The Commission launched a public consultation on certain reduced VAT rates

The European Commission is consulting citizens, businesses and other stakeholders on certain reduced VAT rates, as a part of the wider work being done to fundamentally reform the EU VAT system. The public consultation focuses on three specific areas where reduced VAT rates need to be reviewed.

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New EU campaign seeks practical solutions for tacking climate change

The European Commission launched a new joint campaign together with businesses, environment groups and universities to promote climate solutions. The campaign seeks to put practical solutions at the centre of the climate change debate and demonstrate how climate action can increase welfare and bring economic benefits to European citizens.

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Member states reduced the number of incorrectly transposed directives in 2011

The Internal Market Scoreboard published by the European Commission shows that the number of incorrectly transposed directives directives in average compliance deficit has fallen. However, after the increase recorded in May and November 2011 (1.2%), the European average transposition deficit is now back to 0.9%, i.e. below the target agreed by the European Heads of State and Government in 2007.

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Although further improvement is needed, the standards of safety of nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high

The nuclear stress tests made to the nuclear power plants in Europe show that the standards of safety of nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high but further improvements in the safety features of almost all European nuclear power plants are recommended.

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Committee of the Regions highlights the need for a much simpler regulatory framework for public procurement

According to an opinion to be adopted in CoR's next plenary session, the European Commission failed to simplify the current legislation on public procurements. The CoR's Commission for Economic and Social Policy (ECOS) regrets that the European Commission proposals will entail administrative burden, particularly for local and regional authorities.

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Council adopted rules to facilitate the digitisation of and lawful cross-border online access to orphan works

The Council today adopted a directive establishing a legal framework aimed at improving access to and digitisation of orphan works across the EU. The Italian delegation, however, voted against. The new rules will facilitate the digitisation of and lawful cross-border online access to orphan works contained in the collections of libraries, educational establishments, museums, archives, audiovisual heritage institutions and public service broadcasting organisations.

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OPEN DAYS 2012 celebrate their 10th anniversary at a critical time for the EU

Regional representatives from around Europe will participate on the biggest annual event in the world of regional and urban policy, the OPEN DAYS 2012 – that will take place on 8-11 October, in the frameworkd of final talks on the EU budget, and when major reforms of how the structural funds operate are on the table.

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The Commission calls on Member States to speedy incorporation of the Late Payment Directive into national law

Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice President, launched an information campaign across all 27 EU Member States and Croatia, to encourage speedy incorporation of the Late Payment Directive into national law, even before the absolute deadline on 16th March 2013. The Campaign puts particular importance on ensuring that SMEs know the new rights conferred by the directive and how to exercise these rights.

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New partnership between the EU and IFAD to improve sustainable agriculture

The EU and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a partnership to jointly address challenges in sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security, in order to reduce poverty in rural communities in developing countries. An example of this partnership is the Support to Farmers Organisations in Africa Programme, co-financed by the EU and the IFAD.

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Each member state will set up an energy efficiency obligation scheme with the new energy efficiency directive

The Council adopted the energy efficiency directive with the Finnish delegation abstaining and the Spanish and Portuguese delegations voting against. According to the Council, the directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to achieve its 2020 20% headline target on energy efficiency. Each member state will also be obliged to set an indicative national energy efficiency target.

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Commission proposes new policy to provide reliable access to genetic resources from outside the Union

The European Commission made a proposal to tackle 'biopiracy' and facilitate nature-based research. In particular, the proposal intends to protect the rights of countries and of indigenous and local communities that allow their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge to be used, while also giving researchers in Europe improved, reliable access to quality samples of genetic resources at low cost with high legal certainty.

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European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) nominees announced

The European Commission announced the shortlist of best entrepreneurship policies 2012. European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) nominees help people create and grow businesses: technological or traditional, local or international. This year's projects supported entrepreneurs as across Europe they set-up and improve the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) which are crucial to our economy.

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