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The Rule of law around the world

(from Europea Newsletter) “Advancing the rule of law around the world is the central goal of the World Justice Project” (WJP), a project supported by important institutions and foundations in USA, as The Neukom Family Foundation and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Report is based on the WJP Rule of Law Index, which is an instrument for strengthening the rule of law by presenting a comprehensive set of indicators on the rule of law from the perspective of the ordinary person. The Index provides new data on the following nine dimensions of the rule of law: limited government powers, absence of corruption, order and security, fundamental rights, open government, regulatory enforcement, access to civil justice, effective criminal justice and informal justice. The Rule of Law Index is an attempt to quantify systematically and comprehensively a set of rule of law outcomes by linking the conceptual definitions to concrete questions. For this reason, the index is based on two main sources of new data: a general population poll, conducted by leading local polling companies using a representative sample of 1,000 respondents in three cities per country, and a qualified respondents’ questionnaire(QRQ), which was completed by in-country practitioners and academics with expertise in civil and commercial law, criminal justice, labor law, and public health. According to the report 2011, Countries in Western Europe and North America tend to outperform most other countries in all dimensions. In most dimensions, countries in Western Europe (in particular Norway and Sweden) obtained higher scores than the United States.

European Credit Rating Foundation

(from Europea Newsletter) The EU Parliament is demanding more accountability for credit rating agencies and suggested to make them liable in civil law for their rating.
As Moody‘s recent announcements concerning Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain ratings strained the relation between the three largest rating agencies and the EU, Europe is claiming to rate European countries sovereign debt.
Not an easy step. To score this goal, the Parliament also suggested the creation of an European Credit Rating Foundation, which should reduce dependency on Moody‘s & Co.
The parliamentarian resolution is aiming at achieving more transparency and liability for the working methods of the CRAs, which recently downgraded Portugal long-term rating to A+ and then announced to slash Portugal’s 10-year bonds to Ba2.
The European Commission, which has already adopted different proposals to regulate credit ratings agencies, should now present legislative proposals to further regulate CRAs.

Is e-invoicing getting easier?

(from Europea Newsletter) The latest VAT directive of the European Council aims to increase the use of electronic invoicing. To realize this purpose the directive lays down the principle of equality of treatment between paper and electronic invoices. Moreover, the directive foresees that enterprises will be free to choose the most suitable technology for their specific needs and will have to meet the requirements for authenticity, integrity and legibility using business controls to guarantee the validity of the transactions, as it currently takes place for paper invoices. The previous VAT directive set the advanced electronic signature as a condition to ensure the authenticity of origin and content integrity of an electronic invoice. Consequently, the issuer of the electronic invoice can- but must not- electronically sign the electronic invoice to achieve compliance with the European law. As a matter of fact, authenticity of origin and integrity of content of electronic invoices can now be merely ensured through "business controls".

EU legislation

Making a living can be a risky business. But with the priority given to the issue of safety at work by the EU and its Member States, European workplaces are among the safest in the world and getting safer. In fact, the EU’s rate of serious accidents at work has fallen in recent years, decreasing by 22% between 1998 and 2005, according to the Union’s statistical service. These statistics highlight the ongoing importance of improving the safety of both the workers and the workplace. To improve the EU’s performance in this area, the Union launched a new five-year strategy (2007-2012) which aims to cut by a quarter work-related accidents in Europe.

From knowledge to innovation

Europe is already a world-beating knowledge factory, but now it needs to become an innovation dynamo. Employing an innovative consultation approach, an independent group of European business innovators has provided its perspective on future priorities for EU innovation policy. Read more: The European Innovation Act

OER10 - Open educational resources 2010

OER10 will take place Monday 22 - Wednesday 24 March 2010 at the award winning Gillespie Centre at Clare College, Cambridge. The event will consist of a stimulating and engaging mix of keynotes, project presentations and case studies, refereed papers, workshops and demos all promoting and disseminating best practice in OER.

An Eurobarometer for our finance?

A recent Eurobarometer survey of companies tries to establish to what extent firms are now finding it harder to gain credit or investment. This survey is intended to be the first of a regular series charting the financial environment in different countries so as to identify key areas of action regarding businesses' access to finance.

Promoting enterprises - The European Enterprise Awards

Recognising that Entrepreneurs need a supportive environment, European public authorities at all levels are developing policies and initiatives to make life easier for small business and therefore encourage more entrepreneurship. The European Enterprise Awards – this year’s were recently presented in Prague – are organised to recognise the efforts made by authorities from all over Europe in order to demonstrate the results which can be achieved with such promoting policies.

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