European parliament: Banking Union, a step closer Three new EU regulations will strengthen the stability of the European banking system and ensure that banks shoulder the risks of failure rather than relying on taxpayers. On April 15 the European Parliament gave the green light to two resolutions on the reorganization and winding up of distressed banks; a third regulation – the Assembly made known in a statement – “stipulates that banks, and not taxpayers, guarantee deposits under 100,000 in the event of a run on a bank.” These measures complement the single bank supervision system, already in place, and take the EU far down the road towards banking union. After the vote, the President of the EU Parliament Martin Schulz, said: “Although the initial proposal of the European Parliament was more ambitious, the spirit of this regulation has been safeguarded and has led to a major victory for the citizens of Europe. Henceforth taxpayers will not foot the bill for bank losses”. Moreover, “it’s a decisive step to break the bond between banking debts and sovereign debts.” Addressing the EP plenary, representing the Council of the EU, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said, “It is a major step towards the completion of a true Economic and Monetary Union.” MEPs’ vote is “a clear message to those who had questioned Europe’s capability of overcoming the crisis.” “Banking Union is a huge endeavour, essential to emerge from recession. It is a response based precisely on the euro.” Geography and information technology According to a new a new EU Atlas of ICT Hotspots, Munich, London (Inner London) and Paris are the three top “hubs” for the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) In Europe. The Atlas, presented on April 14 by the EU Commission, collects the findings of a census carried out among all 1.303 Member State’s regions. The report analysed three elements: business activity, R&D and Innovation in the ICT sector on the basis of their business turnover, number of employees, their internationalisation and networking. “This atlas shows where digital technologies thrive and examines the factors contributing to this success”, the Commission said in a release. For example, it shows that “most of Europe’s ICT activity takes place in 34 regions across 12 countries.” “Basic ingredients” of the success in this field included access to top Universities and research centres and funding opportunities such as venture capital. In addition to the three above-mentioned top hubs, the atlas highlighted developments in Karlsruhe (Germany), Cambridge (United Kingdom), Stockholm (Sweden), Darmstadt (Germany). Germany ranks first in terms of ICT patents, while UK excels in holders of IT degrees; highest job placement rates in this area were recorded in Lisbon (Portugal) and Rzeszowski (Poland).Commission, EU Charter grows Free movement of citizens in EU Countries, consumer rights, judicial cooperation citizenship anti-discrimination and social rights (notably equality between women and men) and data protection are some of the fundamental rights stipulated in the Charter of the European Union that came into force in 2009, whose respect is most requested by citizens. It is one of the findings of 4th annual report published April 14 by the European Commission on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. “The importance and prominence of the EU Charter continues to rise. The Court of Justice of the EU increasingly applies the Charter in its decisions while national judges are more and more aware of the Charter’s impact and seek guidance from the European Court of Justice”, the Commission stated in a note. Since 2010, the European Commission has put in place a ‘fundamental rights checklist’ and as a result screens every legislative proposal to ensure it is “fundamental-rights proof”. A set of provisions have been adopted to step up these rights in 2013, which include legal measures to boost safeguards for EU citizens in criminal proceedings (respect for the presumption of innocence; right to be present at trial; safeguards for children, access to provisional legal aid at the early stages of proceedings); integration of Roma; safeguarding the autonomy of the Court.