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Living and Working in the EU

Living and working in the European Union.

Clearer EU rules for international couples - briefing
An Austrian woman marries a British man in the UK. The couple lives for two years in Austria with their son. The husband then leaves and the wife wants a divorce. However, she doesn't know which law will apply to her divorce. Can she get a divorce under Austrian law or does UK law apply? Thousands of Europeans find themselves in such difficult situations each year because each EU country has its own system for deciding which country’s law applies to divorces. The European Commission has proposed a concrete solution: a law that will allow couples to choose which country's laws apply to their divorce. The proposed EU Regulation will help couples of different nationalities, couples living apart in different countries or living together in a country other than their home country. The aim is to lessen the burden on children and to protect weaker partners during divorce disputes. There are around 300,000 international marriages per year in the EU. Today's proposal follows a request from 10 Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Spain) and would be the first time the "enhanced cooperation" mechanism would be used in EU history.

Tackling the gender pay gap - briefing
The European Commission plans to use a series of measures aimed at significantly reducing the pay gap between men and women over the next five years. The average gender pay gap in the EU currently stands at 18%. To lower this rate, the Commission plans to raise awareness among employers, encourage initiatives to promote gender equality and support the development of tools to measure the gender pay gap. On the other hand, new legal measures are not excluded. The Commission intends to consult the European social partners and analyse the impact of a number of options: strengthening sanctions, providing pay transparency and regular reporting on the pay gap. A Eurobarometer survey released today shows that more than 80% of Europeans support urgent action to address the gap.

Member States have the power to remove citizenship acquired 'by deception'
The European Court of Justice has upheld Member States' power to remove its citizenship from a citizen of the Union, when that person has obtained it by deception.

EU Court clarifies residency terms for the carers of the children of migrant workers
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled, in accordance with Community regulation on the freedom of movement, that the child of a migrant worker is allowed to have an independent right of residence in connection with the right of access to education in the host Member State.

Frontex and managing the EU's borders - briefing
The Commission has made proposals to strengthen the European Union's border management agency, Frontex. The proposals include reinforcing the legal framework to ensure full respect of fundamental rights during Frontex activities and enhancing the operational capacity of Frontex to support Member States. With the new proposal Member States would put more equipment and more personnel at the Agency's disposal. Frontex would be able to co-lead border patrols operations with EU Member States. It would also be allowed to provide technical assistance to third countries and deploy liaison officers in third countries.

Health and safety of pregnant workers - FAQ
Minimum maternity leave in the EU should be extended from 14 to 20 weeks and be fully paid, believe MEPs in the Women's Rights Committee. An entitlement to paid paternity leave of at least two weeks was also approved by the committee. The draft legislation seeks to lay down minimum rules at EU level. These Frequently Asked Questions look more closely at some of the crucial points of the committee vote.

Telecoms: 112 - Europe's single emergency number - briefing
To mark European 112 Day on February 11, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has written to EU Member States calling on them to intensify their efforts to raise awareness of Europe's single emergency number 112. While awareness has increased slightly, three out of four EU citizens still do not know they can call 112 in an emergency to contact the police, fire brigade or medical services, either from home or when travelling in the EU. Having the reflex to dial this 112 lifeline, which now works in all EU countries, could save lives and reduce injuries.

Germany's age law ruled incompatible with EU Directives
The European Court of Justice has ruled that European Union law, more particularly the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age as given expression by Directive 2000/78, precludes national legislation. As such, a German law which provides that periods of employment completed by an employee before reaching the age of 25 are not taken into account in calculating the notice period for dismissal, was deemed discriminatory and must be dis-applied by the national courts.

Sanctions against the employment of illegally staying non-EU nationals
Directive 2009/52/EC targets the employment of non-EU nationals who are illegally staying in the European Union (EU), in order to counteract illegal immigration. It provides for minimum common standards on sanctions and other measures (disqualification from public benefits, etc.) and, in serious cases, criminal penalties against employers of said nationals.

