Public consultation on Public Sector Information

The European Commission has recently published an online public consultation to gather information from stakeholders on the implementation, impact and scope of the Public Sector Information Directive of 2003, previous to the exam of this Directive. The consultation is open until 31 July 2008 and its results will feed into the review of the Directive.

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Agreement on the Spanish Rural Development Programme for the period 2007-2013

The Rural Development Committee, consisting of representatives of the 27 Member States, gave on June 25th. a positive opinion to the Rural Development programme of the Spanish national rural network for the financial period 2007-2013. Specific Rural Development programmes for each of the Spanish regions have already been approved.

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Commission consults on bringing down mobile phone tariffs in Europe

The European Commission started, on June 26th. 2008, a public consultation on the future regulation of "voice call termination rates" in the EU, based on a draft Commission Recommendation on termination rates. This consultation aims to spur competition among operators and lower phone charges for European consumers.

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Non-opposition to Iberia / ST Aerospace / JV concentration

The European Commission decided on June 10th. 2008, not to oppose the notified concentration between Iberia, ST Aerospace and JV, and to declare it compatible with the common market. This decision is based on Article 6.1 b.) of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004.

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European Commission welcomes the Council agreement on the "Eurostars" Programme for Research-performing SMEs

On Monday 23rd of June, the Council of Ministers agreed to provide EUR 100 million from the EU's 7th Framework Programme (FP7) budget to Eurostars, a Research and Development (R&D) programme jointly set up by 31 countries to boost research capacities of Small and Medium-Sized companies (SMEs) in Europe. The EUR 100 million from FP7 will leverage at least EUR 300 million in public funding from the participating countries, resulting in a package of EUR 400 million for financing trans-national research partnerships driven research-performing SMEs in Europe.

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"Think Small First": A Small Business Act for Europe

Most jobs in the EU are provided for by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), companies of 250 employees or less. They have a crucial importance for the future development, but very often face enormous bureaucratic hurdles and obstacles. European SMEs deserve to be better assisted to fully unlock their potential of long term sustainable growth and of more job creation. To achieve this goal, the European Commission has unveiled the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), based on ten guiding principles and proposes policy actions to be undertaken by both the Commission and Member States.

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Commission launches debate on relations with Overseas Countries and Territories

The Commission, on the 25th June 2008, tabled a Green Paper on the future relation with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), aimed at launching a broad debate on the EU-OCT relations. Following the public consultation, the Commission will propose a new partnership that takes better account of the special characteristics and present economic situation in the 21 islands.

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EC publishes guidelines for Member States on how to make public procurement more SME-friendly

In the context of the Small Business Act (SBA), the European Commission has published a set of practical examples and guidelines which will enable Member States and public authorities to make their public procurement rules and practices more friendly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Public procurement in the EU, the purchases of goods, services and public works by governments and public utilities, is a vast market, worth 1,800 € billion in 2006 and estimated at about 16% of GDP.

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