European researchers unveil secrets of colour in art masterpieces

Vincent van Gogh's art is duller than what it used to be but no one has ever been able to figure out why - until now. An international research team has discovered that sunlight is potentially responsible for triggering a chemical reaction in the yellow chrome paint used by the Dutch post-Impressionist Master painter, turning it into a dull brown colour. The findings are presented in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

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Europe's Small Business Act passes review and brings up new challenges for growth and innovation

Between 2008 and 2010, the European Commission and EU Member States have implemented actions set out in Europe's Small Business Act (SBA) to alleviate administrative burden, facilitate SMEs’ access to finance and support their access to new markets. Although most initiatives foreseen by the SBA have been initiated, a review of implementation so far reveals that more must be done to help SMEs.

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EU strengthens bonds with Russia

On 24 February, President José Manuel Barroso and the European Commission will host a conference with Russian Government led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. These executive-to-executive talks will cover the full range of EU-Russia relations, from support to Russia's modernization process to trade and energy matters, from deeper technological cooperation to international affairs.

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A house or a flat, Where do Europeans live?

According to the last data released by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat), housing conditions differ considerably between Member States. These differences can be seen both in the type of housing in which people live, either a flat or a detached house, as well as in the housing problems they encounter in terms of accessibility, overcrowding, or available facilities.

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EU research application helps language teaching in primary schools

One of the most significant priority areas of the EU is language learning. The European Commission and its officials have set their sights on enabling EU citizens to communicate in at least two foreign languages, to provide migrants with opportunities to learn the language of their host country, and to promote language teaching. Contributing to the success of this effort is LINGUASIGN, a new animated resource that supports the teaching of foreign languages in primary schools.

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“It is to Egypt to determine its future”, High Representative Ashton in her visit to Egypt

These have been the quite clear words stated by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, following the first part of her visit to Egypt. This first part of the visit, has been the occasion for High Representative Ashton to meet Egypt Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, as well as with Secretary General of Arab League Amre Moussa.

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Despite some country imbalances more EU citizens benefit from online public services

According to Europe's 9th e-Government Benchmark Report released by the European Commission, more people across the EU now have access to public services online. The average availability of online public services in the EU went up from 69% to 82% from 2009 to 2010, helping to cut costs for public administrations and also reducing red tape for businesses and citizens. However, although Europe's national public administrations are moving in the right direction, the report shows that there is still disparity between countries as well as room for improvement in take up of eProcurement.

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EIB lending figures in 2010 gradually return to pre-crisis levels with record funding in climate action

According to the last results released by the European Investment Bank (EIB), in 2010 the total lending provided by the bank reached 72 billion euro, from which 63 billion euro were spent inside the EU and 9 billion euro in projects outside. This funds were allocated to support over 460 large-scale projects, which marks a gradual return to pre-crisis levels as the Bank adapts its activity to the economic environment.

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Commission issues a strategy to improve governance of the Single Market by expanding IMI

In order to help citizens and businesses to fully benefit from the opportunities offered by the Single Market, the European Commission published on 21 February a strategy to improve governance of the single market. To achieve this general objective, the strategy provides for the expansion of the Internal Market Information (IMI) system to other areas of EU law such as, potentially, gambling and e-commerce will help to achieve this.

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EU Council analyses situation in the Southern Neighbourhood and condemns violence in Libya

EU Foreign Affairs ministers meeting in Brussels on 21 February in a Council meeting chaired by High Representative Catherine Ashton, took an in-depth discussion on the situation in the EU's Southern neighbourhood and expressed its support for the legitimate hopes and aspirations for democratic change, social justice and economic development of peoples of the South Mediterranean. In particular, the Council condemned the ongoing repression against demonstrators in Libya and deplored the violence and the death of civilians.

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EU funds project to create a single biodiversity research community in Europe

Species are disappearing at an alarming rate, threatening nature's ability to provide human beings with essential goods and services like clean air and water, food, fuel, materials, climate regulation and flood prevention, to name just a few. In order to tackle such issues, EU-funded project BIODIVERSA is working to create a single biodiversity research community in Europe.

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Social security issues at the top of cases addressed to Your Europe Advice and SOLVIT

According to the last data released by the European Commission regarding the functioning of the services Your Europe Advice and SOLVIT, social security stand as the issues which European citizens and business are most concerned and have requested information about to both services. In 2010 Your Europe Advice reached an all-time high of 12.000 questions, and SOLVIT helped 1.363 citizens and businesses in their difficulties regarding the implementation of Single Market rights.

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