World Water Day, “Water for Cities – Responding to the Urban Challenge”

In a context in which cities are increasingly populated and need for water is growing exponentially, the World Water Day celebrated on 22 March, has been devoted in its 2011 edition to an adequate management of water in urban areas. Under the theme “Water for Cities – Responding to the Urban Challenge”, attention has been drawn to the need to ensure both water supply and adequate sanitation in all urban areas.

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Six finalists announced for the 2011 EU Prize for contemporary architecture Mies van der Rohe

The European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation have announced the six finalists competing for the 2011 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award. In this occasion, these six finalists have been shortlisted from 343 works in 33 European countries.

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How can eco-innovation tackle material security and resources efficiency

Key players in business, academia, finance, policy and green groups met together at the 10th Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) Forum on Eco-Innovation held on 22 March in Birmingham, where some business case studies on sustainable material management were presented. The event aimed to encourage innovation through cross-fertilisation between disciplines and sectors as well as identify and prioritise the key issues that need to be addressed by Government and EU action.

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Presidency to table a proposal on EP involvement on multi-annual financial framework by June 2011

In order to pave the way for next Presidency trio to focus on the content of the budget instead of the procedure, the Hungarian Presidency is aiming to reach an agreement with the European Parliament concerning its role in this process. Hungarian Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri, stated so at a European Economic and Social Committee’s public hearing held in Brussels on 21 March.

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Energy Council highlights the need to involve neighbouring third countries in the nuclear plants risk assessment

EU ministers in charge for energy met in Brussels on 22 March to held a debate over the recent developments in Japan and North Africa and their implications in global energy market and consequences over European energy supply. Briefed by the Commission over the last developments, ministers discussed the measures to be taken both at EU and national level. Regarding the debate around nuclear security, ministers pointed out that the global character of this issue would need for neighbouring countries to be involved in this risk assessment process.

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CoR highlights that Europe must also strongly root its energy shift within local economic and social fabric

The President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso, and the Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, called for stronger involvement of regions and cities for a sustainable Europe.Cities are home to 80% of the population in the EU and are responsible for 70% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

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One step closer to more competition on passenger railway operation in the Channel Tunnel

The European Railway Agency (ERA) issued on 21 March its Technical opinion regarding the safety related aspects of the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) conclusions on the operation of rolling stock in the tunnel. The European Commission has welcomed this technical opinion as it paves the way to introduce more competition in the Channel Tunnel, ensuring the highest level in safety standards.

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Member States do better in the objectives towards a real Single Market

Although all Member states are currently experiencing difficult situations due to the economic crisis, the new Internal Market Scoreboard shows that most Member States are effectively transposing internal market provisions into national law. According to the Scoreboard, most Member states are meeting the target set by Heads of State and Government about the amount  Internal Market Directives for which the implementation deadline has passed, which stands at 0.9%.

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EESC calls for a common external policy on energy to reduce EU dependency

The European Economic and Social Committee has suggested in its opinion on energy supply and neighbourhood policy, that the European Union should consider the security of its energy supply as one of the priorities of its external policy. In this opinion, the Committee came out in favour of appointing a high representative for energy policy to ensure that Europe speaks with one voice in this area.

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EU at the Paris Summit for support to Libyan People stands ready to implement UNSCR 1973

In view of the recent events which were taking place in Libya, following UN Security Council Resolution 1973 from 18 March, and give that Colonel Gaddafi's disregard of international community's claims, world leaders met in Paris on 19 March in a Summit in order to study the decide of further steps to take. Participants expressed that, while contributing in differentiated way to the implementation of UNSCR 1973, they are determined to act collectively and resolutely to give full effect to these decisions. Within this context, the European Union is ready to implement Resolution 1973 within its mandate and competences.

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Cross-border databank on population ageing becomes the first European Research Infrastructure Consortium

The European Commission has decided to set up a major multi-national research databank on population ageing, which will be the first ever research infrastructure project to enjoy the new legal status as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). This legal status will make such projects easier to set up and simpler to run. Commission's Decision setting up SHARE-ERIC Consortium has been published in the Official Journal of the EU on 18 March.

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EU ready to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya

On 17 March 2011, United Nations Security Council effectively authorized the use of force in Libya to protect civilians from attack, specifically in the eastern city of Benghazi. This decision has been particularly welcomed by all international community. The European Union, in a joint statement by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, has expresses fully endorsement of UN demands for a complete end to the violence.

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