Parliament defends the current architecture of EU structural funds

The European Parliament approved four non-legislative resolutions on regional development which ask the EU's cohesion policy budget for 2014-2020 should at least equal the current one. The vote on the consolidated report on strategy for cohesion policy post-2013 has been postponed to the next plenary session in July.

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The European Parliament postpones the vote on Economic governance package

The EP plenary adopted some amendments on the economic governance six-pack. With these measures added to the original Commission proposal, the EP intends to get more transparency, stronger automatic warnings and sanctions as well as new fines are all part of Parliament's position, although left-of-centre groups argued that this represents too much austerity. Negotiations with the Council will continue with the aim of settling everything by July.

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The Council and the European Parliament have reached an agreement to strengthen the operational capacities of Frontex in a …

The Council and the European Parliament have reached a political agreement on the draft regulation amending the regulation concerning the European Agency for the management of operational cooperation at the external borders of the EU (Frontex). The revised rules include strengthened provisions for the protection of fundamental rights and having "European Border Guard Teams" as the common name for teams deployed during Frontex operations.

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According to a European project, using biomass helps to create jobs in rural areas

A EU-funded research in the framework of the International Year of Forests, the LEDDRA project, points out that using the biomass of abandoned areas and farms that respect the conservation of resources helps provide and maintain work and income for people living in these areas. The research focuses in fighting against desertification in dry forests and agricultural lands that dot the Mediterranean region and China.

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Public administrations play a key role in order to encourage people to consume fresh products

According to some European projects, governmental trust would help to encourage people to continue eating fresh products. This conclusion was revealed among others at the recent Nutrevent conference held in France, where A variety of innovative approaches concerning the food were presented. Other project presented there found that people are highly concerned about the recent outbreak of the deadly enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) bacteria. In addition, the experts who met at the conference noted that nutritionists must pay particular attention to functional food innovations with natural compounds to help meet the growing concerns consumers have over healthy food.

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Commission proposal includes a requirement for all countries to establish energy-saving plans

The project for a Directive on energy efficiency proposed by the European Commission on 22 June presents re measures which would boost energy saving and help EU reach 2020 goal of 20% reduction.

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New register for lobbyists launched by the Parliament and the Commission

The joint transparency register for lobbyists and other interest groups is launched on 23 June. The main advantage of this joint register is providing one source of information for citizens and lobbyist will have to register once.

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Updating the Professional Qualifications Directive is one of the priorities for European Commission

The Green Paper presented by the European Commission aims to gather stakeholders’ views on the modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC). In the light of the results published in the paper, the Commission has decided to update the Directive with the possible ways forward that build on past achievements while developing new approaches to enhance mobility.

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Commissioner Hahn highlights the "intermediate" regions are necessary for the cohesion policy

Commissioner on Regional Policy Johannes Hahn stated in a discussion held on 21 June in the Regional Development Committee that “intermediate” regions, i.e. regions with a GDP of 75% to 90% of the EU average are on an equal footing. Mr Hahn also presented the legislative package on cohesion policy for 2014-2020.

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There is still much to do for good economic governance according to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in the European Parliament believes that the latest proposals from EU finance ministers for the EU economic governance package are insufficient. Committee chair Sharon Bowles stated that the Committee leaves the door opened for a farther vote in July, so the Council can come back with an improved offer.

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Wrocław (Poland) has been recommended as European Capital of Culture in 2016

An independent selection panel has recommended the Polish city of Wrocław for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2016. Poland and Spain are the two Member States hosting a European Capital of Culture the mentioned year. The formal nomination by the EU's Council of Ministers will take place in May 2012.

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Social networking sites do not have a clear access for minors to privacy information

The European Commission presented a report in which 14 social networking sites have been tested. The main goal is to evaluate whether they do give minors age-appropriate safety information, respond to requests for help and prevent minors' profiles from being searched via external search engines. According to the report, only two social networking sites (Bebo and MySpace) protect privacy of minors' profiles by default.

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