EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The Energy Community has celebrated its fifth anniversary. Established to increase socio-economic stability & security of supply, it has set a good example of regional cooperation in which the EU and the South-Eastern European countries can diversify their energy sources.
It has created a functioning institutional framework and more legal certainty for investors. Next steps are to enhance market reforms and to boost investments in the energy sector. The final objective is that the regional market should be fully integrated in the European's internal energy market.
EU News: A unique debate on the future financing of the EuropeanUnion has been held in Brussels. The debate focused on 3 topics: the future of EU ‘own resources’, spending priorities for the future and how to get maximum value from every euro spent from the EU budget. The conference was prompted by legislative proposals for the EU's new ‘own resources' and the multi-annual framework (MFF), as tabled by the European Commission on 29 June.
MEPs & MPs from several national parliaments agreed on the need to overhaul the current system of resources for the EU budget, but differed on how to proceed. The Commission proposal to introduce new EU own income resources such as a financial transactions tax (FTT) and a new VAT system, was generally welcomed, although many speakers raised doubts on how the proposal could be put into practice.
EU News: EU rules on public procurement contracts should be reformed to make it easier for small firms to bid for them, said Parliament in a vote last Tuesday. This includes enabling authorities to award contracts not just to the lowest bidder, but to the most innovative, or to those offering the greatest environmental or social benefits. The Commission is to table reform proposals in December 2011.
EU News: A responsible approach to business means more (and more sustainable) economic growth. This is why the European Commission has presented a package of measures to support entrepreneurship and responsible business.
EU News: The likelihood of a major offshore accident in European waters remains unacceptably high. With a stringent safety regime it is possible to bring the risk of such an accident down to the absolute minimum. Damage done to the environment and coastal economies can be significantly reduced if an effective emergency response plan is put in place beforehand. This is why the European Commission last week proposed a new law which will ensure that European offshore oil & gas production will respect the world's highest safety, health and environmental standards everywhere in the EU.
EU News: Last week the European Parliament approved the Commission's proposal to amend the Qualification Directive which will enhance the rights granted to refugees & beneficiaries of subsidiary protection in the EU. The Directive guarantees uniform rights when it comes to health care and access to the labour market. The vote allows for a first reading agreement with the Council which now needs to formally adopt the modified Directive. This will happen in the coming weeks.
EU News: Small businesses around Europe are being harmed by rogue traders who use unfair practices, such as misleading advertising. The fraudsters hide behind national borders and exploit the vulnerability of companies (especially the small ones) when doing business in other EU countries – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.