After over 30 years of trying, Parliament and the Council have agreed on how to create an EU-wide patent regime to protect inventions better, cut costs and boost competitiveness. This Q&A paper details how the new regime will work, and how it will improve on the current one. It also shows how Parliament helped to shape the regime and tailor it to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Draft legislation designed to increase the competitiveness of Europe's SMEs by improving their access to finance and promoting entrepreneurship under the EU's next long-term budget was beefed up by the industry committee on Thursday, with a view to negotiations with the Council.
Six draft laws on the EU's framework research programme, Horizon 2020, to be financed under the new long-term budget for 2014 to 2020, won broad support in the industry committee on Wednesday. Investment in research and innovation should reflect the EU's future challenges, MEPs stressed.
Professors Peter Higgs and François Englert, who predicted the existence of the "Higgs boson" particle, briefed MEPs on Tuesday on its discovery. The boson, detected by CERN on 4 July, helps to explain how the universe got its mass. The occasion was a panel held by Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) unit on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
The emergence of exploration for shale oil and shale gas in some EU countries should be backed up with "robust regulatory regimes", the European Parliament said in two resolutions voted on Wednesday. Member states should also be "cautious" about permitting exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels pending further analysis of whether EU-level regulation is appropriate, say MEPs.
EU citizens still do not benefit fully from the single market, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. They cite difficulties registering cars abroad, opening bank accounts or having professional qualifications recognised and blame these problems on member states' reluctance to implement EU rules swiftly, coordinate with each other and inform citizens of their rights.
Involving citizens in the single market, better informing them of their rights, building trust, countering retrenchment tendencies in member states, making existing rules work better for citizens and businesses and mapping the future were among the issues discussed at the single market anniversary celebration launch event in the European Parliament on Monday.
Gaps and differences in EU member states' laws governing online trading or inconsistent enforcement of rules, as well as inadequate digital infrastructure, are preventing EU firms and citizens from reaping the full benefits of the digital single market and causing the EU to fall behind the global competition, say Internal Market Committee MEPs in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday.
Offshore oil and gas firms would have to submit major hazard reports and emergency response plans before getting a licence to drill under a draft law approved by the Energy Committee on Tuesday. Licences would be granted only if the firm could prove it has enough cash to remedy any environmental damage caused. The draft will now be negotiated with the Council.
The single market's 20th anniversary celebration (15-20 October), will enable citizens, businesses and politicians to debate the challenges it faces in the 21st century. This press kit looks at five examples of how citizens and businesses have gained from recent single market legislation, draft laws now being worked on by the Internal Market Committee and MEPs' predictions for the future.