EC releases data transmission rules for 2011 population and housing censuses data

The Official Journal of the European Union published on 9 December 2010, Regulation Nº 1151/2010 establishing some of the technical requirements for the implementation of the rules on population and housing censuses, as regards the modalities and structure of the quality reports and the technical format for data transmission. These rules aim at ensuring the correct and accurate transmission of data as well as interoperability of the technical formats between Member states.

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Spanish seismologists find patterns which help to predict quakes

Before an earthquake hits the Iberian Peninsula, specific patterns in seismic behaviour can be detected, Spanish researchers have found. Presented in the journal Expert Systems with Applications, the study could prove vital for researchers seeking to determine when an earthquake will strike. The team recognises, however, that the chances of forecasting an earthquake with 100% accuracy are slim.

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Ecofin Council reaches agreement on rules for combating tax fraud

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting on 7 December reached a political agreement on a draft directive aimed at strengthening administrative cooperation between the member states in the field of taxation, one of a number of savings taxation and tax governance measures aimed at preventing tax fraud. Given the greater taxpayer mobility and a growing volume of cross-border transactions, one key element of this draft Directive is to fulfil member states' growing need for mutual assistance and exchange of information in this field.

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What do employers value when hiring new graduates?

According to a new Eurobarometer on graduate employability it seems that employers, when it comes to graduate recruitment, value what is known as 'soft' skills just as much as sector-specific and computer skills. Teamwork, adaptability, communication and language skills are among the characteristics which are most valued by employers who also consider experience as a key asset for employability.

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Making a healthy choice of what you eat, EU agrees on rules for food labelling

The Council in charge of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer affairs (EPSCO) reached political agreement, at first reading, on a draft regulation on food information to consumers. This new piece of legislation is aimed to ensure that food labels carry essential information in a clear and legible way, enabling herewith consumers to make informed and balanced dietary choices.

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EU awards Lorenzo Natali Prize to Nicaraguan journalist Yader Luna

Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs awarded on 6 December the Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize 2010 to Yader Luna for his article "Palabra de Mujer" (Woman's Word). In this Award Ceremony held in Brussels Town Hall 17 journalists from all around the world were awarded Natali Prizes for their outstanding journalistic work covering issues of development, human rights and democracy.

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Institutions reach an agreement on citizens' initiative

European institutions meeting in the official trialogue for the citizens' initiative reached an agreement on the evening of 6 December about the formal requirements to be met by this new legislative instrument. This new procedure created by the Lisbon Treaty will allow EU citizens to formally request the Commission to legislate in one particular subject where it has the competence to do so.

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Council rejects 20 weeks maternity leave and considers targeted approach for equal treatment directive

Ministers held a busy session of debate in the first day of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, tackling some of the most awaited dossiers in the agenda. The Council agreed that Parliament's position on the extension of maternity leave to 20 weeks is not conceivable under present circumstances. Ministers also took note of progress made on the directive on equal treatment and adopted two sets of conclusions concerning gender. Further to these issues, ministers also exchanged views on employment policies in the Europe 2020 Strategy and held a policy debate on the future of the pensions systems and adopted conclusions on adequate and sustainable pensions.

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How could a Europe-wide phone number for businesses enhance internal market

As highlighted by the Digital Agenda for Europe, the existence of an EU wide telephone number  could help business to operate in all Member states, therefore contributing to consolidate the single market of the European Union, one of the priorities of the European Commission. In order to gather opinions from interested parties, the European Commission has launched a public consultation asking  businesses, consumers, telecoms operators and public authorities on the real benefits of such measure.

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Council stresses the role of digital technologies as drivers for Europe’s productivity and growth

Council conclusions on “Cross fertilization between Europe 2020 flagship initiatives Digital Agenda for Europe and Innovation Union” agreed by ministers at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council, underlined the key role played by flagship initiatives “Digital Agenda for Europe” and “Innovation Union” as integrated strategies crucial to support the transition of the EU economy towards an energy and resource efficient and competitive knowledge economy ensuring a high level of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

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Polanski's MEDIA funded film swept to victory at the European Film Awards

The European co-production directed by Roman Polanski, “The Ghost Writer”, was awarded with the prizes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Scriptwriter, Production Designer and Composer, at the European Film Awards in Tallin on 4 December 2010. It was one of 18 nominated films at the ceremony supported by the European Union's MEDIA cinema funding programme.

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Commission puts citizens at the heart of justice and social affairs policies

The European Commission has presented the First EU Citizenship Report to Justice Ministers, a report which proposes measures to make peoples’ lives easier when they exercise their EU rights to get married, buy a house or register a car in another EU country. The Commission, which adopted the Citizenship Report on 27 October, is taking concrete action to make it easier for the 12 million EU citizens who live outside of their home countries

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