Climate change, economic crisis and Lisbon Treaty on focus for the next European Council

Ahead of the European Council of the 11 and 12 December, MEPs debated the three key topics, namely, the climate change and energy package, the response to the economic crisis and progress on the Lisbon Strategy. Most group speakers agreed the need for a deal on the climate change package and supported the Commission's proposals on the economic crisis. Besides, some of the smaller groups asked for the Lisbon Treaty to be forgotten given the No vote in Ireland last June.

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EC launches the debate about bio-waste management in the EU

The European Commission presented on December, 3rd a discussion paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union. Bio-waste, which involves biodegradable garden, kitchen and food waste, accounts for around one third of municipal waste and has major potential impacts on the environment. When disposed of in landfill sites, it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide and a major contributor to climate change.

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FP6 Funded Project BEFORE delivers its conclusions on regional benchmarking

The BEFORE project recently delivered its conclusions after performing a comparative analysis (benchmarking) of efficient support instruments for RTD in geographical areas with demographic significant imbalances, analysing specific tools of support for rural companies and entrepreneurs, and developing a set of indicators of impact of the regional RTD support policies in such regions.

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EU adopts a common minimum level of training seafarers

The Official Journal of the European Union, OJEU, published on December, 3rd, the Directive 2008/106/EC, of the European Parliament and the Council on the minimum level of training of seafarers. This new Directive recasts Directive 2001/25/EC for reasons of clarity, after the significant amendments made to it.

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Council reaches political agreement on SBA

The Competitiveness Council of Ministers met in Brussels at a meeting haired by Hervé Novelli, the French Minister for State for Business, Trades, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Tourism and Services. The main points on the agenda of the working session were the adoption of the 'Small Business Act for Europe' and the European response to the economic crisis.

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EU-Central Asia cooperation to strengthen the Rule of Law

An EU - Central Asia Ministerial Conference, co-organised by the French Presidency and Germany, was held on 27 and 28 November 2008, on the sidelines of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels, to discuss the theme "Rule of law - cornerstone of development", in order to give fresh impetus to the implementation of the European Union Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia adopted by the European Council on June, 21st 2007.

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Disability discrimination debate at EU level

The European Commission has launched a debate on the future shape of European disability policy ahead of the European Day of People with Disabilities on December, 3rd. The conference "Acting locally for a society for all", taking place in Brussels between December 1st and 2nd, will bring together key players in the disability field to discuss follow-up to the current European Disability Action Plan.

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EU meets in Poznań to boost negotiations on a new global climate deal

The European Commission and EU Member States aim to shift international negotiations on a new global climate treaty into higher gear and will be pressing for progress on a range of issues at the UN climate change conference in Poznań, Poland from 1-12 December. The Poznań conference represents an important staging-post in the international negotiations which were launched in Bali last December and are due to lead to the conclusion of the new agreement at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen.

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9.2 M€ for EU / North America and Asia-Pacific academic cooperation

The European Commission is consolidating the longstanding cooperation with the US and Canada with the launch of a new round of 24 innovative projects involving universities and training institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. The objective is to promote mutual understanding, transparency and quality in higher education and training, by setting up long-term institutional cooperation at bachelor's and master's level, allowing students from Europe and from the partner countries to have a unique experience studying abroad in a global context.

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ECB lays down a common framework for joint Eurosystem procurement

By establishing a framework for joint Eurosystem procurement, the European Central Bank (ECB) aims at fostering the participation of the ECB and the national central banks of the Member States that have adopted the euro in such joint procurement. For that purpose, the ECB adopted on November, 17th, a Decision laying down the framework for joint Eurosystem procurement (ECB/2008/17).

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Ensuring road safety in the trans-European road network

The new Directive 2008/96/CE, of the European Parliament and the Council on road infrastructure safety management, has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJEU, on December 1st, 2008.  The Directive aims at the establishment of procedures to ensure a consistently high level of road safety throughout the trans-European road network which cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, applying the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

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Commission takes action to ensure EU level playing field

The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement procedures against several Member States for failure to implement certain Internal Market Directives into national law. These procedures involve a Directive on Statutory Audit, the Eligible Assets Directive, and a Directive on public procurement.

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