The Committee of the Regions asks for the sustainable urban development promotion

Mercedes Bresso, the President of the Committee of the Regions, asked to the European Commission for the possibility to implement integrated actions for a sustainable urban development. She also stressed the need of more flexibility, simplification and an 'Urban-Lab' in order to achieve such goal.

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The Commission publishes an updated edition of the EU funding opportunities' overview for SMEs

The European Commission published a new edition of the overview of the main funding opportunities available to European SMEs. The funding is available in different forms such as grants, loans and, in some cases, guarantees. The guide aims to present the European programmes available to SMEs and contains brief information as well as the main web sites for each programme.

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The interim economic forecast predicts an euro area in mild recession

The European Commission published its forecast in which it foresees a continuation of the unexpected stalling of the recovery in late 2011 into the first two quarters of 2012. In addition, the inflation forecast for 2012 has been revised slightly upwards compared with the autumn, due to persistently high energy prices and increases in indirect taxes. 

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A report shows that twelve Member States exceeded one or more of the emission limits in 2010

The European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report in which shows that twelve Member States exceeded one or more of the emission limits set by the EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive, and in some cases, the limits were exceeded by significant amounts.

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€495 million of Cohesion Fund could be the commitments suspended to Hungary for failure to address excessive deficit

The European Commission announced the proposal to suspend the 29% of the Hungary's cohesion fund allocations for 2013 for not addressing excessive deficit. Hungary had not taken effective action to bring its deficit to below the target of 3% of GDP by 2011 in a sustainable and credible manner. According to the Commission, this is unprecedented step which follows the repeated warnings to Hungary urging it to step up its efforts to end the country's excessive government deficit.

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Commission Action team works in Spain on unemployment

The European Commission Action team is going to Spain, where unemployment is affecting almost 50% of young people, to develop targeted plans together with national experts to be included in the National Reform Programmes which will be submitted to the European Commission (mid-April) as part of the European Semester of EU economic governance.

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Opened the candidatures to the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards 2012

The annual Sustainable Energy Europe Awards that reward best-in-class initiatives to promote renewable energy or energy efficiency, is still opened to entries. The Awards Ceremony is one highlight of EU Sustainable Energy Week that will take place in Brussels and across Europe between 18 and 22 June 2012.

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General approach reached by the Council on two draft regulations for strengthening economic governance

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting ended with an agreement to further improving economic governance in the euro area. In addition, the Council adopted a regulation harmonising rules for short selling ad credit default swaps and the conclusions providing guidance to the Member States for tackling macroeconomic and fiscal challenges.

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The EU and Somalia renewed cooperation commitment

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, announced that the EU stands ready to provide additional support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The new commitment will contribute to the proposed increase in troop strength active in AMISOM. EU aid covers costs such as troop allowances, medical care, housing, fuel, and communication equipment.

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European Investment Bank funding for SMEs reached a record level in 2011

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced that in 2011 provided €13 billion of finance for SMEs, reaching a record. Overall more than 120,000 SMEs received EIB Group support across Europe last year. In addition, the EIB signed €61 billion of new loans in almost 70 countries.

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Announced the winners of the Entrepreneurship Awards for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

The winners of the EIT Entrepreneurship Awards are three start-ups in three different categories. Naked Eergy (United Kingdom) for the Climate-KIC category, Trifense (Germany) for the EIT ICT LABS category, and Noem (Spain) for the KIC InnoEnergy category. The awards were announced in a ceremony held in Brussels on the 21 of February.

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The European Commission announces the 2012 e-Inclusion Awards

e-Inclusion Awards 2012 are now open for entries. This year’s the awards are intended for individuals as well as organisations, business and civil society sectors, working at the local level, rewarding those championing the way forward and exploiting the potential of technology in dealing with today’s challenges.

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