The European Union steps support in Southern Mediterranean and launches a new regional programme

The European Commission has adopted a new regional programme that will aim to promote political and democratic support in the Southern Neighbourhood. In its first phase actions will be implemented in Morocco and Tunisia. It will target all levels of governmental bodies as well as other members of the structure of the state and of civil society.

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European Commission sets up the eHealth Network

According to the provisions of the Directive 2011/24/EU on Patients' Rights in Cross-border Healthcare, the European Commission has adopted a Decision establishing the eHealth Network. The Network will bring together the national authorities responsible for eHealth on a voluntary basis to work on common orientations for eHealth.

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Europeans still see the EU as the most effective actor against the crisis

According to Autumn 2011 Standard Eurobarometer, Europeans still consider the European Union as the most effective actor in giving solutions to the crisis. About 23% of European citizens see the EU more effective in tackling the effects of the crisis than national governments and international organizations. All this despite general confidence has fallen significantly.

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The Commission issues guidelines to ensure gender non-discrimination in insurance premiums

The European Commission has adopted a series of guidelines aimed to ensure that different premiums for men and women are not included in insurance policies. These guidelines are a response to the call from different stakeholders for practical guidance on the implications of a recent ruling from the European Court of Justice who declared these clauses contrary to EU law.

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European research finds new patterns to predict the spread of wildfires

A German-US team of scientists has demonstrated how threshold values for wildfires exist and could help to set standards in order to improve predictions about how and when these fires can change. These findings put forward by EU-funded project PATRES may also help to reconsider fire fighting strategies.

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Benchmarking study shows that output based funding for EU research grants could generate important benefits

In order to provide an answer for the call from stakeholders to substantially simplify the European research framework programme, the Directorate General Enterprise and Industry commissioned a benchmarking and impact assessment study. As a result some overall benefits have been identified in providing output based funding that could lead to better results and support the achievement of FP7 and FP8 policy objectives.

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The European Union takes one more step forward for the Millennium Development Goals Initiative

The European Commission has decided to grant additional aid for countries where less progress in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This additional aid granted by the European Union will target 36 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and will focus on reducing hunger, child mortality, improve maternal health and access to water.

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The Commission seeks to get quality, timely and efficient statistics

The proposal for the next European Statistical Programme 2013-17 presented by the European Commission intends to get quality, timely and efficient statistics. In order to achieve this goal, the Commission proposes a budget of €299.4 million and the implementation by the European Statistical System (Eurostat and national statistical institutes) of the multiannual programme.

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MEPs want to put out of the next phase of trading the Emissions Trading System (ETS)

The Environment Committee at the European Parliament voted in favour to take out of the next phase of trading the Emissions Trading System (ETS) credits in order to help lift the sinking carbon price. In addition, MEPs also voted on measures aiming to get the EU on track to meet its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.

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Go-ahead from the Parliament to the agreement with the Council on the single euro payments area

The Council has confirmed an agreement with the European Parliament on a draft regulation on technical requirements for credit transfers and direct debit transactions in euros. This agreement with the Parliament paves the way for adoption of the regulation in first reading.

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Research community is being consulted on the future members of the ERC Scientific Council

An independent Identification Committee is consulting the research community in Europe on potential candidates for membership of the ERC Scientific Council. Contributions to this consultation should be sent by the 30 March 2012.

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The Commission proposes simpler rules to the state aids granted by the EU

The European Commission adopted a revised package of EU state aid rules for the assessment of public compensation for services of general economic interest (SGEI). With this new package, the Commission intends to clarify key state aid principles and introduces a diversified and proportionate approach with simpler rules for SGEIs. The responsible for the Committee of the Regions considers that on the overall approach to public services, much work remains to be done.

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