Euro area inflation estimated at 3.5%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 3.5% in March 2008 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. It was 3.3% in February.

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A new era in transatlantic aviation 'Open Skies'

On Sunday 30th March 2008, the new EU-US Air Transport Agreement took effect. For the first time, European airlines can fly without restrictions from any point in the EU to any point in the US. This agreement is the most ambitious air services deal ever negotiated. The two biggest aviation markets, encompassing 60% of world traffic, will cooperate closer in all fields of aviation policy. In May 2008, the European Commission will engage in second-stage negotiations with the US.

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2009: The European Year of Creativity and Innovation

The European Parliment and Council of the European Union proposed, on the 28 March 2008 a “European Year of Creativity and Innovation” in 2009. The aim of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation shall be to support the efforts of the Member States to promote creativity, through lifelong learning, as a driver for innovation and as a key factor for the development of personal, occupational, entrepreneurial and social competences and the well-being of all individuals in society.

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Tech Data continues to grow within Europe

The European Commission, as part of procedures relating the implrementation of the competition policy, has released its official Prior notification of a concentration (Case COMP/M.5091 — Tech Data/Scribona) in the offical Journal.

On 19 March 2008, the Commission received a notification of a proposed concentration pursuant by which the undertakings Tech Data AB (Sweden), Tech Data Norge (Norway) and Tech Data Finland Oy (Finland), which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Tech Data Corporation (United States of America, collectively ‘Tech Data’), would acquire control of the undertaking Scribona AB (publ) (‘Scribona’, Sweden) by way of purchase of assets.

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Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco on certain aspects of air services

The European Commission published its official decision on the 29th March 2008 concerning its conclusions, approving the Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco on certain aspects of air services. Full details of the conclusion are availabe in the Offical Journal of the European Union.

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International Coffee Agreement 2007

The European Union published on the 27th March 2008 the Council decision on the signing and conclusion by the European Community of the International Coffee Agreement 2007.

On 28th September 2007 the International Coffee Council (ICC) adopted the text of a new 2007 Agreement replacing the International Coffee Agreement 2001 which had been extended to 30th September 2008. In the discussions on the Agreement the Community negotiated on the basis of the negotiating mandate and directives proposed by the Commission and approved by the Council on 29th January 2007.

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Commission approves proposed acquisition of Aearo by 3M

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Aearo, a US producer of protective equipment, by the US company 3M. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

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Commission authorises GM maize GA21

The European Commission on the 28th of March 2008, adopted a Decision authorising the GM maize GA21 for feed and food use and for import and processing. In fact, the placing on the market of food and feed produced from GA21 is already authorised in the EU.

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EU leadership when it comes to Climate change

For the EU it is essential that the forthcoming global agreement sets the objective of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial level in order to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels at which irreversible and possibly catastrophic changes could occur. Keeping within this temperature ceiling will require worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases to be cut by more than 50% of 1990 levels by mid-century.

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Formal negotiations on new UN climate agreement get under way


The European Union will be pressing for solid progress when formal negotiations to draw up a new United Nations climate change agreement start on 31 March in Bangkok, Thailand. The week-long meeting marks the first negotiating session since the UN climate conference in Bali last December decided to conclude the agreement by the end of 2009. The new agreement is intended to take effect once the Kyoto Protocol's targets for limiting greenhouse gas emissions from developed countries have expired in 2012.

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Ecological criteria for the award maintained until October 31, 2009

The European Commission has published an amendment of the Decision 2005/338/EC in order to prolong the validity of the ecological criteria for the award of the Community eco-label to campsite service for 18 months which means that the criteria awards will remain until October 31, 2009.

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Border controls to be lifted at airports on 30 March

On 21 December 2007, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia became part of the Schengen area. On Sunday 30 March 2008 at 0:00, the enlargement process will be completed by lifting air border controls between these countries and with the 15 states that were already part of the Schengen system.

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