Commission proposes to ban cutting off the fins of sharks during their fishing

The Commission has proposed that from now on, all vessels fishing in EU waters and all EU vessels fishing anywhere in the world will have to land sharks with the fins still attached. Shark finning is the practice of cutting off the fins of sharks – often while they are still alive - and then throwing back into the sea the shark without its fins.

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Natura 2000, the EU's network of protected areas, is expanded

Europe's protected natural areas have been expanded throughout the Natura 2000 network. In particular, nearly 18,800 square kilometres have been added, including a major addition of marine areas covering 17,000 square kilometres which will increase protection for many endangered marine species. The main countries involved in this latest expansion are the UK, France, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania and Italy.

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Commission presents nine EU directives to ensure better product safety

The European Commission published its proposals for nine industry sectors in order to ensure better product safety. The sectors concerned are electrical and electronic products, lifts, measuring instruments, civil explosives, pyrotechnic articles and equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

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The EU and the US improve their cooperation in disaster management

With the signature of an administrative agreement between the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the two partners commit to fostering cooperation in disaster risk reduction, resilience and response to disasters.

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12 concrete actions against antimicrobial resistance

The European Commission revealed its action plan against antimicrobial resistance which includes 12 concrete actions to be implemented in close cooperation with the Member States. The measure has been taken because about 25,000 patients dying per year in the EU from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria.

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Member States and Parliament reached an agreement on the 2012 budget

The European Parliament and the Council, meeting within the Conciliation Committee, reached an agreement on the EU budget for 2012 on 18 November. The final adoption is expected to be taken before the end of the 2011 year.

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€17 million in additional EU support to Member States following the E-coli crisis

The European Commission approved additional EU support for the promotion of fresh fruit and vegetables following the E-coli crisis on the internal market and third countries. The total budget for the 14 programmes approved, running for a period of three years, is €34.1 million of which the EU contributes €17.0 million (50%).

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The INCLUD-ED project final conference is focusing in social cohesion

The INCLUD-ED project final conference will present and discuss the successful actions, mainly in education which are contributing to overcoming social exclusion in Europe and promoting social cohesion. In addition, key messages will be provided at the conference in order to develop more efficient educational and social policies in Europe.

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Greece is moving to the fiscal consolidation but a profound structural reform need to be achieved

The first quarterly report of Commission's Task Force for Greece summit for approval to the Commission and the Greek Government focuses on finalising, with the Greek authorities, a comprehensive road-map of technical assistance. In a number of priority areas such as tax administration and administrative reform, the report shows how work is already moving into the implementation phase.

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MEPs ask to preserve the open and neutral character of internet

The European Parliament approved a resolution which defends to keep the internet open and neutral. MEPs agreed that EU telecoms rules must be enforced and called on the European Commission to monitor internet traffic management practices.

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EU Member States agreed on a draft law ensuring the right to information in criminal proceedings

EU Member State representatives reached an agreement on a draft law that will ensure defendants’ right to information in criminal proceedings wherever they are in the EU. Under the new law, suspects of a criminal offence will have to be informed of their rights in a language they understand. The proposed Directive will now pass to the European Parliament for adoption in the coming weeks, before final adoption by ministers meeting in the Council.

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Two Commission's reports confirms the low achievement in mathematics and science in Europe

The European Commission published two reports which recommends to policy-makers to do more in order to help schools tackle low achievement in mathematics and science. The reports conclude that although much has been achieved in updating mathematics and science curricula, support for the teachers responsible for implementing the changes is still lacking.

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