European Citizens' Forum

The European Economic and Social Committee and the City of Wroclaw are organising a joint European Citizens' Forum entitled "Towards a Europe of Solidarity", which will take place on 19-20 June 2008 in Wroclaw (Poland). The Forum is intended to be both a meeting with interested citizens and a celebration of the European Idea with the general public. The conference will be opened by Mr Lech Wałęsa, former President of Poland and a representative of the EU Presidency, Ms Marjeta Cotman, Slovenian Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, Mrs Jillian van Turnhout, EESC vice-President, as well as Mr Rafał Dutkiewicz, Mayor of Wrocław.

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Stakeholders discuss how to put the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) into practice

The European Qualifications Framework was recently adopted formally by the European Parliament and the Council as a Recommendation. Now, stakeholders from across the EU are set to discuss how to best implement this new scheme, which aims to enhance mobility by facilitating the transparency of qualifications across the EU. The first EQF implementation conference will gather some 230 representatives of national authorities, social partners, industry sectors and stakeholders' organisations in Brussels on 3-4 June 2008.

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Ombudsman warns that citizens' right of access to documents is at risk

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has called on the European Parliament (EP) to defend the European Union’s commitment to transparency and the citizens’ right of access to EU documents. This follows the European Commission’s recent proposals to revise the law on public access to documents.

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"EU WINDOW" China-EU language exchange programme

On June 2nd 2008, the Commissioner for Multilingualism, Mr. Leonard Orban, and the Vice Minister of Education of China, Mr. Zhang Xinsheng, will officially launch the China-EU Language Exchange Programme, entitled "EU Window".

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European network set to boost women in power

Female decision-makers from around Europe are meeting on the 2nd of June 2008 for the launch of a new EU-level network of women in power. The group aims to promote women in decision-making positions in politics and the economy across Europe. The inaugural meeting will be opened by Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and by Zita Gurmai, Vice-Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström and Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaité will also be present at the discussion.

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Commission launches public consultation on revision of car labelling directive

The European Commission today launched a public consultation on information provided to consumers about the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new cars. Stakeholders and the general public are invited to submit their views on how such information can be made clearer and more consistent. Studies have shown that the CO2 labelling directive in force is not working as well as it could and needs to be amended.

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Commission welcomes treaty to ban cluster munitions

The European Commission welcomes the adoption in Dublin on Wednesday 28 May of a multilateral convention to ban all cluster munitions within eight years. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, commented: “The convention banning cluster munitions is an important step towards enhancing the security of victims of conflicts in many regions across the world. I hope that many countries will sign and ratify it. When entering into force, it will be an important contribution to the “Human Security Agenda”. The European Commission stands ready to assist in implementing the Convention."

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EESC Open Day 2008

On the seventh of June 2008. from 10AM until 6PM, an Open Day will mark the fiftith anniversary of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and highlight the role which the Committee has played since 1958 as a bridge between the European institutions and organised civil society.

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Prior notification of a concentration between STM and NXP

On 23rd May 2008, the Commission received a notification of a proposed concentration by which the ndertakings STMicroelectronics NV (‘STM’, The Netherlands) and NXP BV (‘NXP’, The Netherlands) acquire joint control of a newly created company constituting a joint venture.

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Landmark decisions at biodiversity conference are a big step forward in protecting global biodiversity

191 countries agreed on Friday 30th May to take far reaching action in order to address the current unprecedented loss of biodiversity across the globe. At the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which has been meeting for the past two weeks in Bonn Germany, consensus was reached on decisions, which will pave the way to ensuring that the increasing production of biofuels is sustainable and to finalising an international regime on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources.

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Prior notification of a concentration between Sofinco, Saracen and Forso

On 22nd May 2008, the Commission received a notification of a proposed concentration by which the undertaking Sofinco SA (‘Sofinco’, France), a wholly owned subsidiary of Crédit Agricole SA (‘CA’, France), and Saracen HoldCo AB (‘Saracen’, Sweden), a wholly owned subsidiary of FCE Bank plc controlled by Ford Motor Company, acquire joint control of the undertaking Forso Nordic AB (‘Forso’, Sweden) by way of purchase of shares in a newly created company constituting a joint venture.

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Spanish companies improve their performance thanks to collaboration with R&D centres

From the 30th May 2008 for three days, more than 300 members of international R&D centres have discussed in Madrid the future challenges and opportunities for European innovation. At the annual Earto conference organised by the Spanish Federation of Technology Centres (Fedit), participants have aimed to clarify the potential impact of the EU legislation, the role of the research centres and the influence of global economy on their performance. Representatives from public institutions, industry, OECD, European Commission and important European research centres such as Fraunhofer, VTT, and Pera were present at the meeting

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