but it is a drop in the ocean when compared to the hundreds of well-known dangerous substances present in products used every day across Europe, said a coalition of environmental, health, consumer and women’s public interest groups.

European Employment Strategy has paid off: report
The European Employment Strategy has paid off, in terms of creating both more and better jobs, according to the new European Restructuring Monitor’s annual report 2008 from the European Foundation of the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), the Dublin-based EU agency. The report, which examines patterns of employment expansion in Europe between 1995-2006, concludes that women workers in particular have benefited from this period of stronger European employment growth.

TI welcomes new transparency on EU fund beneficiaries but calls for more standardised information
Transparency International (TI) welcomes the European Union's (EU) new system for disclosing the beneficiaries of its funds. The European Commission recently launched several web portals through which information on the recipients of certain EU funds can be accessed. TI calls on EU Member States and the Commission to further enhance the information provided for and published through the disclosure system.

The flexicurity concept and how it is employed in Europe
Flexicurity is a policy approach that attempts to combine flexibility of labour markets for employers and security of employment for employees. It has the potential to substantially enhance the competitiveness of the European economy and create higher levels of employment.

Roaming: No More Nasty Surprises
Will we soon see the end of unpleasant surprises on mobile bills after travelling abroad? Possibly.

2008 Corruption Perceptions Index
Although the European Union and other Western European countries rank at the top of Transparency International’s (TI) 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), this year’s results show that there is no corruption-free zone in and around the EU.

BEUC welcomes EFSA's approach on Evaluation of Health Claims Made on Foods
BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation, welcomes the strict approach taken by EFSA's Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) when evaluating the first eight applications on claims relating to disease risk reduction and children's health claims.

European NGOs condemn putting aid at the service of immigration control
While European and G8 countries are failing to deliver on their international aid commitments, European Development NGOs are deeply concerned about linking immigration control and development cooperation.

Standby electricity proposal: a clear step toward greener products in Europe
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' groups, welcomes national governments' support for a European Commission proposal to cut electricity losses from the standby mode of electrical appliances for a broad range of products.

Cross Border Health Care
BEUC is pleased by the adoption by the European Commission of the long awaited proposal for a Directive on cross border health care.

EEB assesses the achievements of Slovenia’s six-month EU Presidency
Slovenia's Presidency will be remembered for paving the way for an EU agreement on key energy and climate issues in time for the next international climate change summit in Copenhagen in 2009," said John Hontelez, Secretary General of EEB, Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' groups.

Lobbyist's register - first step towards EU lobbyism transparency?
Transparency International (TI) welcomes the establishment of the European Commission lobbyists' register, initiated by the Commission Vice-President, Siim Kallas, but urges the Commission to think ahead, and to use the lessons learned from its register for the establishment of a mandatory inter-institutional register in 2009, as called for by the European Parliament in April 2008.