EU suspends import duties on most cereals

On 20th  December 2007, the European Union  unanimously agreed to suspend import duties on all cereals except oats, buckwheat and millet for the current marketing year - which ends on June 30, 2008. The decision, was proposed the month before by the European Commission, is a reaction to the exceptionally tight situation on the world and EU cereals markets and the record price levels. Although the current levels of border protection for cereals are rather low, import duties are still applied for certain types of grains that are important for the balance of the EU market.

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Commission to recover 256.3 meuros of CAP expenditure from MS

A total of € 256.3 million of EU farm money unduly spent by Member States will be claimed back as a result of a decision adopted today by the European Commission. The money returns to the Community budget because of inadequate control procedures or non-compliance with EU rules on agricultural expenditure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.

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Major opportunities for Information Society

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued  his Opinion on the 20th December 2007 concerning the Commission's communication on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Europe that was released in March 2007. The Opinion deals with the growing use of RFID chips in consumer products and other new applications affecting individuals.

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Reduce fuel costs and increase European competitiveness

Europe has a strong and innovative automotive sector. This proposal aims to safeguard this competitiveness through provisions which are fair and flexible and which will stimulate the development and deployment of cutting edge automotive technologies. Under the legislation, several manufacturers will be able to group together to form a pool which can act jointly in meeting the specific emissions targets. Manufacturers in this pool will be required to abide by the rules of competition law.

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EC proposal to limit the CO2 emissions to fight climate change

The European Commission, on the 19th December 2007, proposed legislation to reduce the average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars to 120 grams per kilometre by 2012. The proposed legislation is the cornerstone of the EU's strategy to improve the fuel economy of cars, which account for about 12% of the European Union's carbon emissions. The proposal further underlines the EU's leadership and determination to deliver on its greenhouse gas commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and beyond.

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EC encourages financial education for EU citizens

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on Financial Education. The Commission stresses the importance of increasing the ability of Europe's citizens to understand and engage with financial products and services. Enhancing financial education has substantial benefits for consumers, the economy and society. The Commission sets out some basic principles to guide financial educators; and announces some practical initiatives.

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White Paper on the Integration of EU Mortgage Markets

The European Commission has published a White Paper on the Integration of EU Mortgage Markets. The White Paper summarises the conclusions of a comprehensive review of European residential mortgage markets and presents a balanced 'package' of measures to improve the efficiency and the competitiveness of these markets, to the benefit of consumers, mortgage lenders and investors alike. This is to be achieved in particular through improvement in the areas of cross-border supply, product diversity, consumer empowerment and customer mobility.

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EC welcomes new era for Europe's audiovisual media

The European Parliament, on the 29th November 2007, formally approved without amendments the Council's common position on the new Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive. The Directive modernises the rules for Europe's audiovisual industry and offers a comprehensive legal framework that covers all audiovisual media services – including on-demand services. Less detailed, more flexible and future-oriented rules on TV advertising will allow audiovisual content to be better financed. Member States now have two years to make the Directive national law.

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First time shareholders scheme from the United Kingdom

The State aid which the United Kingdom has implemented on the basis of the First time shareholder scheme (the scheme) is compatible with the common market as far as it concerns aid granted for the first time acquisition of a share in a new fishing vessel.

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EESC tackles elder abuse

This report published should seek to take stock of the current position, setting out prevalence rates and providing information on the various kinds of abuse involved, as well as causes and risk factors. The study should cover care provided both at home and within an institutional setting.

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