€2.4 million to fund top research chairs in less-developed regions

The European Commission announced that it will start a pilot programme that will suppose that grants of up to €2.4 million will be awarded to universities or research institutions in less developed regions in Europe. According to the Commission, this initiative will support universities and other eligible organisations to achieve the level of research excellence needed to be competitive at international level.

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The Council adopted two regulations on the unitary patent

The Council adopted the regulation with a view to implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection and the regulation on its translation arrangements.

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The Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme has been properly put in place

The second EU-US review of the implementation of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) shows that more than two years after its entry into force, this Programmes and its safeguards have been properly put in place. Nevertheless, the review pointed out that the on-going process of deleting data older than 5 years is an issue that requires further monitoring.

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The EU and Singapore agreed on the EU's second ambitious trade agreement with a key Asian trading partner

The EU and Singapore reached an agreement which is, according to the European Commission, one of the most comprehensive the EU has ever negotiated and will create new opportunities for companies from Europe and Singapore to do business together. After the EU-Korea FTA, the EU-Singapore FTA will be the EU's second ambitious agreement with a key Asian trading partner.

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The number of employed persons decreased by 0.2% in the EU and in the euro area in the third quarter of 2012

According to the Eurostat first estimate for the third quarter of 2012, the number of persons employed decreased by 0.2% in both the euro area and the EU compared with the previous quarter. Eurostat stressed that these quarterly data on employment provide a picture of labour input consistent with the output and income measure of national accounts.

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The Commission recommends measures to strengthen the Single Market on car taxation

The European Commission presented a Communication with measures aimed to minimize the problems encountered by citizens and businesses moving cars between Member States and to remove obstacles for cross-border rentals, among other issues related to the car taxation.

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€46,8 million to help Croatia to become a successful EU Member State

The European Commission announced the approval of the last pre-accession and transition assistance programme for Croatia, which will focus on strengthening administrative capacity for an efficient justice system and the protection of fundamental rights.

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Commissioner Kallas called for full engagement on the implementation of the Single European Sky

In the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), the European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas called for full engagement on the implementation of the Single European Sky, and for a positive cooperation between ECAC and the EU.

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Council agreed on the urgency to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns

Heads of State and Government within the EU adopted on 14 December the European Council conclusions on completing the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). They agreed that the priority is to complete and implement the framework for stronger economic governance, including the "six-pack", the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG) and the "two-pack", in order to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns.

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New major package of measures to improve the European regulatory framework in the internal market

The European Commission presented a major package of measures to strengthen and improve the European regulatory framework and ensure the EU's "regulatory fitness". This package is aimed at making it easier and cheaper for enterprises to do business and for citizens to enjoy the benefits of the Single Market.

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€30 million from EU funds in humanitarian aid for Sudan and South Sudan

The European Commission is boosting its humanitarian assistance by €30 million in Sudan and South Sudan. The funding will support immediate life-saving activities such as distributing essential food and non-food items, as well as providing shelter, health, protection, water, hygiene and sanitation.

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The Council reached an agreement on the proposals to establish a single supervisory mechanism

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council reached an agreement on the regulation conferring supervisory tasks on the European Central Bank, and the one which establishes the European Banking Authority. The President of the European Commission welcomed the agreement which considers as a crucial and very substantive step towards completion of the banking union.

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