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Summaries of EU Legislation

A collection of summaries of EU legislation presenting the main aspects of European Union legislation. The summaries of European legislation are divided into 32 subject areas corresponding to the activities of the European Union.

Agriculture | Audiovisual and Media | Budget | Competition | Consumers | Customs | Culture | Development | Economic and Monetary Affairs | Education | Employment | Energy | Enlargement | Enterprise | Environment | External Trade | External Relations | Fight Against Fraud | Food Safety | Foreign and Security Policy | Human Rights | Humanitarian Aid | Information Society | Institutional Affairs | Internal Market | Justice, Freedom and Security | Maritime Affairs and Fisheries | Public Health | Regional Policy | Research | Taxation | Transport


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SUMMARIES

Safer Internet programme 2009-2013
The online environment is becoming more and more accessible and, together with bringing benefits, it exposes users to a wide range of risks. Minors are becoming increasingly active as users, but are also particularly vulnerable. The EU “Safer Internet” programme intends to improve the online safety of children by tackling not only illegal material, but also harmful conduct.

Protection of video game users
Strong growth in the European video game market and the development of new media has increased the risk that consumers will be exposed to illegal or harmful content. The video game industry has introduced a self-regulatory video game rating system aimed particularly at the protection of minors.

Nutrition and health claims
Nutrition and health claims which encourage consumers to purchase a product, but are false, misleading or not scientifically proven are prohibited. The aim is to improve protection of consumers’ health and rights. European legislation has created a list of nutrition and health claims and the conditions for their authorisation which applies throughout the EU.

Labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs
Pre-packaged foodstuffs must comply with compulsory harmonised EU standards on labelling and advertising. The details that must appear on packaging include the name under which the product is sold, a list of ingredients and quantities, potential allergens (products which may cause allergies), the minimum durability date and conditions for keeping.

Language use in consumer information
Language use is dealt with in various provisions of Community law. These provisions can be very strict, for example when it comes to potentially dangerous products. The legislation on language use aims to inform consumers properly and promote multilingual information, whilst guaranteeing Member States' freedom in language matters.

Customs response to latest trends in counterfeiting and piracy
The European Commission proposes a series of customs measures aimed at protecting the EU more effectively against counterfeiting and piracy. These measures include improving legislation, strengthening partnership between customs and businesses and increasing international cooperation.

Return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State
This EU Directive secures the return of national treasures of artistic, historic or archaeological value that have been unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State once controls have been abolished at internal frontiers.

Quality and safety standards for human blood and blood components
The extent to which human blood is used therapeutically demands that the quality and safety of whole blood and blood components be ensured in order, in particular, to prevent the transmission of diseases. This EU Directive lays down high standards of quality and safety of human blood and blood components throughout the Community. The objective is to introduce a comprehensive package of binding rules applicable throughout the whole blood transfusion chain.

Organ donation and transplantation in the EU
Organ transplantation remains essential for the treatment of certain diseases. However, several factors must be taken into consideration where this therapeutic method is concerned: the risk of transmission of disease, the limited supply of organs and organ trafficking. This EU communication therefore aims to present the various potential options to ensure the quality and safety of organs, increase their availability and combat organ trafficking.

Protection of Geographical Indications and Designations of Origin
This Regulation establishes the rules for protecting designations of origin and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs intended for human consumption in the EU.

Tyre labelling: achieving sustainable mobility
In order to achieve the goals fixed by the EU for sustainable mobility, the European Commission has prepared a Proposal for a Directive to introduce tyre labelling. This aims to provide end-users of vehicles with clear and relevant information about the quality of the tyre, and to guide them towards choosing a product which is more fuel efficient, has better wet braking and is less noisy.

Quality of petrol and diesel fuels: sulphur and lead
To reduce pollution from car emissions, the EU has introduced new environmental specifications applicable to fuels: a ban on the marketing of leaded petrol and the obligation to make sulphur-free fuels available within the Union.

Admission and residence of researchers from third countries
The mobility of researchers is a key element in the acquisition and transfer of knowledge. Member States, working with the Commission, need to step up their action to facilitate the entry and residence of researchers from third countries. The European Research Area is the lynchpin of EU research policy, and supporting the mobility of researchers is a key instrument in making it a reality.

Labelling of textile products
The labelling of textile products in the EU harmonises the names of textile fibres and other terms used in labelling or other documents accompanying these products, in order to ensure adequate information for consumers and to promote the development of the internal market.

Data protection in the electronic communications sector
New technologies, and in particular the Internet and electronic messaging services, call for specific requirements to ensure that users have a right to privacy. This EU Directive contains provisions that are crucial to ensuring that users can trust the services and technologies they use for communicating electronically. The main provisions apply to spam, ensuring the user's prior consent ("opt-in"), and the installation of cookies.

Selection and authorisation of systems providing mobile satellite services
Mobile satellite services (MSS) present enormous potential at the EU level. Their deployment contributes to reducing the geographical digital divide by enabling citizens to benefit from innovations in telecommunications and broadcasting (high-speed internet, mobile television, emergency communications, etc.). This Decision aims to develop a pan-European market for mobile satellite services by introducing a unique selection procedure of economic operators at the Community level.

Maximum pesticide limits for food products for human consumption and animal feedingstuffs
All foodstuffs intended for human or animal consumption in the EU are subject to a maximum residue level (MRL) of pesticides in their composition in order to protect animal and human health. The Regulation brings together and harmonises in one text the limits that apply to different human or animal food products and, in addition, it establishes a maximum limit applicable by default.

Plan protection products: prohibited products
The European Union regulates the placing on the market and use of plant protection products and lists the prohibited active substances.

General arrangements for the holding and movement of products subject to excise duty (from April 2010)
This EU Council Directive establishes common arrangements for products subject to excise duty in order to guarantee their free circulation.

Entry and residence of highly qualified workers (EU Blue Card)
This directive concerns conditions of entry for highly qualified non-EU nationals. It creates a “European Blue Card” and sets out the conditions and rights of residence in the issuing as well as in other Member States.

The EU drugs action plan (2009-2012)
This action plan establishes five priorities to be implemented in the fight against drugs: coordination at European and national levels, reduction of demand for drugs, reduction of supply of drugs, international cooperation and information on the drugs phenomenon.

Energy efficiency: energy performance of buildings
The Member States must apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings.

Seventh Directive: consolidated accounts of companies with limited liability
This Seventh Company Law Directive coordinates national laws on consolidated (i.e. group) accounts. Together with the Fourth Directive on the annual accounts of public limited liability companies, it belongs to the family of "accounting directives" that form the arsenal of Community legal acts governing company accounts.

Statute for a European Company
The aim of these documents is to create a "European company" with its own legislative framework. This will allow companies incorporated in different Member States to merge or form a holding company or joint subsidiary, while avoiding the legal and practical constraints arising from the existence of 27 different legal systems. This legislative framework also provides for the involvement of employees in European companies, giving due recognition to their place and role in the business.

Goods and passengers: admission to the occupation of road transport operator and mutual recognition of diplomas
This EU Directive harmonises admission to the occupation of road transport operator in national and international transport and to facilitate the effective exercise of the right of establishment of those operators.