€3,200 millions proposed to the new LIFE programme

The European Commission presented a new Programme for the Environment and Climate Action – LIFE, in which it proposes to modify the existing LIFE+ Programme to have a greater impact, be simpler and more flexible throughout a significantly increased budget. Among the proposals, it would be the creation of a new sub-programme for Climate Action.

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The European Commission presents its Open Data Strategy for Europe

The Commission has launched an Open Data Strategy for Europe in which it is proposed to Europe’s public administrations to open their data to re-use them and to this aim, the Commission will lead by example, opening its vaults of information to the public for free through a new data portal. In addition, a level playing field for open data across the EU will be established and the new measures will be backed by the €100 million which will be granted in 2011-2013 to fund research into improved data-handling technologies.

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The Commission published the list of denaturants that could potentially be used to alcohol

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission has made public the list of denaturants that could be used to make alcohol unfit for human consumption following the addition of another element to it. With this harmonisation, the Commission seeks to mitigate both fraud and tax evasion practices related to alcoholic beverages.

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Member States taking part in the Euro Plus Pact should improve the monitoring of employment and social policies

The latest meeting of the Council concluded that the new economic governance must be supplemented by an improved monitoring of employment and social policies, particularly those which can have an impact on macro-economic stability and economic growth. In addition, the Heads of State or Government held an initial exchange of views on best practices as regards their employment policies and agreed on the particular need to fully mobilise labour for growth.

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Commission proposes measures to tackle noise of all type of vehicles

The European Commission has put forward a proposal in order to reduce noise produced by cars, vans, buses, coaches, light and heavy trucks. These measures, which are expected to reduce vehicle nuisance by 25%, will be put in place in two steps, two and three years once the text approved by the European Parliament and the Council is published.

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EU Monitoring Centre for Drugs presents new practical guide for prevention professionals

This guide is the culmination of a two-year project to assess existing guidance in drug prevention and to meet the need for a commonly agreed European framework to improve it in the European Union. Over 400 international, European and national experts and stakeholders contributed to developing the standards via a dynamic process involving focus groups, consultations and studies.

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Croatia signs the Treaty of Accession to become the 28th EU Member State

On December 9th 2011, the President of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, and the Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor signed the Treaty of Accession that will allow the country to become the 28th Member State of the European Union. This accession completes the sixth phase of enlargements in the Union.

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The Lorenzo Natali Prize celebrates twenty years recognising journalistic work

The Lorenzo Natali 2011 Prize has recognized the work of 17 journalists from around the world who have excelled in the coverage of development issues, human rights and democracy. The Lorenzo Natali Prize is part of the development policy of the European Commission.

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23 Member States agree within the Council for an intergovernmental treaty to move forward for a new fiscal compact

At the end of the first working session of the European Council, European Heads of State or Government agreed on the necessity for urgent measures to be taken in the short term in order to overcome current economic difficulties. On the longer term and in the absence of unanimity, 23 Member states agreed on a new fiscal compact that would take the legal form of an intergovernmental treaty.

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Commission proposes measures for better coordination and response to cross-border health threats

These measures intend to achieve a better coordination between Member states and the European Union in cases where biological, chemical or environmental health factors can trigger serious cross-border health threats. According to the proposal, the Commission would be empowered in very special cases to adopt emergency cross-border measures such as infected citizens screening.

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The European Commission lays the foundations for European market of social investment funds

The Regulation put forward by the European Commission aims to stimulate the financing of social business, i.e. companies whose corporate objectives go beyond maximising profits and also have the achievement of positive social impact within their core business. The measures to be put in place aim to increase the transparency of the information received by investors in order to stimulate funding to these type of projects.

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MEPs call in Durban for a binding global agreement on climate change by 2015

The European Parliament delegation to the United Nations summit on climate change held in Durban, stressed that the constant blame game between the United States and China regarding climate change, is hindering the process to reach a global agreement. MEPs claimed in this Summit for the urgent setting of a roadmap that will lead to the signature of a binding global agreement.

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