Adopted the European Directive to exempts micro-enterprises from accounting and financial reporting obligations

The Council adopted the new rules which relieves very small companies from red tape. The new provisions seek to reduce administrative bureaucracy for small companies. In addition, the Commission presented the report on administrative burden reduction and calls on Member States to learn from each other.

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EU Ministers commit to work on potential pathways for long term finance to fight climate change

Ministers at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting held on 21 February reached an agreement to continue to work together with other countries and relevant stakeholders, on potential pathways for long term finance that may contribute to reaching the long term committed goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion per year by 2020 by developed countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions. In addition, they adopted conclusions on the economic aspects of the roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe.

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The Council held a debate on the reform of public procurement policy

The main goal of the debate held by Ministers was to prepare the way to reach an agreement on the main principles of the reform at the Competitiveness Council in May, with the final purpose of getting the reform approved in co-legislation with the European Parliament before the end of 2012. The debate focused on the new general legal framework, more specifically in the degree of flexibility that should apply in the use of competitive procedures with negotiation and the rules for certain categories of services: social, cultural, health, etc.
 

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A key role of the local and regional authorities can help to integrate immigrants from outside the EU

The Committee of the Regions adopted an opinion in which highlight the key contribution of local authorities to the framing and implementation of integration policies. It also calls for a strategic partnership between the European Commission and European networks of cities and regions.

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The policy package agreed between the Greek government and the Eurogroup moves forward

The Eurogroup welcomed the approval the agreement reached with the Greek government on the police package and also for the approval of the package by the Greek parliament. According to the Eurogroup, the new programme provides a comprehensive blueprint for putting the public finances and the economy of Greece back on a sustainable footing and hence for safeguarding financial stability in Greece and in the euro area as a whole.

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The number of actions brought to the three judicial organs of the Court of Justice grew in 2011

The EU Court of Justice published its latests statistics concerning judicial activity. In 2011, it was reached a new record in the number of actions brought before and disposed of by the three judicial organs of the Court of Justice of the European Union. However increased efficiency and significant internal reforms have not completely absorbed the increase in caseload.

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The EU decided to launch negotiations on a free trade area with Armenia

The Commission announced the opening negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area with Armenia in order to boost economic growth and investment with this Eastern European Partner. The negotiations will not only tackle market access conditions but also focus on regulatory approximation, which will help to achieve a closer economic integration of Armenia with the EU.

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The Commission consults on the possibles changes to the European company law

The public consultation opened by the Commission is aimed at doing an in-depth reflection on how to adapt the European company law framework to the new landscape of the 21st century. On this way, the Commission collects inputs on the general orientation of European company law and on more specific initiatives that could be envisaged in the future

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The reforms needed in the different Member States should be socially balanced

The Council held a discussion based on the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) in which ministers pointed out that fiscal consolidation efforts should be accompanied by enhanced employment and social policies. In addition, the great majority of ministers expressed concerns about the sharp rise of youth unemployment and therefore, tackling youth unemployment is a top priority.

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Eurocontrol identifies in air navigation, a number of key safety areas to improve

The Safety Regulation Commission (SRC) from Eurocontrol has confirmed in its 2011 annual safety report that Europe has met its safety targets as set by ECAC for ATM-related accidents. However, Eurocontrol, has also informed on the lack of resources and qualified staff at national level dedicated to safety data collection and analysis, as one of the safety areas to improve.

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EU-funded project shows consumers how to reduce energy usage

The Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) project presented by the Commission shows that, when consumers receives more information about their energy use, and can share and compare this with neighbours and family, they is more likely to change their behaviour.

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The Court of Justice clears that a social network cannot be obliged to install a filtering system to protect copyrights

A Court of Justice judgment clears that the owner of an online social network cannot be obliged to install a general filtering system in order to prevent the unlawful use of musical and audio-visual work. Such an obligation would not be respecting the prohibition to impose on that provider a general obligation to monitor nor the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the protection of copyright and the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information.

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