EP backs Erika III Package on maritime safety regulation

The "Erika III" package, aimed at protecting Europe's coasts from maritime disasters and improving passenger and crew safety, was adopted by the European Parliament on March 11th 2009. The eight regulations and directives will tighten safety requirements for ships flying an EU Member State flag or navigating in European waters and thus help prevent disasters such as the Erika and Prestige shipwrecks from spoiling European coasts.

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Airlines will be allowed to reduce activity without loosing their slots rights

The European Commission adopted on March 10th 2009, a proposal for an amendment to the 'slots' Regulation which it is submitting to the European Parliament and the Council for urgent adoption. This temporary measure aiming at reducing the effects of economic crisis over the air transport sector, would allow airlines to keep their rights over slots while reducing their activity to meet the current loss of passengers.

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ECOFIN Ministers agree in reduced VAT rates for certain sectors

The Council of Economics and Finance Ministers, ECOFIN, met in Brussels between March 9th and 10th 2009. During this meeting, which was focused on discussions over the economic situation and outlook in the euro area, in light of the recent economic and financial developments, the Council reached a political agreement on the use of reduced rates of value-added tax (VAT) in certain sectors. Council also endorsed terms of reference for the EU's participation in the meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors on March 14th that will prepare the April London G-20 summit.

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