In the opinion of the EU Commission, the construction sector may become a motor to create new jobs in the union. Subsidising low-energy buildings is to be the key. Loans of around EUR 120 billion made available by the European Investment Bank in June 2012 for the Growth and Employment Pact are to be increasingly used for this purpose.
According to a report by the Institute for Labour Studies on the employment crisis, which was discussed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 11 July 2012 in Geneva, unemployment in the Eurozone could increase from currently 17.4 million to 22 million affected persons in just four years. However, ILO Director General Juan Somavia indicates that the unemployment problem is not limited to the Eurozone and therefore needs to be addressed internationally by the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the G20 with an employment strategy.
On 18 July 2012, the EU Commission asked the 27 member states for a mandate to negotiate with Japan about a Japan-EU free trade agreement. This move is welcomed by the pharmaceuticals and food industries as well as the service sector, among others. Japan is the second-largest trading partner of the EU in Asia.
By 2016, 60 percent of the published research results in the European Union are to be freely accessible insofar as the research was subsidised by public funds. EU Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes had this to say on 17 July 2012: "Taxpayers should not have to pay for research results more than once, and they must be able to access the original data easily. We want to reach the next level in the dissemination and use of research results. Data are the new crude oil."
Employers around the globe are reporting difficulty in finding qualified personnel. On the other hand, unemployment has reached record highs in many countries, especially since the crisis. Solutions to this problem observed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development were discussed at the OECD ministers' meeting in May 2012.
On 14 May 2012 the European Commission released guidelines for road tolls on private passenger vehicles. The most important point: foreigners must not be disadvantaged in comparison to residents. This also applies to transit traffic charges. Siim Kallas, Vice President of the EU Commission, explains: "Non-discrimination is a basic right anchored in EU law. It has to be just as easy for a French or British citizen to drive through Slovenia or Belgium as it is for residents of the respective country. Systems for collecting road tolls must be transparent and fair for all."
In its latest report dated 6 June 2012 regarding restrictions on world trade, the Directorate General for Trade of the European Union noted that 123 new trade restrictions were introduced in the past eight months alone, increasing the number of recorded trade restrictions worldwide to 534. The protectionism trend therefore remains unbroken. Even the agreement reached between the G20 – the world's leading economically advanced nations – at their Washington summit in 2008 and regularly affirmed since then, calling for an end to new measures restricting trade and the elimination of existing ones, failed to stop this development.
The third Anti-Money Laundering Directive as a legal framework is based on standards established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and states that it falls into the responsibility of the EU to protect the financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing. One of the obligations internationally agreed upon is that the EU Commission will review and appropriately adjust its legislation. In the meantime, a corresponding report has been approved by the Commission. The Commission plans to propose a fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive this autumn, following the conclusion of the public consultation period on June 13, 2012.
Signs are once again pointing to a recovery of the world economy. But this is of limited validity for the job market. In its "World of Work Report 2012" presented in Geneva at the beginning of May 2012, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) predicts that employment in industrialised nations will only recover to the pre-crisis level in 2016 – assuming that the growth trend does not weaken.
In his speech on 11 May 2012 before the American chamber of trade in Germany, the AmCham Germany in Hamburg, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht favoured the prompt commencement of negotiations regarding a comprehensive trade agreement with the USA.