MEPs asked the Transport Committee to review the proposal on groundhandling in airports

The European Parliament approved new rules governing decisions on how best to protect local residents against aircraft noise and allocate take-off and landing fairly and flexibly. However the proposal to further increase competition among groundhandling service suppliers at key airports was referred back to the Transport and Tourism Committee for further discussion.

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The Commission proposes to modernise the rules on cross-border business insolvency

The European Commission made a proposal to modernise the existing rules on cross-border business insolvency so that they support restructuring of business in difficulties and create a business-friendly environment – the current rules date from 2000. According to the Commission, the changes will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-border insolvency proceedings.

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Parliament supports with a wide majority the financial transaction tax in 11 member states

MEPs approved the proposal of eleven EU countries to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT). MEPs have long advocated an FTT and they highlight that the 11 member states account for 90% of Eurozone GDP.

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EU real agricultural income per worker has increased by 1.0% in 2012

According to the latest estimates released by Eurostat, the EU agricultural income per worker that comprises the income generated by agricultural activities over a given accounting period, has increased by 1.0% in 2012, after an increase of 8.0% in 2011.

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€3 million to provide emergency assistance to victims of Typhoon Bopha in Philippines

The European Commission announced the allocation of €3 million in rapid aid following the five-day passage of Typhoon Bopha across the Philippines. The funding will provide emergency assistance to those worst affected, targeting vulnerable groups such as children, households run by single women, and the elderly.

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New public consultation to improve EU air quality policy

The European Commission launched a public consultation on the best way to improve air quality in Europe. The results of the consultation will feed into a comprehensive review of Europe's air policies due in 2013. The consultation is open until 4 March 2013.

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MEPs approved the pacts freeing up EU trade with Colombia, Peru and six countries in Central America

The European Parliament approved in plenary session two landmark pacts freeing up EU trade with Colombia, Peru and six countries in Central America. MEPs also voted on the Regulation implementing the bilateral Safeguard Clause of the agreements that will provide a safety net for the EU industries in case of injurious surge of imports from the countries concerned.

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The European Parliament and the Council backed EU unitary patent rules

MEPs approved the so-called "EU patent package" (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court). Moreover, Ministers endorsed the political agreement for the establishment of a unitary patent system valid across the EU. On the other hand, an Advocate General’s Opinion proposes that the Court of Justice of the European Union dismiss the actions brought by Spain and Italy against the Council’s decision authorising enhanced cooperation in the area of the unitary patent. The two regulations on the Unitary Patent and the translation arrangements should be formally adopted by the Council before the end of 2012.

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European Court of Auditors argues lack of coordination between funds for integration of third-country nationals

A special report published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) argues that the EU programmes for integration of third-country nationals are hampered by complex design and lack of coordination between funds. The Court therefore recommends simplification of programming arrangements and a comprehensive assessment of integration needs regardless of whether migrants have EU or third-country nationality.

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48% of enterprises in the EU provided some type of portable device to some of their staff for business use

According to a survey results, in January 2012, almost half of enterprises in the EU reported that they provided some type of portable device to at least some of their staff for business use. With regard to the type of mobile devices provided to staff, 40% of enterprises provided portable computers and 39% other mobile devices, such as smartphones or Personal Digital Assistants.

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There is the urgency for Member States and the EU to invest in adequate, sustainable and effective social policies

The Second Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion which took place on 5-7 December 2012 and gathered more than 650 participants from 40 countries, ended with the common call on Member States and the EU to invest in adequate, sustainable and effective social policies that strengthen human capital and social cohesion.

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The Council reached a general approach on the proposals to reform public procurement policy

The Competitiveness Council meeting ended with the endorsement of the agreement reached by the Permanent Representatives Committee with regard to the unitary patent protection. The agreement on the unitary patent is one of the twelve priority measures included in the Single Market Act I package. Ministers also held debates on the rest of priorities included in the package such as the debate held on the modernisation of the public procurement policy.

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