European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2011 winners have been announced

The Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded annually to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people. "Europe & Me", a UK on line lifestyle magazine for young Europeans, has been the winner first prize at the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2011. The second prize went to "Balkans Beyond Borders", a short-film project (Greece) and the third to the "Escena Erasmus Project" (Spain), a cultural exchange programme for Erasmus students. 

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The Financial Crisis Committee asked for more investment at EU level

It would improve investment returns and cut costs by generating economies of scale, shifting policy making and spending in cross-border areas such as energy and transport from national to EU level, according to MEPs. In addition, EMU and the single market need a stronger co-ordination of national tax policies.

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The Competitiveness Council meeting conclusions seek to strengthen the European SMEs

The review of the “Small Business Act” has been one of the topics discussed at the Competitiveness Council meeting held on 30 May. Among the conclusions, the Council stressed the importance of a simplified, lighter, clear and consistent regulatory and Council administrative environment where SMEs operate on the basis of smart regulation principles.

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Member States approved two measures to boost the EU sugar market

The European Commission measures proposed were voted by Member States. They aim at ensuring the fluidity of the EU sugar market in the coming months as a further response to this year's exceptional market circumstances. The two measures will now be formally adopted by the Commission in the next weeks.

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The Council supports European eGovernment action plan

The Council adopted conclusions on the European eGovernment action plan for the period 2011-2015 on 27 May. The conclusions recognise in particular the need for open, flexible and collaborative e-government services designed and produced for the benefit and around the needs of citizens and businesses. The aim of the action plan is to promote the take-up of eGovernment (electronic government) services at local, regional and EU level, in order to make them more accessible and available for citizens and businesses throughout the EU regardless of their country of origin.

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The EU brings together religious leaders to discuss democratic rights and liberties

EU leaders, José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament and Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council met in Brussels with Christian, Jewish, Muslim religions as well as from the Buddhist communities. They discussed effective ways of rights and liberties with a view to build a Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity between Europe and its neighbourhood.

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€5 billion could be gained by reviewing European rules on allocating slots for landing and takeoff at the EU's busiest …

According to a new study published by the European Commission, more than €5 billion in economic benefits could be gained by reviewing European rules on allocating slots for landing and takeoff at the European Union's busiest airports by 2025. Social benefits are also generated in the form of increased employment.

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The Ombudsman asks the Commission to clarify contamination levels in food

The Ombudsman’s action follows several complaints from citizens suggesting a lack of information concerning the changes made to the maximum levels. Therefore, he has asked the European Commission to provide citizen-friendly information about the maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination of foodstuffs in the EU before and after the Fukushima accident in Japan.

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The Energy Committee wants to prevent abuse and manipulation of the energy market with a new regulation

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, MEP responsible for the report adopted by the Energy Committee in the European Parliament, explained that the main aim of the draft regulation on energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT) is to prevent market abuse and manipulation in the wholesale energy market. The key changes to the proposed regulation is to get the maximum market transparency: minimum penalties and clearer rules.

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The EU Hungarian Presidency wants more boosting for SMEs

At the closing day of the conference, “Mobilising SME for the Future of Europe” on 25 May 2011, Zoltán Cséfalvay, Minister of State for Strategy of the Ministry of National Economy asked for more political support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, inaugurated a new network of Member States’ SME Envoys.

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Strengthening ties between the EU and Japan

The 20th EU-Japan Summit ends reaffirming the close partnership between the European Union and Japan as like-minded and major economies. Summit leaders are resolved to deepen bilateral relations from a comprehensive and long-term perspective, united by a shared commitment to fundamental values and principles, including democracy, the rule of law and human rights, as well as to the market-based economy and sustainable development, and faced with common global challenges.

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Regional Development Committee wants to keep the EU regional “cohesion” policy

The committee clearly rejects conditions that would require Member States to undertake fundamental social and economic reform and it stresses that all conditionalities should fully respect the principles of subsidiarity and partnership. Furthermore, MEPs believe that EU regional ("cohesion") policy spending along sector-specific lines, such as climate, energy or transport, would undermine the tried and tested principle of multi-level governance and jeopardise the regions' contribution to the achievement of EU 2020 objectives.

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