All banking will be under the SEPA system from 1st Feb 2014. (read: All you need to Know about SEPA)
From mid December, food manufacturers will have to indicate 14 ingredients which usually cause allergic reactions within the list of ingredients.
From 2014, the manufacturers may volunteer to include a blue and white “regional window” sticker to indicate where the ingredients come from, where the product was processed and where it was packaged.
From mid June, online shoppers will have to pay for sending back items unless the seller decides to pay for it. Online sellers will no longer have to pay for the item to be sent back to them.
Shoppers will only be allowed to send back items within the first 14days since buying.
Cell phone Services:
From July 1st, roaming costs for cell phones within the EU will be cheaper. According to the European Consumer Center, calling home should cost no more than 19 cents per minute and incoming calls should be 5 cents per minute. SMSes will cost 6 cents and browsing should be 20 cents per Megabyte.
Cell phone users will also be allowed to buy sim cards from a provider at their destination without affecting their current contract.
Energy in Homes:
All homes will have to have the new Energy badge that will be graded from A+ to H.
From January, all homes should have the new standardised counters for their water and heating meters.
The rating system for nursing homes will become stricter with the bar being raised and more specific questions being added to the evaluation form.
Vacuum Machines (Hoovers):
From September, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce hoovers with a power of more than 1600W (1.6kW).
Manufacturers will also have to put a label on the hoovers showing the amount of power the require.
A new 10-Euro note.
Hartz IV (Social Welfare):
Those on social welfare will receive more money as of 2014. Hartz IV will increase by 2.3% from 382 to 391 for singles. For a couple where both are on welfare, each will receive €353; for adults who don’t live on their own, they’ll receive €313. Children younger than six years will receive €229, for under 14 year olds €261 and for under 18 year olds €296.
- Using your cell phone while driving will now cost €60 instead of €40
- Disregarding the children safety rules during driving will cost €60 instead of €40
- Using summer tyres in winter will now cost €60 instead of €40
- Not stopping when asked to do so by the police will now cost €70 instead of €50
- Driving in the Environmental zone without the required sticker will now cost €80 instead of €40; a violation of the label rules (€65) and disregarding the log book rules (€60)
- From July 1st each car should have a reflective vest that fulfils the ISO 20471 regulations
- All new cars from November 2014 will have to have a tyre pressure meter installed
- The Car Insurance based on the CO2 emissions of a car will be changed. The limit will be reduced from 110 to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, for every kilometre exceeded one will be €2.
- New Flensburg system will be used from 1st May. Instead of 18 points, your DL will now be taken at 8points. Below the comparison between the old and new points.
- 1-3 Punkte = 1 Punkt
- 4-5 Punkte = 2 Punkte
- 6-7 Punkte = 3 Punkte
- 8-10 Punkte = 4 Punkte
- 11-13 Punkte = 5 Punkte
- 14-15 Punkte = 6 Punkte
- 16-17 Punkte = 7 Punkte
- 18 oder mehr Punkte = 8 Punkte.
The cost of a pack of cigarettes (19pieces) will increase by 4 – 8 cents while a 40g pack of tobacco leaves will increase by 12 – 14 cents.
Cigarette Custom Duty:
The number of cigarettes one is allowed to bring in from other European countries for personal consumption will be reduced from 800 to 300 pieces. Exceeding this limit will demand that one pays the custom duty, failure to which a fine will have to paid.
The Tax Law on Travel expenses will be simplified with any day spent away from the office on official business for more than 8hrs being refunded at €12, which is non-taxable.
Cost of electricity will increase. According to the Consumer Center in NRW, for a family with an annual consumption of 3500kW, the cost will increase by €2,73 monthly.
Green energy will increase by 0,963 Cent to 6,240 Cent.
Everyone aged more than 15 years should have the new generation health insurance chip card that includes a picture of the insurance holder. All the other health insurance regardless of their intended expiry date will no longer be in use come January 1st 2014. Bed ridden patients are exempt from having their picture on the new card.
Social insurance contribution for artists will increase from 4.1% to 5.2%
The assessment threshold (Bemessungsgrenze) for social insurances will increase, whoever earns more will pay more. (read: Social Insurances set to Increase in 2014)
Cost of sending letters increases from €0.58 to €0.60