Public consultation launched to assess member states' support schemes for films and other audiovisual works

The European Commission published the third and final public consultation in its review of the state aid criteria it uses to assess member states' support schemes for films and other audiovisual works. In particular, the Commission consults on the criteria set out in a draft Communication. Contributions to this consultation can be made until the 28 May 2013.

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€150 million from EU funds for 20 new international brain research projects

The European Commission announced that some €150 million of funding will be allocated to 20 new international brain research projects. This announcement is made at the same time as the 'European Month of the Brain' initiative is launched. This initiative has as main aim to highlight European research and innovation in the area of neuroscience, cognition and related areas through over 50 events across Europe this May.

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In March 2013, the EU unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable compared with February

Eurostat published its latest figures with regard to the unemployment rate in the euro area and in the EU, which show that the euro area unemployment rate was 12.1% in March 2013, up from 12.0% in February. The EU unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable compared with February. The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria, Germany and Luxembourg, and the highest in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

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The total number of terrorist attacks and related arrests in the EU significantly increased in 2012

The 2013 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report published by Europol shows that the total number of terrorist attacks and related arrests in the EU significantly increased in 2012, in contrast to previous years. Internet remains a key facilitator for terrorism-related activities.

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Member states will not restrict the use of 3 neonicotinoid insecticides to protect bees

The European Commission reported that the EU member states did not reach a qualified majority in the Appeal Committee on the Commission proposal to restrict the use of 3 neonicotinoid insecticides. In absence of an agreement between member states, it is now for the Commission to decide on the adoption of the proposed restriction.

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Commission presents guidelines to boost sustainable aquaculture in the EU

The European Commission presented strategic guidelines with the aim at coordinating efforts across all member states to foster the development of EU aquaculture. The Commission stressed that these guidelines do not create new legal obligations, but present a series of voluntary steps that member states.

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Three innovative technology start-ups will compete for the EIT Entrepreneurship Award 2013

CoRehab, Quuppa, Volumental are the three start-ups chosen to compete for the EIT Entrepreneurship Award 2013. Klaus Beetz, Business Director of the EIT ICT Labs stated that the EIT Entrepreneurship Award is a great opportunity to highlight and encourage entrepreneurial ventures that are coached and supported by the Business Developers of the ICT Labs.

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The EESC calls for transparency on the cost of intermittent renewable energy

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) highlighted that the debate on the overall cost of electricity from intermittent renewable energy sources must be completely transparent and the data publicly available. At the same time, Eurostat published that in 2011, energy from renewable sources was estimated to have contributed 13.0% of gross final energy consumption in the EU.

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The Commission postpones the correction of the excessive deficit in Spain to 2016

Following the approval of Spain's National Reform Programme and Stability Programme by the Spanish Government, the European Commission welcomed these programmes. The Commission also underlined that the postponement of the correction of the excessive deficit (to below 3% of GDP) to 2016 is consistent with its assessment. On the other hand, the Commission is consulting on the European System of Financial Supervision.

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€21 million redirected from Regional Funds to help promote growth in Cyprus

The European Commission has announced the reprogramming of a plan that will help promote growth in Cyprus and strengthen the impact of EU regional funds there. In particular, it will redirect €21 million worth of Regional Funds to help the country deal with the current socio-economic crisis and ensure a quicker delivery of available investments particularly when it comes to supporting small and medium sized business and the employment of young people.

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The Commission proposes new rules to improve application of workers' rights to free movement

The European Commission proposed new measures to ensure the better application of EU law on people's right to work in another Member State and so make it easier for people to exercise their rights in practice. The lack of awareness or understanding of the free movement rules is a major source of discrimination based on nationality, according to the Commission.

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Between October 2012 and March 2013, euro area SMEs reported a deterioration in the availability of bank loans

The report on the results of the “Survey on the access to finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the euro area” shows an increase in external financing needs for bank loans from SMEs in the EU between October 2012 and March 2013. SMEs also reported a deterioration in the availability of bank loans.

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