European public affairs

Weekly EU news: Monday 17 March - Friday 21 March 2014

Monday 17 March

The European Commission released the second edition of the EU Justice Scoreboard to promote the quality, independence and efficiency of justice systems in the European Union. The EU Justice Scoreboard is an information tool that presents objective, reliable and comparable data on the justice systems in the Member States. Press release, memo and Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's speech.

Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council.


Tuesday 18 March

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding gave a speech at the General Affairs Council on a new EU Framework to safeguard the rule of law in the European Union.

DG Economic and Financial Affairs published:

  • Country Focus n°3/2014: Path dependence and the persistence of unemployment in the Slovak Republic.
  • Country Focus n°4/2014: The Slovak labour market in the wake of the crisis: did Okun's law hold?


Wednesday 19 March

The European Commission has found that two European companies (SKF and Schaeffler) and four Japanese companies (JTEKT, NSK, NFC and NTN with its French subsidiary NTN-SNR) operated a cartel in the market for automotive bearings. The Commission has imposed fines totalling € 953 306 000. Press release.

The Permanent Representatives Committee approved, on behalf of the Council, an agreement reached with the European Parliament on a proposal to amend EU rules on investment funds. The proposal amends directive 2009/65/EC on undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) as concerns depositary functions, remuneration policies and sanctions. It introduces specific provisions on the depositary's safekeeping and oversight duties, and defines the conditions in which safekeeping duties can be delegated to a sub-custodian. Press release.


Thursday 20 March

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger gave a speech: An energy community for the future.

Institutions reached a deal on a new Directive on bank accounts. Fees and rules for all payment accounts should be transparent and comparable and it should be easy to switch to another payment account that offers better terms, under the agreed new rules. Details.

The European Commission has given guidance on EU rules for public passenger transport services by rail and by road. The rules determine how public authorities across Europe may contract for the provision of public transport services by rail, metro, tram or bus, how to award these contracts and how to compensate for public service obligations. Press release and memo.

The Council, represented by the Greek Presidency, has reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on the single resolution mechanism regulation. Press release.


Friday 21 March


  • European Union annual inflation was 0.8% in February 2014, down from 0.9% in January. A year earlier the rate was 2.0%. Details
  • Among the top ten EU28 cargo ports in terms of tonnes of goods handled, Rotterdam (396 million tonnes weight of goods handled, stable compared with 2011) was the busiest in 2012, followed by Antwerp (165 mn tonnes, -2%). Details.
  • The first estimate for the January 2014 extra-EU28 trade balance was a 13.0 bn euro deficit, compared with -17.7 bn in January 2013. Details.
  • In January 2014 compared with December 2013, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector grew by 1.5% in the euro area (EA18) and by 1.3% in the EU28. Details.
  • Hourly labour costs rose by 1.4% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.2% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Details.

The European Commission has adopted new rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements under EU antitrust rules. The purpose of such agreements is to enable companies to license the use of patents, know-how or software held by another company for the production of goods and services. Press release and FAQ.

Agenda of the European Commission.