The Commission presents a new strategy to improve animal welfare

The strategy for 2012-2015 on animal welfare in the EU adopted by the European Commission is aimed at optimising policy coherence and market transparency in a comprehensive animal welfare legislative framework. John Dalli, EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner highlights that animal welfare measures need to be cost-effective and the new strategy will permit appropriate flexibility allowing operators to attain the necessary welfare standards by different routes.

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EBRD and EIB welcomed the Triple-A rating by the Standard and Poor's agency

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) welcomed the confirmation of its Triple-A rating by S&P. This agency backed the EIB and the EBRD performance and also expects the Banks' loan performance to remain good in 2012.

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The Danish presidency supports Commission's action regarding Hungary

The European Parliament held a debate on Hungary with the attendance of the Danish Minister for European Affairs Nicolai Wammen on behalf of the Council Presidency and the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán. Mr Wammen endorsed the Commission’s efforts to ensure Hungary’s compliance with EU law.

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The EESC endorsed the idea to set up a European Energy Community

EESC members backed the idea of creating a European Energy Community (EEC) in order to complete an EU-wide internal energy market and shaping a common, strategic approach to energy issues. In addition they underlined the importance of a joint approach to energy production, transmission and consumption.

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The group of microcredit providers under Progress Microfinance counts now with the first Spanish provider

The group of microcredit providers under Progress Microfinance counts now with the Instituto de Crédito y Finanzas Región de Murcia (ICREF) with a senior loan of up to €8 million which is expected generate, thanks to the leverage effect, up to €20 million in microloans. The European Progress Microfinance Fund does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals, but it works through microfinance providers, such as ICREF in Spain.

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Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy visits Morocco to meet with the new Government

Štefan Füle, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, is visiting Morocco on the 18th and 19th January in order to discuss issues such the progress of the reform process as well as a range of bilateral issues with the new Government headed by Abdelilah Benkirane.

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The annual inflation was down to 2.7% in the Euro area and to 3.0% in the EU

According to the data released by Eurostat, in December 2011 the Euro area inflation and the EU annual inflation were down in comparison with November. Monthly inflation was 0.3% in December 2011 for both, the Euro area and the EU

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Legal action against Hungary started by the European Commission

Following several exchanges with the Hungarian authorities on the drafts of the new legislation, the European Commission launched accelerated infringement proceedings against Hungary regarding he independence of its central bank and data protection authorities as well as over measures affecting the judiciary. Therefore, the Commission initiated the first stage in the EU's infringement procedure against Hungary.

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Commission consults on corporate restructuring

The public consultation launched by the European Commission intends to identify successful practices and policies in the field of restructuring and adapting to change. The aim is to include the results into the upcoming employment package and to improve further cooperation between workers and employers' representatives, government, local and regional authorities and the EU institutions.

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Martin Schulz, new President of the European Parliament

The European Parliament has chosen Martin Schulz (S&D, Germany) as its new President. MEPs elected Martin Schulz with 387 votes in favour out of 670 cast, thus, with absolute majority. He replaces the outgoing President Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland). 

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The Commission launches a tourism initiative to facilitate SMEs’ digital integration

The P.ICT.URISM (Platform for ICT in Tourism), that will run for 30 months, is expected to ease connectivity and encourage collaboration between small hospitality, tourism and leisure service providers and larger travel agents, tour operators and distributors. It will be carried out by a consortium and will be based on strong participation and representation of the tourism industry.

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Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid evaluates Commission's response to the Sahel food crisis

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, is in Niger in order to evaluate humanitarian needs and the European Commission's current response to the crisis in Africa's Sahel region as well as identifying the potential needs for further assistance.

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