New guidelines for the application of EU state aid rules to the broadband sector

The European Commission adopted new Broadband Guidelines that intends to help Member States achieve the objectives of the EU Digital Agenda. The new guidelines focus in technological neutrality, ultra-fast broadband networks, step change to connectivity, reinforcement of open access, and transparency.

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Adopted regulatory and implementing technical standards under the Regulation on OTC derivatives

The European Commission adopted nine regulatory and implementing technical standards to complement the obligations defined under the Regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties (CCPs) and trade repositories (the so-called European Markets Infrastructure Regulation – EMIR). The technical standards will enter into force on the twentieth day following publication in the EU's Official Journal.

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Transport Committee adds infrastructure projects to the core network in next Transeuropean Transport Networks (TEN-T)

MEPs at the Transport Committee amended in a vote the map and guidelines for developing the Transeuropean Transport Networks (TEN-T) in 2014-2020. MEPs highlighted that TEN-T funding should help primarily to build or upgrade cross-border sections and missing links so as to remove remaining bottlenecks in the core network by 2030.

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The Commission proposed new stricter rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented, and sold

The proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive presented by the European Commission bans the use of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco (RYO) and smokeless tobacco products with characterising flavours and makes the use of large pictorial health warnings mandatory on cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco (RYO).

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Commission wants to ensure that the EU's copyright framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment

The Communication adopted by the European Commission urges industry to deliver innovative solutions for greater access to online content. In parallel, the Commission is undertaking the review of the EU framework for copyright legal to be completed in 2014.

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Public procurement contracts should go to the most advantageous bidder, say MEPs

The Internal Market Committee approved the new rules on public procurement. MEPs agreed that public procurement should be greener and more socially responsible. They also proposed to establish a "procurement passport" to show that a firm fulfils the criteria without having to send in documentation every time they make a bid.

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The Nobel Peace Prize will fund four aid projects within the EU Initiative “Children for Peace”

The president of the European Commission announced that the prize money from the Nobel Peace Prize that was recently awarded to the European Union, will be used to help 23,000 children affected by wars and conflicts in the world. The decision was unanimously taken by the Presidents of the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.

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€1.2 billion for 23 European innovative renewable energy projects

23 European highly innovative demonstration projects in the field of energy will receive €1.2 billion from the first call of the NER300 Programme. These projects will cover a wide range of renewable technologies such as bioenergy, concentrated solar power, geothermal, wind and ocean energy resources, or distributed renewable management – i.e., smart grids.

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The European Commission unveils EU's seven top digital priorities for the period 2013-2014

Despite the digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, its full potential development is still being refrained by a fragmented pan-European policy framework. In order to tackle these barriers for development, the European Commission has adopted seven priorities for the digital economy and society to be implemented over the period 2013-2014.

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A new European initiative will focus on promoting practical training for youth in participating Member states

On the invitation of German Federal Education Minister, the European Commission and eight Member states have signed a memorandum of cooperation to promote joint actions in the field of vocational education and training in Europe. Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain
are the first countries to sign this European initiative which other Member States will soon join.
 

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New EU environmental rules for cleaner fuels for shipping come into effect

The new European environmental rules on marine fuels came into force on December 17th 2012. The aim of these new standards is to improve the environmental conditions of marine corridors by reducing air pollution and its impact on human health.

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From 1st January 2013, new EU VAT rules enter into effect

The European Commission underlined that new EU VAT rules enter into force from 1st January 2013. These rules are aimed at making life much simpler for businesses across Europe. Also, from 1st January 2013 enter into force stronger rules to fight tax evasion.

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