The Commission stressed that 2013 is set to be the busiest year for digital agenda

European Commission Vice-President responsible for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes underlinded that the top priorities for 2013 are to increase broadband investment and to maximise the digital sector's contribution to Europe's recovery. Cloud computing is also expected to accelerate through public sector buying power.

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New strategy to enable customs to better tackle risks associated with goods being traded in international supply chains

The European Commission presented a strategy which involves more rational use of resources, better quality and availability of trade data, and deeper partnership with trade and international partners in order to enable customs to better tackle risks associated with goods being traded in international supply chains. In 2011, EU customs processed nearly 300 million customs declarations.

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Reduction of 80% in emissions of nitrogen oxides and 66% in particulate matters thanks to a new EU legislation

On the 31 December 2012, the new European legislation called the Euro VI norm entered into force, enabling the lowering of nitrogen oxides and dust emitted from new types of trucks and buses. The legislation also introduces world-wide harmonised test procedures and standards which should help boost European automotive industry exports. In addition, EU automotive legislation will be simpler and will become effective more quickly.

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A new Quality Regulation intends achieving more quality to consumers and a fair price for farmers

The new Quality Regulation that entered into force on 3rd of January is aimed at achieving a simplified regime for several quality schemes by putting them under one single legal instrument. According to the Commission, it creates a more robust framework for the protection and promotion of quality agricultural products.

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European Food Safety Authority sets safe levels for possible presence of mercury in food

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established Tolerable Weekly Intakes (TWIs) to protect consumers from the possible presence of the main forms of mercury found in food. Although the average exposure to the main types of mercury does not reach the maximum levels, some consumer groups might be especially concerned and therefore new scientific information regarding its toxicity needed to be established.

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European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on rules on foods for vulnerable persons

The Council announced the approval of new agreement reached with the European Parliament on foods considered essential for certain vulnerable persons such as babies and young children. The new regulation seeks to clarify the legal framework relating to these foods by avoiding the overlap between the specific legislation applicable to such foods and the legislation applicable to normal food.

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The transatlantic cooperation from some Star alliance members may harm premium passengers on the Frankfurt-New York route

The European Commission has concerns that transatlantic cooperation of Lufthansa, United and Air Canada may harm premium passengers on the Frankfurt-New York route because it could result in higher prices, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The Commission has therefore invited interested parties to comment on commitments proposed by the three companies to address competition concerns about their transatlantic cooperation.

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The Commission wants to modernise, strengthen and rationalise the customs union in the years ahead

The European Commission presented a Communication which takes stock of the current state of the EU customs union, identifies the challenges that it currently faces, and sets out priority actions for ensuring its future evolution.

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The Council called for a more robust EU external aviation policy

The Council has called for stronger coordination, unity and solidarity at EU level and for a more robust EU external aviation policy in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aviation industry while supporting the interests of European consumers.

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