The Commission wants to ban the amphetamine-like drug 4-MA

The European Commission proposed an EU-wide ban on 4-methylamphetamine – or 4-MA, a synthetic substance with similar physical effects to amphetamines. According to the Commission, this drug has been associated with 21 deaths in four EU countries in 2010-2012 alone.

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The mediator underlined the need to clarify that copies made by end-users for private purposes do not cause any harm

António Vitorino, Mediator on private copying and reprography levies, presented its recommendations to the European Commission. He proposed to foster increased reliance on licences and contractual arrangements as the best way to ensure that right holders are properly remunerated for their creative efforts and investments; and he recommends measures aimed at reconciling disparate national levy systems within the Single Market.

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The Commission will examine barriers to cross-border trade in insurance products

The European Commission seeks experts to examine legal obstacles to cross-border trade in insurance products caused by different contract laws in the EU’s Member States. Experts will take part in a group that will report at the end of 2013, after which the Commission will decide on any possible follow-up actions.

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New European Action Plan to boost the cross-border retail

The European Commission presented a European Retail Action Plan to avoid a number of barriers that hinder the smooth functioning of cross-border sourcing, consumer access to cross-border retail services and market entry for retailers. At the same time, the Commission launched a public consultation on unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food and non-food supply chain.

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Economic Sentiment Indicator increased in both the EU and the euro area while Business Climate Indicator broadly unchanged

The European Commission published that in January 2013, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 1.4 points in both the EU and the euro area. For the same month, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area remained broadly unchanged at -1.09.

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EU agricultural commodity markets are projected to remain balanced until 2022

The Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU published by the European Commission shows a relatively positive outlook for arable crops in the EU, as a result of solid world demand and firm prices.

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Internal Committee endorsed deal with the Council to improve the effectiveness of customs controls

The Internal Committee in the European Parliament endorsed an draft agreement with the Council to give customs officials at EU borders better tools to confiscate, store and destroy goods that infringe intellectual property rights.

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New strategy launched to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards

The European Commission presented a new package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. In particular, the Clean Power for Transport Package consists of a Communication on a European alternative fuels strategy, a Directive focusing on infrastructure and standards and an accompanying document describing an action plan for the development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in shipping.

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€79 million fined to Telefónica and Portugal Telecom from the European Commission

A fine of €66 894 000 on Telefónica and of €12 290 000 on Portugal Telecom were imposed by the European Commission for agreeing not to compete with each other on the Iberian telecommunications markets, in breach of the EU antritrust rules.

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The EESC calls for a more realistic approach to Single Market policies

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion which calls for a speedy implementation of the measures proposed in the Communication on the Governance of the Single Market published by the European Commission and for swift and high-quality legislative responses to improve the overall implementation of EU rules.

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MEPs ask to make mandatory the use of made in origin labels on goods imported from third countries

The European Parliament objected to the European Commission's plans to withdraw the proposed "made in" regulation. MEPs stressed that the EU must make the use of "made in" origin labels on goods imported from third countries mandatory.

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