Compensation to crime victims
The aim of Council Directive 2004/80/EC is to set up a system of cooperation to facilitate access to compensation for victims of crimes in cross-border situations. This system operates on the basis of Member States' compensation schemes for victims of violent intentional crime committed in their respective territories.

Social Security Rights
EU rules introduced in 1971 coordinate European countries’ social security schemes, offering solutions to most cross-border problems that may arise. These rules were updated and a new, improved coordination system will enter into force in May 2010.

Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs
Before the financial and economic crisis hit the EU, the Lisbon strategy had helped create more than 18m new jobs. When the economy slumped, the EU acted to stabilise the financial system and adopted a recovery plan to boost demand and restore confidence. The plan is delivering a major fiscal stimulus, with measures to keep people in work and public investment in infrastructure, innovation, new skills for the workforce, energy efficiency and clean technologies to meet the goals of the Lisbon strategy.

Data Protection in the EU
A full guide on The European Directive on Data Protection.

Free movement of people within the EU
Free movement of people is a basic component of the single area which the EU has been building since its inception. It is acknowledged as a fundamental right for EU citizens. Although the principle of free movement was enshrined in the founding treaties, in the first place it did not extend to lifting physical borders but was mainly targeted at the working population until the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, when the Schengen Convention of 1990 was integrated into the EU legal and institutional framework.

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.

Second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) - 1st pillar regulation
The SIS II Regulation lays down the technical aspects and the operation of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), the conditions for issuing alerts on refusal of entry or stay for non-EU nationals, the processing of data relating to the alerts, and conditions of data access and protection. It constitutes the legislative basis for governing SIS II with respect to matters falling under Title IV of the EC Treaty (first pillar).

Schengen: legal instruments governing migration from SIS1+ to SIS II
The legal instruments governing migration from SIS 1+ to SIS II lay down the tasks and responsibilities of the European Commission and the Member States for preparing this migration, including further development and testing of SIS II.

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II
The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) will be a large-scale information system containing alerts on persons and objects in the EU.

System for the recognition of professional qualifications
This EU Directive establishes a system for the recognition of professional qualifications, in order to help make labour markets more flexible, further liberalise the provision of services, encourage more automatic recognition of qualifications, and simplify administrative procedures in the Union.

The Bologna process: making higher education systems in Europe converge
The Bologna process aims inter alia to make divergent higher education systems across the European Union converge towards a more transparent system by 2010, based on three cycles: Degree/Bachelor - Master - Doctorate.

Right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States
The European Union has adopted a Directive on the right of citizens of the Union to move and reside freely within the Member States, which brings together the piecemeal measures found in the complex body of legislation that has governed this matter to date.

She Figures 2009 - major findings and trends
The number of female researchers increased in Europe in all economic sectors: the Higher Education Sector, the Government Sector and the Business Enterprise Sector. In the former, the proportion of female researchers grew from 34% in 2000 to 37% in 2006. It is important to remember however that we are measuring the countries of the European Union, with a population that changed between 2001 and 2006 in size and number of countries concerned. The female researchers' population grew even more considerably in the Government sector, going from 31% in 2000 to 39% in 2006. Regarding private sector researchers, 15% in 2000 were women and 19% in 2006.

Eurobarometer survey on discrimination
Special Eurobarometer survey on discrimination – summary, report and national factsheets

Simplification of regulation on international successions - briefing
The European Commission has adopted a proposal that should considerably simplify the rules on successions with an international dimension in the European Union. The aim is to make life easier for citizens by laying down common rules enabling the competent authority and law applicable to the body of assets making up a succession, wherever they may be, to be easily identified. In addition to providing more effective guarantees for the rights of heirs, legatees and other interested parties, the proposed Regulation will take some of the stress out of succession planning by enabling people to choose the law that will govern the transmission of all their assets. The Commission is also proposing the creation of a European Certificate of Succession enabling an heir or the administrator of a succession to prove their capacity easily throughout the EU.

Allowing access to fingerprints on EURODAC - briefing
Police cooperation: allowing access to fingerprints stored in EURODAC by EU Member States' law enforcement authorities and by Europol.