EC presents a set of measures to achieve cheaper and more competitive food prices in Europe

The European Commission has agreed a Communication that aims to improve the functioning of the food supply chain in order to lower prices for consumers. The prices of food have come down significantly from record levels earlier this year but the underlying causes for the surge in agricultural commodity prices in the medium-term -including regulatory restrictions, insufficient competition and speculation, have not disappeared and must be dealt with.

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European Commission adopts its work programme for year 2009

The European Commission has adopted its 2009 Legislative and Work Programme, which announces the main initiatives it intends to present next year. In 2009, the Commission will follow up on the initiatives launched in recent weeks to address the financial crisis and to set out a European framework to address the economic downturn. At the same time, the Commission will use the final year of its mandate to complete the work already under way.

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How get the most out of EU-quality food and drink? Commission launches consultation

The European Commission adopted on October 15th, 2008, a Green Paper to open the debate on how to help European farmers make the most of the quality of the food and drinks they produce. This consultation responds to current trends in food production, globalisation spreads, increasing pressure from overseas low cost products as well as the evolution of consumer demands. The consultation will be opened until December 31st.

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EC proposes EU-wide rights for Internet shoppers

The European Commission launched on October 8th, 2008, a proposal for EU-wide rights to make it easier for consumers to shop on the Internet and in the main street. The new proposal will guarantee consumers, wherever they shop in the EU, clear information on price and additional charges and fees before they sign a contract. It will strengthen consumer protection against late delivery and non delivery, as well as setting out tough EU-wide consumer rights on issues from cooling off periods, returns, refunds, repairs and guarantees and unfair contract term.

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A common framework regulation for EU airport charges

The Council has published in the Official Journal of the European Union on October 7th, 2008, its Common Position adopted on June 23rd with a view to the adoption of a Directive on airport charges. The draft Directive would establish a common framework regulating the essential features of airport charges and the way they are set, as in the absence of such a framework, basic requirements in the relationship between airport managing bodies and airport users might not be met.

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ESI indicator declines both in the EU and the euro area

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI), fell by 1.5 points in the  EU and by 0.8 points in the euro area, in September, leaving these values in 85.2 and 87.7 respectively. In the EU, the ESI reached its lowest level since December 1993, while for the euro area it goes back to 2001 values.

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Call for expressions of interest in membership in Scientific Committees

The European Commission has publised on the Official Journal of the European Union september 26, 2008 a call for expressions of interest in membership in the scientific risk assessment Advisory Structure of Scientific Committees and database of experts. Closing date for submitting applications for membership in the Advisory Structure is 31 October 2008.

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EU Agency investigates improvements in Internet security by protecting DNS

A Press Release communicated by the EU Agency ENISA indicate that the Agency is investigating the use of Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and other advanced technologies for improving the resilience of public communication networks.
Recently a vulnerability of Domain Name System (DNS) caught a lot of media attention. A flaw in the DNS threatened to bring chaos to the Internet by poisoning the servers that translate domain names into Internet protocol addresses.

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Council common position concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market

On September 22, 2008 the Commission has presented the communication from the Commission tot he European Parliament concerning the common position of the Council on the adoption of a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market (COM(2008) 578 final)

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EP calls for a safer Internet and better services for consumers

The European Parliament adopted a legislative report at first-reading aimed at providing wider access to telecoms services, more information for consumers and stronger data protection. All the major political groups in Parliament agreed a compromise before the plenary vote which does not alter the main goal of the draft legislation, but they greatly clarify its aims, notably as regards protection of privacy and fundamental rights.

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Cheaper prices for texting and mobile data services abroad in summer 2009

The European Commission has proposed to reduce the price of roaming text messages by 60% as of 1 July 2009. EU citizens travelling in other EU countries should pay no more than €0.11 per SMS compared to the current EU average of €0.29. The Commission also wants to improve transparency for surfing the web and downloading data on a mobile phone while abroad. The proposals will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council, who must agree before they become law.

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