The Commission starts the procedure to break down the extra funding for ITER

ITER, the world's biggest energy research project, has got an extra €1.3 billion funding for 2012 and 2013 following the agreement reached between the Council and Parliament. Thus, the Commission adopted a draft amending budget to meet the €650 million this year's contribution to the ITER project.

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eSkills Week Project Passion competition is now launched

The European Commission has launched the Project Passion competition which is aimed to inspire young people to create exciting communications on a theme that is top of mind amongst all young graduates in Europe – how to win a job. The competition is part of the European eSkills Week 2012, and contributions can be made until 4 March.

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The transfer of multinational companies workers from outside the EU to the EU should be easier

The Civil Liberties Committee approved a draft law which aims at making easier the transfer of non-EU skilled employees working for multinational companies from a branch outside the EU to a division or subsidiary within the EU. MEPs amended the draft law to make also easier to move transferred workers between EU Member States.

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The farm and fisheries deal with Morocco gets the green light from International Trade Committee

MEPs at International Trade Committee (INTA) approved the proposed EU-Morocco trade liberalisation agreement for farm and fishery products. The Committee voted against the original recommendation, drafted by José Bové, which called on Parliament to withhold its consent to the agreement. If approved by Parliament as a whole, the proposed agreement would immediately liberalise 45% of EU exports and also immediately liberalise 55% of EU imports from Morocco.

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The Commission asks to six countries to implement EU rules on mergers and divisions

Five Member States have not yet implemented the Directive regarding simplified reporting and documentation requirements in case of mergers and divisions. Also the Commission asks to United Kingdom to implement those parts of the Directive it has so far failed to. If the Commission does not receive a satisfactory reply within two months, it may refer the matter to the Court of Justice.

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13 Member States have not yet implemented ban on laying hen cages

The European Commission asked to 13 Member States to ake action to address deficiencies in the implementation of EU legislation concerning the welfare of animals. In particular, the letter of formal notice sent by the Commission, urges to implement ban on laying hen cages.

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The Commission presents the website to register the European Citizens' Initiatives

Although a European Citizen' Initiative (ECI) cannot be submitted before the 1 of April 2012, when the Regulation setting out the procedures enters into force, the European Commission has already presented the website where citizens can officially register a ECI. The presentation was held during a conference celebrated in Brussels which brought together key players involved in using the ECI.

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Cloud Computing will change European economy, according to Commissioner Kroes

The Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, highlighted in a speech given at the World economic forum in Davos, that the EU needs to act to support speedy uptake of Cloud Computing in Europe. She also insisted that is key to act through joint public procurement across borders, especially bearing in mind that public IT procurement is large but fragmented.

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€194 billion spent on defence by 26 Member States in 2010

The 26 participating Member States spent a total of €194 billion on defence in 2010, according to the European Defence Agency. The same year, the US defence expenditure was the equivalent of €520 billion (or $689 billion). In addition, while the EU aggregated defence expenditure decreased, US expenditure increased.

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EU-funded scientists identified the gene that transfers nutrients from plants to seeds

A EU-funded research has identified the so-called 'nourishing gene', which in charge of transferring nutrients from plants to seeds. This new discovery could help increase global food production while it also has implications for food security.

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Commission strengthens the authorisation process of lines and trains equipped with the European Train Control System

The decision adopted by the European Commission strengthens the certification and authorisation process of lines and trains equipped with the European Train Control System (ETCS). In particular, the decision strengthens the requirements regarding testing, in particular that on-board products are tested in accredited laboratories.

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The Commission proposes to reform EU's data protection rules

The European Commission proposes to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy throughout a reform of the EU's 1995 data protection rules. According to the Commission, the initiative will help reinforce consumer confidence in online services, providing a much needed boost to growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

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