UK & Europe

03-06-2015

The UK’s EU referendum: On the path to Brexit?

Following the Conservative Party’s victory in the 2015 general election, the UK is set to hold an in/out referendum on its membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.

07-05-2015

Europe ‘à la carte’: The whats and whys behind UK opt-outs

Since becoming a member in 1973, the United Kingdom has negotiated opt-outs on key parts of EU legislation, and a sizeable rebate from the EU annual budget. But do they really serve the best interests of the UK and Europe?

Britain at a crossroads
11-03-2015

Voting on Brexit: The EU issues shaping the UK election

The May 7 UK general election will go a long way towards deciding whether Britain will stay in the European Union, or choose to leave, after forty years of uneasy relations.

Med & South 25-01-2013

Euroscepticism: More than a British phenomenon

With Prime Minister David Cameron having vowed to hold a referendum on UK membership of the EU, Britain's penchant for EU bashing is well publicised. But there are political parties in other member states which are far from in love with the European project, and whose stance against integration has been fanned by the worsening of the economic crisis.

Transport 24-09-2012

Europe’s rails: A bumpy ride to a single market

Two decades into the European single market, getting people or goods from one part of the European Union to another on trains remains a challenge – despite rail's potential in reducing traffic pollution and congestion. The European Commission is considering new ways to reach the end station of a common railway market.

Economy & Jobs 11-06-2009

Small Business Act: Unlocking SMEs’ potential?

In 2008, the EU adopted a US-style 'Small Business Act' for Europe to improve market conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises and boost the economy. However, SME groups continue to be critical of implementation at national level despite the European Commission highlighting progress by member states.

12-05-2009

Crossing borders: A tall order for SMEs

The internal European market offers companies access to a market of 500 million people, yet a strikingly low number of small and medium-sized enterprises are making best use of the opportunities available.

01-04-2009

Financial regulation: The EU’s agenda

In response to the worst crisis in decades, the European Union has agreed on a series of rules and new watchdogs to regulate and supervise global financial markets. EURACTIV offers an overview of the state of play.

25-07-2008

Banking services: Time for consumers to benefit?

Consumers take centre stage in the Commission's Green Paper on Retail Financial Services, which lays down options on how to make retail banking and insurance services better and cheaper for EU citizens. However, the Commission, Parliament and industry are at odds over how to improve consumer protection and choice in retail financial services.

25-01-2008

Single Payments Area

In the European single market there are still large differences between the national payment systems. The EU seeks to remove these obstacles and reduce the costs to cross-border payments for consumers by creating a Single Euro(pean) Payments Area (SEPA). The European Payments Council (EPC) was set up to develop a common infrastructure and standards. However, there is only little progress, since banks are reluctant to apply standards and fear competition being opened up to non-banks, which makes it difficult to reach the 2010 target. Therefore, the Commission has laid out a common legal framework in its 2005 proposal.

21-01-2008

eCommerce: A market without borders?

Although eCommerce in Europe doubles every three years, sales remain primarily at national level due to low consumer trust in cross-border purchases. The European Commission and the European Parliament are carrying out legislative reviews of the EU's eCommerce Directive to address shortfalls.

06-11-2006

Introduction to Financial Services

The aim of the European Union's policy in the financial services sector is to create an integrated Europe-wide single market through a framework of legislation, co-operation and practice within which financial services can operate as a whole across borders to achieve the free movement of capital and services. The policy addresses the "wholesale" (corporate and capital) markets and the "retail" (consumer) markets as well as the underpinning services such as the clearing and settlement of shares and integration of payment systems.

10-10-2006

Carbon capture and storage

Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and storing it underground is seen as a crucial technology to reduce the global warming impact of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, on which the world will continue to rely for decades.

14-02-2006

Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID)

One of the last major pieces of the Financial Services Action Plan still to be implemented is the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. It is designed to reduce barriers to cross-border share trading, facilitate investment and thereby boost the EU economy. Financial institutions, however, are concerned that the changes required will entail heavy costs.

01-12-2005

EU Battlegroups [Archived]

An important part of the EU’s military ambitions is to have the capability to react fast and forcefully in trouble spots outside EU territory. In 2004 the Military Capabilities Commitment Conference formally launched the concept of EU Battlegroup units of 1500 troops to enable the EU to carry out such tasks.

18-12-2004

Financial Services Action Plan

The EU's Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) was designed to open up a single market for financial services in the EU. Begun in 1999, it comprises 42 measures designed to harmonise the member states’ rules on securities, banking, insurance, mortgages, pensions and all other forms of financial transaction. By the end of 2004, almost all of these measures have been adopted.

17-12-2004

Financial literacy – a quick guide

The world of financial services abounds with acronyms, abbreviations and jargon terms. See the links below to sites which give explanations and definitions of these terms.

Digital 05-10-2004

eEurope – An Information Society for All

eEurope was launched in December 1999 to ensure the EU fully benefits from the changes the Information Society is bringing. eEurope's key objectives are to bringing every citizen, home and school, every business and administration, into the digital age and online. It plans to create a digitally literate Europe, supported by an entrepreneurial culture ready to finance and develop new ideas. eEurope also wants to ensure the whole process is socially inclusive, builds consumer trust and contributes to social cohesion.

24-11-2003

E-Commerce Directive

The EU adopted in June 2000 Directive 2000/31/EC
(the 'E-Commerce directive') requiring its Member States to
harmonise certain aspects of their laws on buying and selling
online. The directive is designed to reduce the regulatory
burdens for businesses wanting to enter this market (such as
the adoption of the 'country of origin principle' and the
prohibition of prior authorisations). It also includes measures
to encourage consumer confidence.