EP president Martin Schulz signs Erasmus+ into law. The revamped education programme will enable more than four million people to study abroad over the next seven years.  

This year will see many important laws enter into force that will affect the daily lives of millions of Europeans. From January these include a European patent to boost innovation and rules on mercury and electrical waste. Later there will also be legislation on consumer protection, intellectual property and environmental protection as well as rules to shape the EU's banking union and ensure the free movement of workers. Read on for more details

Intellectual property rights will be better protected by extending the number of possible infringement customs officials can check for at the border and by introducing new rules on the jurisdiction of courts and the recognition of judgements. These will be implemented in a number of member states starting January.

The EU aid volunteers programme will create opportunities for about 10,000 people to help out in humanitarian operations across the globe the coming seven years.

Erasmus+, the revamped version of Europe's popular education programme, will enable more than four million young people to study or train abroad from now until 2020 thanks to its budget of more than €14 billion

Legislation to ensure electrical and electronic equipment is recycled better enters into force in February and rules to make tumble driers more energy efficient in November.

It is the end of the line for all old mercury thermometers and other measuring devices in April. The EU aims to reduce the amount of the highly toxic metal used as it forms a health hazard.

Consumers will benefit from better information on their food, including nutrition information on processed foods, origin labelling of unprocessed meat, while allergens such as peanuts and milk will have to be highlighted in the list of ingredients. 

In 2014 there will also be new legislation on how to deal with failing banks and investment firms, protect people's savings and make it easier for Europeans to work in another part of the EU. 

In addition there will be new rules on tobacco products to discourage people from taking up smoking and on data protection to ensure our personal information online is better protected.