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European Union; Lithuania: Euro Zone Membership on January 1, 2015

(Dec. 18, 2014) Lithuania, after a long and arduous process, has been found by the European Commission and the European Central Bank to meet the required criteria and will join the euro zone on January 1, 2015; as of that date it will also adopt the euro as its currency. With the addition of Lithuania, […]

European Union; Mexico; World Intellectual Property Organization: Agreements on Patents

(Dec. 17, 2014) In September 2014, Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the European Patent Office (EPO) signed an agreement to launch a pilot project in January 2015 known as the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program. The project is aimed at expediting the approval of patents in Mexico and the European Union by mutually […]

European Union; Sri Lanka: Plan to Contest Decision to End Ban on Tamil Tigers

(Oct. 23, 2014) On October 16, 2014, the European Court of Justice annulled the European Council’s 2006 listing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers) as a terrorist organization. The step was taken on procedural grounds and left intact the freeze on LTTE assets. According to the Court, […]

Bulgaria; European Union: Bank Depositors Denied Access to Their Deposits in Bulgaria

(Oct. 8, 2014) On September 25, 2014, the European Commission instituted infringement proceedings against Bulgaria arising from its failure to pay the claims of depositors at two closed banks. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgarian authorities informing them that the country had committed two violations of European Union legislation: (a) incorrect […]

European Union: New Rules on Unaccompanied Minors Entering the EU Illegally

(July 9, 2014) On June 26, 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend EC Regulation No. 343/2003, the Dublin Regulation, which establishes that only one EU Member is responsible for handling each asylum application. It also lays down the criteria and ways to determine which Member State of the European Union is responsible […]

European Union: Draft Directive on Damage Claims by Victims of Antitrust Violations

(June 30, 2014) In April 2014, the European Parliament adopted a proposal for a Directive regulating various aspects of actions for damages suffered by victims of antitrust violations. The European Commission initially proposed the Directive in June 2013. (European Commission, Actions for Damages: Proposal for a Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions, EUROPA (last updated Apr. […]

European Union: Draft Directive on the Protection of Trade Secrets

(June 12, 2014) On May 26, 2014, the Competitiveness Council of the European Union adopted a common position on a draft directive concerning the protection of trade secrets, which was initially proposed by the European Commission in November 2013. (Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of […]

European Union: Central Bank Board Member Speaks on Bitcoin

(June 6, 2014) On May 19, 2014, Yves Mersch, an executive board member of the European Central Bank, in a speech given to Cash Symposium 2014, in Germany, argued in favor of the superiority of the euro as a form of payment in comparison with virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. He commented that consumers have […]

European Union: Russia Challenges EU Energy Laws Before WTO

(May 6, 2014) In May 2014, the Russian Federation filed a formal complaint before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union (EU) on the grounds that the EU’s energy rules, the so-called “Third Energy Package,” constitute discrimination. (Benjamin Fox, Russia To File WTO Lawsuit Against EU Energy Laws, EUOBSERVER (May 1, 2014).) The […]

European Union: Commission Proposes New Standards Regulating Use of Civil Drones

(Apr. 30, 2014) On April 4, 2014, the European Commission adopted a Communication entitled “A New Era for Aviation, Opening the Aviation Market to the Civil Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in a Safe and Sustainable Manner” (European Commission, COM (2014) 207 final, EUROPA (Apr. 8, 2014)). The Communication constitutes the Commission’s first step […]