The European Asylum Support Office opens its doors

The EASO, the European Asylum Support Office, is from now fully operational. The EASO is established with the aim of enhancing practical cooperation on asylum matters, and helping Member States fulfil their European and international obligations to give protection to people in need.

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The Internal Market Committee voted on better rules to protect consumers

On 16 June, the Internal Market Committee voted in a deal with the Council and the Commission on rules to protect consumers better and ensure clear common conditions for firms competing in the single market.

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Local and regional leaders want a more ambitious EU budget

In a meeting held in Brussels between the presidents of associations representing local and regional authorities, the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, local and regional leaders asked Barroso to put forward ambitious EU budget proposals in order to stimulate the economy. In addition, they called to consider their role in Europe 2020 strategy.

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Europeans share data online, but privacy concerns remain

A new Eurobarometer survey on attitudes towards data protection and electronic identity released by the European Commission shows that three out of four Europeans accept that revealing personal data is part of everyday life, but they are also worried about how companies, including search engines and social networks, use their information.

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Awarded prizes to the winners of the competitions on creative reuse of open data

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes awarded prizes to the winners of the Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions at the Digital Agenda Assembly. European public bodies produce thousands of datasets every year - from how our tax money is spent to the quality of the air we breathe. This data can be reused in products such as car navigation systems, weather forecasts, and travel information apps.

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The Commission welcomed the agreement on new rules to establish a more competitive rail market

The agreement reached by transport ministers on new EU rules setting out how competition on the rail market must work in practice has been welcomed by the Commission. According to the Commission Vice-President and responsible for transport Siim Kallas, the new rules will ensure that opportunities to compete exist not just in theory but in practice and passengers and companies will get more choice and better quality services.

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The European Commission opens a public consultation on how to strengthen mutual trust in the field of detention

Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner, presented a Green Paper asking ten questions on how to strengthen mutual trust in the field of detention. The Green Paper kicks off a public consultation that it has as main goal to seek views on detention in the EU's area of justice, in order to explore more closely the links between detention issues and mutual trust in such area.

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EP Budgets Committee asks that essential investment goes to support education and social inclusion

On its first formal response to the Commission's draft budget for 2012, EP Budgets Committee stated that essential investments must go ahead without delay to support education and social inclusion, reduce poverty and develop a knowledge-based society.

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A EU-funded research helps to improve communication in crisis situations

Thanks to a new EU-funded research, communication between rescue workers after a terrorist attack or a natural disaster could soon be made more efficient. Researchers constructed an Internet-based 'app' that can keep rescuers and their central control room in touch independently, opposed to relying on central wireless access points or the TETRA police radio system.

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On the International Year of Forest, Eurostat releases EU statistics on forests

According to Eurostat, forests cover around 40% of the EU27 land area and half the EU27 consumption of renewable energy comes from wood. In the European Union, three quarters of forest area was available for wood supply in 2010. Furthermore, renewable sources of energy provided 9% of total gross inland energy consumption in the EU in 2009.

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The top priorities for Petitions Committee are environment and citizens’ rights

The approved 2010 activity report highlighted that protecting the environment and standing up for citizens’ rights are the major goals of the EP Petitions Committee. MEPs also call for a dedicated web portal to be set up for petitions and for the committee to play a key role in dealing with citizens' initiatives.

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776,000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU Member State in 2009

EU27 Member States granted citizenship to 776,000 persons in 2009. One year before, it was granted to 699,000 persons. The new citizens came mainly from Africa, Asia and non-EU27 Europe. The main contribution to this increase came from the United Kingdom and was a consequence of the unusually low number of citizenships that, for purely administrative reasons, the United Kingdom granted in 2008.

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