New High Level Group launched on Transport and Logistics in the EU

European Commission presented the High Level Group on Logistics (HLGL) which has been set up to provide strategic advice on the future transport policy measures with impact on logistics. At its first meeting, the discussion focused on the main bottlenecks that hinder freight logistics and transport.

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Technical standards on short selling adopted by the Commission

The European Commission adopted the detailed rules aimed at reducing the risk of settlement failures linked to naked short selling, as well as the means by which market participants should disclose significant short positions to the market. Also, the new rules also detail how ESMA is to determine the shares which are exempt from the Short Selling Regulation by virtue of their principal trading venue being outside the Union.

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Number of business trips fell by 11% between 2008 and 2011 in the EU

According to Eurostat, in 2011, EU residents made 1.2 billion trips for both leisure and business. In addition, as for total trips, holiday trips made by EU residents rose strongly between 2006 and 2008 and then remained nearly stable between 2008 and 2011.

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Organic food will have to include the EU organic logo from in their labels from 1 July 2012

The European Commission announced that the two-year transition period for the organic food sector to comply with new EU labelling rules is reaching its end. As from 1 July 2012, the EU organic logo will be obligatory on all pre-packaged organic food products produced in EU Member States which meet the necessary standards.

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The Council agreed to increase in €10 billion the capital of the European Investment Bank

Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council, announced among other things, that the Council agreed that Member States will boost the financing of the economy by mobilising around €120 billion for immediate growth measures. In addition, Member States from the euro area asked to the Council to consider the possibility of recapitalizing banks directly under certain conditions.

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From 1 July 2012, it will applied for the first time a maximum charge for data roaming in the EU

The European Commission reminds that from 1 of July 2012, the using mobile internet to access maps, videos, photos, social networks and email will be much cheaper while travelling in other EU Member States. It will also be cheaper the voice and SMS prices.

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20 programmes approved to promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries

The EU will contribute with €35.9 million of a total of €70.7 million to 20 programmes to promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries. The selected programmes cover fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, milk and milk products, PDOs (Protected Designations of Origin), PGIs (Protected Geographical Indications) and TSGs (Traditional Specialities Guaranteed), seed oil, wine and meat.

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The Council reaches a general approach on tachograph regulation

Ministers agreed on a general approach as regards a new regulation on the tachograph used in road transport. The general approach does not retain the Commission's proposal to incorporate a microchip with the driver card functionalities into the driving licence for professional drivers.

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Commission presents measures to tackle fraud and evasion in the EU

With the aim at strengthening current measures and sets out possible new initiatives for eliminating fraud and evasion in Europe, the European Commission presents a Communication that adopts a holistic approach to tackle this problem. This holistic approach sets out a 3 tier approach aimed at attacking evasion and fraud from every possible angle.

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EU labour market and social situation continues to deteriorate

The Quarterly Review published by the European Commission shows that the employment and social situation in the EU remains subdued despite small improvements. It confirms that overall employment is stagnant and is slightly decreasing in the euro area. However, there are significant differences between Member States.

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Commission approves Spanish state support for Bankia/BFA

The European Commission has temporarily approved a conversion of existing state owned preference shares of €4,465 billion into equity and a liquidity guarantee amounting to €19 billion in favour of the Spanish BFA group and its subsidiary Bankia. With the now approved conversion of preference shares into equity, FROB holds 100% of BFA.

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261 projects submitted for inclusion in the European Innovation Partnership for active and healthy ageing

The European Commission announced that 261 projects were submitted for inclusion in the European Innovation Partnership for active and healthy ageing by groups of stakeholders spanning the public and private sector. In addition, 54 regions and municipalities offered themselves as 'reference sites', to exchange good practice and to share knowledge and experience on past successes in this domain.

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