Fabian Demicoli

New beginnings: the EU laws that will change your life starting this year

 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.

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 judgments. 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

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 labeling
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.

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