ECON Committee favourable to German experts proposal for a debt redemption fund

MEPs members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee welcomed the proposal put forward by the German Council of economic experts in order to set up a debt redemption fund that would help EU Member states affected by high debts. This proposal is also expected to be on the agenda for the European Council to be held on 9th December.

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Proposal for the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 unveiled

The European Commission has put forward its proposal for the new European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 that will run over the period 2014-2020. The programme, which proposes a series of initiatives to boost investment in research and innovation, will represent an investment of 80 billion Euro. Facilitating access to finance, encouraging the participation of SMEs and reducing administrative burdens are some of the objectives set by Commission's proposal.

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Commission proposes new measures to strengthen and streamline the audit market

The European Commission proposal contains a series of measures aimed to ensure the independence of auditors of public-interest entities, such as banks, insurance companies or large listed companies. They are focused on strengthening audit market which was seriously affected after the publication of 'clean' reports despite sustained deficiencies in the accounts of certain companies.

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Commission clears acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland assets by Banco Santander

The decision taken by the European Commission will allow to complete the operation by which the Spanish Banco Santander will acquire a series of retail and commercial banking assets of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in the United Kingdom. After analysing the proposal for acquisition, the Commission concluded that such operation would not damage competition within the European Economic Area.

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The Commission intends to ensure that EU consumers can solve their problems without going to court

The package of legislative proposals presented by the Commission is intended to ensure that all EU consumers can solve their problems without going to court, regardless of the kind of product or service that the contractual dispute is about and regardless of where they bought it in the European single market.

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The Culture Ministers agree that cultural and creative competences are a basis for creativity and innovation

The Council has invited Member States to raise awareness on the importance of culture and recognition of relevant actions and disseminate best practice among policy makers, cultural and educational entities, enterprises and non-governmental organisations at national, regional and local level on the role that development of cultural and creative competences can have.

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More than a third of European citizens currently working are concerned about losing their jobs

According to a new survey released, the proportion of European citizens who worries of losing their jobs have increased slightly since 2009. Furthermore, according to the social survey, a large majority of respondents feeling that the EU as a whole has taken a backward step in recent times.

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The protection of children in the digital world is a priority for the Council

The Council invites Member States to continue the work on the protection of minors by promoting widespread use of awareness-raising campaigns even when Member States have differing approaches to protecting minors. The Council also encourages providers of on line media content to take full account of the protection of minors in the design of their services and to develop and adhere to relevant codes of conduct.

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The EU signs an agreement with the Central African Republic to prevent illegal wood imports

The EU signed a milestone agreement with the Central African Republicto prevent illegal wood imports to EU from this country. By 2014, therefore, all shipments of wood products to the European Union from the Central African Republic will be required to carry a licence certifying their legal origin.

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The new European agenda for adult learning, adopted by the Council

Education ministers adopted a resolution for a renewed European agenda for adult learning. In addition, the Council also adopted conclusions on language competences to enhance mobility, the modernisation of higher education, and a benchmark for learning mobility. Moreover, Ministers  took note of information from the Danish delegation on the Presidency's priorities for the coming semester, in particular, the examination of the "Erasmus for all" proposal, benchmark for employability, and entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Member States should increase efforts to achieve the Europe 2020 objectives regarding higher education

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting has ended with an agreement to foster the efforts to increase higher education attainment levels to achieve the Europe 2020 education headline target of 40% of 30-34 year olds in the EU having completed tertiary or equivalent education. In addition, it should be Member States' priority developing clear progression routes into higher education from vocational and other types of education, as well as mechanisms for recognising prior learning and experience gained outside formal education and training.

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European scientists discovers a dual role for a molecule which may have significant implications for the treatment of …

Researchers from Belgium and Germany have published new data on how vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is instrumental in regulating skin cancer stem cells. The findings reveal a dual role for this molecule in the promotion of skin cancer stem cell growth and tumour progression, which may have significant implications for the prevention and treatment of various skin cancers.

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