EC consults on policy in the field of credit rating agencies

Recent developments during the Euro debt crisis have highlighted the need for a revision on the regulatory framework of credit rating agencies (CRAs). Concerns have risen over the excessive trust put by financial institutions and institutional investors on external ratings instead of carrying an adequate risk assessment. For that purpose, the European Commission has launched a public consultation which will be open until 7 January 2011 in order to calibrate the scope and ambition of any possible future legislative initiative in the field of credit rating agencies.

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EU businesses cut R&D investments by 2.6% in 2009

EU companies cut their research and development (R&D) investments by 2.6% in 2009, the new Industrial R&D Investments Scoreboard reveals. It is the first time that business R&D investments have fallen in a number of years. It should be noted, however, that sales and profits fell by 10% and 21% respectively, and that R&D investment decisions for 2009 were taken in late 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. Under these circumstances, the fact that R&D investments fell so little demonstrates the importance of R&D to businesses.

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EU to ban phosphates in laundry detergents

The European Commission has presented on 4 November a proposal to ban the use of phosphates and to limit the content of other phosphorous containing compounds in laundry detergents. The draft Regulation, which does not affect detergents for automatic dishwashers or those used by professionals yet, aims to reduce the phosphates found in waste water and to improve water quality.

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EU grants 1.5 M€ to Bolivia for better water management and droughts

The European Commission has adopted on 4 November the decision to grant 1.5 million Euro in humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by droughts in the Bolivian Chaco. European aid will be focused on measures to fight against the consequences of droughts as well as to improve the communities' resilience to future events.

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EC to revise data protection legal framework in 2011

Strengthening the rights of citizens and protect their personal data while enhancing the single market dimension and facilitate the exchange of data between Member States are some of the goals set forth by the Commission in its data protection strategy presented on 4 November. The Commission intends to address the review of the current legislative framework and has launched a public consultation open until 15 January 2011.

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Industrial producer prices rose by 0.3% in Eurozone

According to the data released by Eurostat, in September the industrial producer price index rose by 0.3% in the euro area, compared to the previous month. In the European Union as a whole, this indicator shows a slightly smaller increase, with figures of 0,2% increase.

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The EU tests its defences in a massive ciber-attack security exercise

On 4 November 2010 EU security experts tried to counter simulated attempts by hackers to paralyse critical online services in several EU Member States. This security drill called "Cyber Europe 2010" will be followed by more complex scenarios ultimately going from European to global level.

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Brussels prepares the Fifth European Development Days

Between 6 and 7 October 2010 Heads of State and Government from Europe, Africa and rest of the world; high-level representatives of governments, international organisations as well as development practitioners, NGOs, media and civil society will be in Brussels for the Fifth European Development Days. Registration will be opened until 15 November.

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EC proposes new common security rules for management of nuclear waste

The European Commission has put forward on 3 November a proposal for Council Directive including safety standards for disposing spent fuel and radioactive waste from nuclear power plants as well as from medicine or research. With this Directive internationally agreed safety standards become legally binding and enforceable in the European Union.

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Research and Technology Organisations boost EU annual economic growth by 50 B€

European Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) contribute 50 billion Euro to the EU economy, according to a new study published on October 27. The report, put together by European research organisation the Technopolis Group, reveals that in addition to boosting economic growth, RTOs help tackle key challenges facing Europe, such as the need to develop innovative renewable energy supplies.

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EU and US reaffirm their commitment for commodity markets regulations

European Commissioner Michel Barnier for the Internal Market and Services met United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler, during his official visit to the United States. During this visit Commissioner Barnier also had the opportunity to meet some of the most relevant economic authorities in the country such as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Mr. Ben Bernanke, the US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, or the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Mr. Bill Dudley.

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Drop in the delivery quotas highlights the delicate situation of EU dairy market

According to preliminary data published by the European Commission, only three Member states have exceeded their milk quotas in the 2009/2010 quota year. For that reason the superlevy fines have dropped to 19 million Euro, comparing to 99 million in the previous campaign. This reduction is due in a great part to the increase in quotas agreed in 2008.

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