MEPs reach an agreement with the Council Presidency on EU unitary patent plans

The Legal Affairs Committee and Council Presidency negotiators reached an agreement on plans for an EU unitary patent to cut costs for firms and boost the EU's competitiveness. The deal still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole and by the Council.

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Public consultations should be published in all EU languages

According to the European Ombudsman, the Commission should publish public consultations in all languages. This follows a complaint from a Spanish lawyer, criticising the fact that many public consultation documents are only available in English or in a few EU languages. The ombudsman also affirms that citizens cannot participate in a consultation if they do not understand it.

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World AIDS Day: The EU plays a decisive role by strengthening its leadership in the response to this disease

On the World AIDS Day, the European Union and its Member States released a statement in which joins with people across the world in memory of the relatives, friends and beloved ones who have lost their lives to AIDS and reaffirms its commitment to support all those who live with HIV and all those who are affected by the epidemic. In addition, they reiterates the EU commitment to work towards the 2015 targets of having 15 million people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment.

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The Council approved the EU's general budget for 2012

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting approved the EU's budget for next year. In addition, Financial Ministers also adopted a decision on the economic policy conditions enabling the disbursement of a fourth instalment of financial assistance to Ireland.

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Commission proposes funding of €2.5 billions to help SMEs and to boost business competitiveness

The core issues of the new financial support programme for the period 2014-2020 was presented by the Commission. Among them, promote access to finance and encouraging an entrepreneurial culture, including the creation of new enterprises.

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A EU-funded project will test the smart grids in electricity distribution systems

The EU-fund EcoGrid project will run a pilot real-time market place for distributed energy resources on the Danish island of Bornholm by asking 2,000 electricity customers to reduce their power consumption when the wind is either too weak or too strong for the wind turbines on the island to work. The project seeks to reduce the consumers electricity grid.

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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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