The Single Market celebrates its 20th anniversary updating the Single Market Act

The European Union celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Single Market in 2012. The Commission highlights that the job is not finished even if the Single Market has helped create millions of jobs and make Europe increasingly competitive. Therefore, it has presented an update of the efforts aimed a delivering growth, social progress and competitiveness.

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The first joint customs operation along the EU Eastern border seizes one million smuggled cigarettes

The final results of the first operation targeting rail traffic along the EU Eastern border made by twenty-four Member States, Croatia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland ended with around 1.2 million cigarettes seized. The exchange of information was easier during the operation called "Operation Barrel", because of the setting up in OLAF's headquarters of an operational coordination centre with contact persons from the Member States, third countries and Europol.

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A Commission's report shows some success to dismantle trade barriers to six strategic economic partners

The European Commission's second on Trade and Investment Barriers Report, which describes the progress achieved in dismantling barriers to the markets of six strategic economic partners, recognises some success stories in the removal of certain trade barriers, but also underlines the overall persistence of barriers for European business to access key markets.

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Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou welcomed the major success of European films at the 84th Oscars ceremony

The European Commission welcomed the success of 'The Artist' and 'The Iron Lady', both European films, at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood celebrated on 26 of February. This year, nine nominated films received support from the European Union's MEDIA programme for cinema.

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The Council underlines the need for the Human Rights Council to maintain its focus freedom of expression

The Foreign Affairs Council meeting held on 27 of February adopted its conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN Human Rights Council. The EU reaffirms its strong support to the Human Rights Council and states its intention to present a resolution on the situation of human rights in Burma/Myanmar.

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The European Economic and Social Committee asks for public and private financing for infrastructure projects

The opinion adopted by the European Economic and Social Committee on the Connecting Europe Facility put forward the idea of creating an energy super-network underpinned by decentralised smart networks with regard to fill the missing links in European energy, telecom and transport infrastructure.

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JRC creates a permanent Forum to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the science needs of industry

In order to improve the European competitiveness, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has decided to create a permanent forum on science needs of industry. The initiative was launched following the roundtable "Scientific Support to European Industrial Competitiveness", organised by the JRC on 15 February.

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Agreement reached on regional representation and cooperation in the latest round of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue

The ninth meeting of the dialogue foreseen in UN General Assembly Resolution 64/298, with the facilitation of the EU, between Dr. Tahiri who led the Kosovo delegation and Mr. Stefanovic who led the Serbian delegation, ended with an agreement on Regional Cooperation and with the adoption of a technical protocol on the implementation of the IBM deal.

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A study shows the difficulties for switching bank accounts in the EU

A consumer market study found that 8 out of 10 mystery shoppers were not able to switch their bank account successfully. These results show that the self regulatory initiative based on common principles established by Banking Industry Committee, which was expected to bring clarity for consumers, is clearly not delivering the desired results.

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The Council wants to facilitate SMEs participation in the innovation process

The Competitiveness Council meeting held on 21 of February debated the plans for a new streamlined EU research and innovation funding programme, the proposed Horizon 2020. In addition to the necessary reduction of administrative burden for companies, Ministers highlighted the advantages of embedding social sciences and humanities into research projects so as to better address the major societal challenges facing Europe.

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Committee of Regions stressed the need for local and regional authorities to be more involved in sustainable development

At the 12th session of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum held in Nairobi (Kenya), Mercedes Bresso, president of the Committee of the Regions, highlighted the need for local and regional authorities to be more involved in environmental and sustainable development policy-making and programme implementation at global level.

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EU-funded project will study biomarkers to get breast cancer therapy more tailored

The EU-funded RESPONSIFY project will work on developing new biomarker tests that can indicate whether and how a treatment affects an individual patient, and make response prediction much easier. The main focus of the project will be on ascertaining whether certain types of treatment should be administered before or after surgery.

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