EC opens formal investigation on possible irregularities by S&P towards ISINs end users

The European Commission has decided to open formal proceedings with respect to Standard & Poor's (S&P) behaviour towards end users of International Securities Identification Numbers (ISINs), for possible breaches of the EC Treaty's rules on abuse of a dominant market position. The Commission believes that S&P may abuse its monopoly position as the US national numbering agency by forcing financial institutions (such as banks and investment funds) to pay licensing fees for the use of US ISIN codes in their own databases.

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EC clears Iberia's acquisition of Vueling and Clickair under conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the two Spanish low-cost airlines Vueling and Clickair by the Spanish flag-carrier Iberia on condition that commitments to safeguard competition and passenger choice are implemented. The Spanish competition authority submitted a request for the concentration to be referred to them for consideration but subsequently withdrew their request.

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Periodical report on the EU postal sector

EU reforms in the postal sector are well on track, but some Member States need to speed up their transition towards full market opening and to remove remaining barriers to competition. These are the conclusions of the European Commission's latest periodical application report on the EU postal sector. The creation of an Internal Postal Market is included in the Lisbon Strategy as a crucial element of the EU's single market policy.

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Lift labour market restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian workers in 4MS

Greece, Spain, Hungary and Portugal have lifted restrictions on access to their labour markets for Bulgarian and Romanian workers from the 1st . The four countries join ten other EU Member States which had already opened their labour markets for workers from Bulgaria and Romania. Restrictions remain in eleven Member States.

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Official launch of the Creativity and Innovation European Year 2009 in Prague

The Czech Presidency of the EU and European Commission launched the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 on Wednesday, 7 January with the slogan “Imagine. Create. Innovate”.

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Published the School Fruit Scheme

The Official Journal of the European Union has published the Council Regulation (EC) No 13/2009 of 18 December 2008 amending Regulations (EC) No 1290/2005 on the financing of the common agricultural policy and (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation) in order to set up a School Fruit Scheme.

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ECVAM develops two new methods to avoid skin irritation testing in animals

Research activities carried out at the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), aim to deliver new testing methods which will avoid unnecessary tests using animals for the validation of chemical substances safety.

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Euro area unemployment rised up to 7.8% in November 2008

Compared with the same date for November 2007, thirteen Member States recorded a fall in their unemployment rate, and fourteen an increase. The largest falls were observed in Poland (8.5% to 6.5%) and Slovakia (10.5% to 9.1%), and the highest increases in Spain (8.6% to 13.4%) and Estonia (4.1% to 8.3%)

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EC calls for a medium-term loan to Latvia as part of coordinated financial assistance

The European Commission has agreed to propose to the Council to provide medium-term financial assistance to Latvia of up to € 3.1 billion. The proposed European Union loan is the biggest of the contributions put together with the Nordic countries and the IMF, among others, and which will total up to €7.5 billion. The financial assistance is conditional on a major economic adjustment programme already adopted by the Latvian government designed to limit and progressively correct the budgetary and other imbalances. Ultimately, it will put the Latvian economy on a sounder and more sustainable footing.

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EC adopts a Decision about the expenditures for purchase and modernisation of vessels and aircraft for surveillance of …

The Official Journal of the European Union has published on January, 8th, 2009, the Decision adopted by the Commission on December, 18th 2008, on a financial contribution from the Community for 2008 towards expenditure incurred by Greece, Spain and Italy for the purchase and modernisation of vessels and aircraft used for inspection and surveillance of fishing activities.

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“Three E's” on focus for the Czech Presidency

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra introduced the main priorities  and the work program of the Czech Presidency, in a ceremony held in Prague on January, 6th. Three key priorities will be in focus for this period, which will be identified by “the three E's”: Economy, Energy and Europe in the world. The motto is a ‘Europe without barriers’.

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The EDPS supports the Community Programme “Safer Internet”

The Official Journal of the European Union has publisehd on January, 7th, 2009, the favourable Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies.

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