The Commission adopted a strategy to promote the tastes of Europe

Throughout the promotion and information measures for European agricultural products, the European Commission intends to make the agriculture and agri‑food sector more dynamic and more competitive and to promote sustainable, intelligent and inclusive growth.

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The Eurogroup announced that the current overall ceiling for ESM/EFSF lending will be raised to €700 billion

The Eurogroup decided among other things, to make the paid-in capital of the ESM available more quickly than initially foreseen in the ESM Treaty, in respect of national procedures. In addition, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will be the main instrument to finance new programmes as from July 2012. The EFSF will only remain active in financing programmes that have started before that date.

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The European Citizens' Initiative starts to be operative from April 2012

The new regulation which establishes the functionalities of the European Citizens' Initiative takes effect on 1 of April. From this date, citizens will be empowered to work together across borders to gather at least one million signatures in support of an idea that will be able to ask the European Commission to propose legislation to enact it.

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The regions call on the Council to fast track the talks on the new territorial cooperation regulation

The Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament call on the Council to start talks on the Commission's proposal for a revised regulation for European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation. According to the CoR's President, Mercedes Bresso, by correcting a set of restrictive and confusing provision on the current legislation, the law will be at the service of the territorial development.

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EESC members backed a common framework for solving disputes resulting from buying abroad

The European Economic and Social Committee approved in plenary session several opinions regarding EU consumer rights. The opinions concerned alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution for consumer disputes. According to the EESC, thanks to these opinions, the EU will establish a common framework for solving disputes resulting from buying abroad.

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The progress in cutting road fatalities was significantly slowed in 2011 in the EU

The European Commission published the figures on the progress in cutting EU road deaths and they show that the very promising EU-wide reduction throughout the last decade (-6%) was in 2011 reduced to -2%. The Commission also warned that the tend is reversing in countries who used to have very strong safety records, such as Germany and Sweden.

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Announced the winners of the eTwinning awards for cross-border learning

The European Commission presented the winners projects of the the European Commission's 'eTwinning' competition 2012. Among the winners, there are schools from Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, Turkey, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Portugal and Slovenia, that developed cross-border educational projects using information and communication technologies (ICT).

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The EU General Court confirmed the Commission's fine imposed to Telefónica for having abused its dominant position

The General Court confirms the fine of more than €151 million imposed by the European Commission on Telefónica for having abused its dominant position in the Spanish wholesale market for regional and national access to broadband Internet.

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MEPs adopted the legislation to make trade over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives safer and more transparent

The European Parliament adopted the draft legislation on OTC derivatives previously agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators. Under the new rules, OTC derivative contracts would have to be cleared through central counterparties (CCPs), thus reducing counterparty credit risk, i.e. the risk that one party to the contract may default.

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€160 million granted to projects under the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) programme

The European Commission announced the projects selected to receive grants with the aim at improving transport infrastructure across the EU. The 26 selected projects will use the EU's financial support to speed up the implementation of important priorities of the TEN-T Programme.

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The tightening of the EU law to prevent accidents with hazardous chemicals, closer to be a reality

The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member States endorsed the compromise text previously agreed by the Council and the Parliament to tighten the requirements of the Seveso directive in order to prevent accidents with hazardous chemicals such as fireworks. This decision paves the way towards its formal adoption by the Council.

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The European Commission proposed to create an EU Cybercrime Centre

The Commission's proposal still needs to be adopted by the budgetary authority of Europol, the European Police Office in The Hague, with the aim to establish the Centre to be the European focal point in fighting cybercrime. Once approved, it will mainly focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups.

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