New ERC Rules for submission of proposals and related procedures in 2011

The Official Journal of the European Union published in 11 December 2010, Decision C(2006) 1580 on the adoption of ERC Rules for the submission of proposals and the related evaluation, selection and award procedures for indirect actions under the Ideas Specific Programme of the Seventh Framework Programme. These amendments are based on the experience of the first ERC calls, EU legislative changes as well as observations requested by the ERC Scientific Council.

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Single EU patent system to move forward under enhanced cooperation

During a public session held at the Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space) Council, ministers exchanged views on the way forward for the future establishment of a single EU patent system and, in particular, the possibility to starting up an enhanced cooperation between several member states. Italian and Spanish delegations strongly opposed the idea of taking this path.

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EU backs Cancún Agreement on Climate Change

The European Union is satisfied, in general terms about the results of the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico. The Conference ended on 11 December with the adoption of a balanced package of decisions that set all governments more firmly on the path towards a low-emissions future and support enhanced action on climate change in the developing world. However, the EU point out how this two weeks Conference has shown once again how slow and difficult the process to build a comprehensive and legally binding framework for climate action is.

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EU Council adopts favourable position on new draft EU budget for 2011

The Council has adopted on 10 December its position on the new EU draft budget for the financial year 2011, approving the informal agreement reached between the Belgian Presidency and the European Parliament at the trilogue of 6 December and paving the way for the final adoption of next year's budget before the end of the year.

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Council extends state aid regime for coal mines until 2018

Ministers meeting within the Competitiveness Council held in Brussels on 10 December adopted a decision aimed at facilitating the transition of the specific state aid regime currently applying for the coal sector to the general state aid rules applicable to all sectors in the EU. This Decision will extend under certain conditions the possibility to grant aids to coal mines until December 2018.

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EU reaffirms commitment and support for Human Rights defenders and fight against discrimination

In the occasion of the celebration of the Human Rights Day, the European Union has reaffirmed its strong commitment to keep human rights at the centre of its external action. The European Union has underlined its strong commitment to do more to promote and defend human rights throughout the world. Support to human rights defenders is a key element of the EU’s human rights policy in its external action.

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EDA and EU ministers of Defence call for cooperation to develop European military capability

European Ministers of Defence meeting within the Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels on 9 December 2010 stressed the need to turn the financial crisis and its impact on national defence budgets into an opportunity. This same argument was also but forward at the European Defence Agency (EDA) steering board meeting, held in the margins of the Council, which immediately took the challenge and committed to pooling and sharing offers potential for savings, while increasing interoperable capacities.

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OJEU publishes the extension of the period for VAT minimum standard application until 2015

The Official Journal of the European Union published on 10 December 2010 Council Directive 2010/88/EU of 7 December 2010 amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax, with regard to the duration of the obligation to respect a minimum standard rate. According to this Directive minimum standard will maintained in 15% for the next five years.

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EU study shows the impact of alternative land uses in deforestation evolution

An increasing number of developing countries are outsourcing deforestation to help protect and restore their local forests, according to a new study. The research was funded in part by the REDD-ALERT 'Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation through alternative land uses in rainforests of the Tropics' project.

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EU gets ready for new challenges and revises humanitarian aid strategy

The European Commission has adopted the mid-term review that looks at the implementation of the 2007 Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, which sets out the EU's common vision, approach and driving principles in humanitarian action. Achievements to date are analysed, and further efforts are outlined, with the goal that the EU remains a world leader in the provision of effective humanitarian aid.

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EC proposes new measures to improve conditions in EU dairy sector

The European Commission has put forward on 9 December 2010 a proposal aimed to boost the position of the producers in the dairy supply chain and prepare the sector for a more market oriented and sustainable future. This proposal is a response to the the needs of this pressured sector and falls within the framework of the general challenges pointed out by the future Common Agricultural Policy after 2013.

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EC consults on the future of European market for mobile phone roaming services

The European Commission has launched a public consultation in order to seek the views of consumers, businesses, Telecom operators and public authorities and gather their ideas on the best ways to boost competition in roaming services, while protecting the interests of European consumers and businesses. The consultation runs until 11 February 2011 and will provide a basis for a review of the current Roaming Regulation which the European Commission has to carry out before the end of June 2011.

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