The Council sets out as priority the completion of the internal energy market in electricity and gas by 2014

The Council conclusions on renewable energy adopted on 3 December set out a set of priorities among which included the internal electricity market opening, a better market integration of renewable energy sources, more cooperation and trade between member states, and the adoption of the energy infrastructure package as soon as possible.

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In 2011, EU institutions complied with 82% of Ombudsman suggestions

P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, the European Ombudsman, reported that the overall rate of compliance by the EU institutions with his suggestions was 82% in 2011. The best performers were the EU Agencies with a 100% compliance rate.

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The Commission presents a proposal to make government websites accessible for all

The European Commission's proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites that would introduce mandatory EU standardised accessibility features, from the end of 2015, for 12 types of websites, was presented on the International Day of People with Disability.

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Four young Europeans chosen to attend the official Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Ana from Spain, Elena from Italy, Ilona from Poland and Larkin from Malta, will join EU leaders in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. These four young Europeans won the drawing and writing contest organised by the EU institutions, in partnership with the European Youth Forum.

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The deal on energy infrastructure regulation endorsed by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council

The Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council endorsed the agreement reached with the European Parliament on 27 November 2012 on the regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. To enter into force it still needs formal approval in the Parliament (early 2013) and in the Council (after the plenary vote in the Parliament).

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Permanent representatives approved the compromise text on the 2013 EU budget

The Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER), which is composed of the ambassadors of the 27 EU member states, endorsed on the 30 November a "draft package" agreement on the 2013 EU budget and draft amending budget nº 6 for 2012. However, the European President Martin Schulz, stressed that there can be no talk with the Council of an agreement on the EU budget 2013 at this stage.

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The Commission launches the second phase of the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility

The Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility that was first set up by the European Commission in 2011 with the aim to reinforce capacities of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Neighbourhood region, starts its second phase. The Facility will receive a new budget allocation of €45.3 million for 2012-2013.

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New programme for SMEs was beefed up by MEPs with a view to negotiations with the Council

MEPs adopted a resolution on the new programme for SMEs (known as COSME) which explicitly sets as goals to reduce the number of days to set up a new SME to three, cutting start-up costs to €100 and having a one-stop shop for business start-ups in all member states.

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The unemployment rate in the euro area and in the EU increased in October 2012 in comparison with September

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.7% in October 2012, up from 11.6% in September. The EU unemployment rate in October 2012 was 10.7%, higher than September. In October 2012, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands, and the highest in Spain and Greece.

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The Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union presented by the Commission

The European Commission presented a Blueprint for a 'deep and genuine' Economic and Monetary Union. According to the Commission, implementing this Blueprint will mean that all major economic and fiscal policy choices by Member States would be subject to deeper coordination, endorsement and surveillance at the European level.

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New Commission's proposal for an Environment Action Programme to guide this policy up to 2020

The European Commission presented a proposal for an Environment Action Programme (EAP) which is aimed at protecting nature, stimulating sustainable growth, creating new jobs and setting Europe on a path to prosperity and health within the limits of the planet.

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MEPs stressed that investment in research and innovation should reflect the EU's future challenges

The Industry, Research and Energy Committee broadly supported six draft laws on the EU's framework research programme, Horizon 2020, to be financed under the new long-term budget for 2014 to 2020. According to MEPs, Europe needs further investment in research and innovation.

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