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EU Legislation and Policy

EU Legislative Terms

Policies, Green Papers, Directives and Reports

In order to implement Policy the EU uses a range of legal instruments:

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Current Issues by Topic

Here we list issues which have recently appeared in any of the formats described above.

Budget

You will find all the information on the current EU budget and what's planned for the 2014-20 period at The EU budget, a guide.

Business

Single Market Act

New rules for the EU's single market will make it easier to live and do business anywhere in Europe. The EU was set up so that people, goods, services and capital can move freely throughout the European Union. But gaps remain between the rules and what businesses and people still face when they operate or move across borders. The commission has unveiled further actions to help ensure the single market continues to improve people's lives and make the EU economy more competitive.

The Single Market Act will simplify life for small businesses, which make up more than 99% of Europe's companies and help fix the problems faced by people when they travel, study, work, get married, buy a house or car in another EU country.

The 50 actions on the single market include:

Starting a business in the EU

Want to sell wine in France? Want to start a hairdressers in Hungary? The EU has published a list of each EU countries' 'Point of Single Contact' which will allow you to complete online all the forms you need to start a services business in an EU country. The UK Point of Service contact.

Consumers

Travellers' rights

If you go by boat, train or plane, EU rules will provide protection if something goes wrong. The European Parliament has approved new rules to reimburse or reroute boat passengers if a ferry is more than 90 minutes late, which came into force in 2012, and the European Commission has just launched a campaign about your rights when travelling by plane or train.

Check out your Passenger Rights.

Enlargement of the EU

Croatia became the 28th member of the EU in July 2013.

Negotiations for membership are taking place with Iceland and Turkey. Other countries that have put themselves forward as candidates are Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Potential members are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosova. Further details are available on the EU - Enlargement - Check Current Status page.

Energy

Energy efficiency - buildings and labelling

Energy Efficiency - MEPs approved the EU's new energy efficiency legislation for buildings, which will help consumers to cut their energy bills and the EU as a whole to hit its climate change target of using 20% less energy in ten years' time. Member States will have to alter their building codes so that all new buildings constructed from the end of 2020 meet high energy-saving standards. Existing buildings will have to be upgraded where possible.

To keep abreast of developments and news about EU Energy matters, including the Energy Efficiency Directive, buildings, products, office equipment and labelling of tyres, visit the European Commission's Energy Efficiency page.

Environment

Bio-waste is defined as biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, and comparable waste from food processing plants.

The Commission adopted a resolution on the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy Biodiversity strategy in April 2012. View the European Commission's latest news on Biodiversity.

EU leaders have made the conditional commitment to increase the EU’s greenhouse gas emission target reduction for 2020 from 20% to 30% if other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions. The Scottish Climate Change Act aims at reducing CO2 emissions by 42% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050, and constitutes the most ambitious emissions reduction plan in the world.

Health

Cross-border health care

This directive was a contentious issue in the European Parliament. EU countries have until 25 October 2013 to pass their own laws implementing the Directive.

Further information is available in Together for Health: A Strategic Approach for the EU 2008-2013 (130 KB PDF) Opens in a new window Opens in a new window.

The recommendation on pensioners is for the member state of residence to reimburse care for pensioners.

Lisbon Treaty

Rural and Maritime Affairs

State Aid

Guidance has recently been published, with examples, on how to remain compliant with EC state aid rules (200 KB PDF) Opens in a new window Opens in a new window when financing the delivery of public services.

Youth

Youth on the Move was introduced by the European Commission in 2010.

The initiative supports young jobseekers through a package of new resources, designed to make it easier to travel between Member States to find employment and learning opportunities.

With support from the Lifelong Learning Programme, the Youth on the Move initiative aims to extend the opportunity to work or study abroad to all young people in Europe by 2020.

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European Theme for the Year

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Publications and Websites

Your Europe - Help and advice on your life, work and travel in the EU covering travel, work, vehicles, family, shopping, living abroad, education, youth and health.

Your Voice - see what current consultations are going on in Europe and speak to EU commissioners on their blogs on topics from fishing to crisis response.

Health

Which EU country is streets ahead on healthcare, and how does the UK fare? Find out in the European Commission's Euro Health Consumer Index 2012 (2.5 MB PDF) Opens in a new window Opens in a new window.

Immigration

Which is the most popular destination in the EU for asylum seekers? Which 10 countries do 50% of asylum seekers originate from? Find out in this Eurostat publication Characteristics of asylum seekers in Europe (230 KB PDF) Opens in a new window Opens in a new window.

Procurement

A Helpdesk for Green Public Procurement is available. Its main mission is to promote and disseminate information about GPP, and to provide timely and accurate answers to stakeholders' enquiries.

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