In February 2013, the industrial producer price index rose by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU

Eurostat published its figures with regard the industrial producer prices registered in February 2013. Compared with the previous month, prices in total industry excluding the energy sector increased by 0.1% in both the euro area and the EU. According to Eurostat, the highest increases in the total index were observed in the United Kingdom (+2.0%), Greece (+1.7%), Hungary (+1.2%) and Ireland (+0.8%).

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eHealth Week will be celebrated from 13th – 15th May 2013

The Irish Presidency of the EU Council announced that the eHealth Week will take place from 13th – 15th May 2013. On this occasion, it will focus on the use of technology to revolutionise healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes.

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Commission highlights that efficient buildings, vehicles and equipment are crucial for boosting the economy

Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, stressed that efficiency is crucial not only for achieving our energy security and climate goals, also to give a real boost to the economy by bringing important savings and job creation, in addition to environmental benefits, during her speech in a conference held that focused on the role of efficient buildings, vehicles and equipment as an essential driver to economic success.

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Second call for proposals under the NER300 programme for innovative low-carbon technologies launched

The European Commission launched the second call for proposals under the NER300 programme. This major funding programme promotes the commercial demonstration of environmentally safe carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy (RES) technologies.

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€160.5 million over a period of seven years proposed for combating pollution at sea

The European Commission proposed that funding of €160.5 million over a period of seven years for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to allow continued action to combat pollution caused by ships. The funds are intended to maintain the network of specialised anti-pollution vessels.

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The Commission adopted a measure to reinforce requirements for GM food/feed applications

The European Commission adopted a measure on requirements to be fulfilled by companies when submitting applications for the authorisation of new GMOs for food/feed uses. With this Regulation, the Commission seeks to reinforce and improve the authorisation process of GM food and feed and to clarify the requirements for submitting a request. The new rules will apply 20 days following publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

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Nine EU-based companies won the 2013 GreenLight Awards

The Joint Research Centre announced that nine EU-based companies have been recognised for their energy-saving efforts, thanks to the installation of energy-efficient lighting technologies. The majority of energy saving was due to introduction of the new T5 efficient fluorescent lighting, among other measures, which replaces conventional magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts.

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Employers and labour market intermediaries in the EU might not yet be exploiting the full potential of ICT

Among the conclusions of two new Joint Research Centre (JRC) studies on ICT and employability, there is that more attention should be paid to the role of ICT in this field. According to the JRC, reviewed literature shows that ICT are crucial for employability, as they enable the development of a large set of individual skills, and also allow job seekers to have access to more creative jobs and enhance their career prospects.

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The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) and the Economic sentiment worsened for the euro area

In March 2013, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area decreased by 0.14 points to 0.86. The European Commission confirms that the assessment of the adequacy of stocks of finished products also worsened, albeit to a lesser extent. The Commission's figures also show that for March 2013, the Economic Sentiment Indicator in the euro area also declined. The Commission highlighted that the decline was driven by decreases in all business sectors, while consumer confidence remained broadly stable.

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Euro area unemployment rate was 12.0% in February 2013, stable compared with January

Eurostat published its figures that show the euro area unemployment rate was 12.0% in February 2013, stable compared with January. The EU unemployment rate was 10.9%, up from 10.8% in the previous month. The highest unemployment rates were registered in Greece (26.4% in December 2012), Spain (26.3%) and Portugal (17.5%).

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An extra €11.2 billion is required for the EU budget to cover unpaid claims from 2012

The European Commission confirmed that an extra €11.2 billion is required for the EU budget to reimburse beneficiaries of EU funded programmes completed across Europe in 2012 as well as to honour the Cohesion Policy claims that will fall due in 2013. The MEP chairing the Budget Committee in the European Parliament, Alain Lamassoure, stressed that the Commission proposal to settle only part of the EU's €16.2 billion debt rolled over from 2012 threatens the EU with insolvency later in 2013.

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New comparative tool to promote effective justice systems in the European Union

The European Commission presented the ‘European Justice Scoreboard’ that has as main objective to provide objective, reliable and comparable data on the functioning of the justice systems in the EU’s 27 Member States. The 2013 Justice Scoreboard focuses on the parameters of a justice system which contribute to the improvement of the business and investment climate.

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