Industrial producer prices up by 0.8% in euro area

In January 2008  according to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, the industrial producer price index rose by 0.8% in the euro area (EA15) and by 1.0% in the EU27. In December prices increased by 0.1% and 0.3% respectively, in comparison with December 2007.

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Women wanted in Europe's ICT industry!

Careers in information and communications technology (ICT) are often thought to be restricted to men. Such a common stereotype is far from the truth. Although the proportion of women graduating in engineering or computer science is still very low, young girls can expect a successful and rewarding career in the ICT sector. This topic is at the core of a conference organised today, ahead of International Women's day (8 March), in Brussels, where the European Commission will encourage young girls in Europe to "Move out of the shadow and seize the opportunITy".

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EDF financial training to be provided by EC

The European Commission has released individual service contract forecast. The successful service provider will have to design and implement training modules on EDF financial and contractual procedures.

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New 2 EUR commemorative coin

A Europe-wide online poll to select a design for a commemorative €2 coin has chosen a design by Greek sculptor George Stamatopoulos. His design symbolises the currency as the latest step in a long history of trade within and outside Europe. The winning design will be on 90 million coins minted and put into circulation next year to mark the 10th anniversary of the completion of economic and monetary union (EMU).

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Single Market for postal service

The Third Postal Directive was published in the Official Journal on the 27th February 2008. The publication marks the entry into force of the directive and sets the clock ticking for abolishing legal monopolies on postal services by 31 December 2010. The Directive is the result of a broad political consensus on the way forward for the regulatory framework of European postal services. The Commission will monitor and assist Member States pro-actively in implementing the Directive. In particular, it will pay close attention to potential entry barriers that would deprive users of the benefit of a dynamic and open market.

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New €2 commemorative coin

A Europe-wide online poll to select a design for a commemorative €2 coin has chosen a design by Greek sculptor George Stamatopoulos. His design symbolises the currency as the latest step in a long history of trade within and outside Europe. The winning design will be on 90 million coins minted and put into circulation next year to mark the 10th anniversary of the completion of economic and monetary union (EMU).

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Stability programme of Italy, 2007-2011

On 12 February 2008, the Council examined the updated stability programme of Italy, which covers the period 2007 to 2011. Real GDP growth in Italy has been below the euro area average since the 1990s and potential growth is estimated to have fallen from above 2 % in the early 1990s to around 1,5 % over the last 15 years. On the positive side, Italy has enjoyed robust employment growth since the turn of the century and its unemployment rate has fallen substantially, also reflecting the impact of labour market reforms. While there remains a long way to go before Italy catches up with the EU average in terms of employment rates, the combination of dynamic employment growth and sluggish GDP growth highlights Italy's productivity problem. Notwithstanding the recent recovery, medium-term prospects for the Italian economy remain challenging under the strain of major structural weaknesses.

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EC Association Agreement with Central America

The European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the EU, and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama (observer),  met in Brussels from 25 to 29 February 2008 for a second round of negotiations in view of an Association Agreement, including a free trade area between the EU and Central America.

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Eurofound open competition for a Deputy Director

The aim of the Foundation is to contribute to the planning and establishment of better living and working conditions through action designed to increase and disseminate knowledge likely to assist in this development. Its tasks are to develop and pursue ideas on the medium and long-term improvement of living and working conditions in the light of practical experience and to identify factors leading to change. The Foundation is required to take the relevant Community policies into account when carrying out its tasks. It advises the Community Institutions on foreseeable objectives and guidelines by forwarding in particular scientific information and technical data. The social partners are associated in the actions it undertakes.

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EC negotiates European Works Councils

The European Commission today invited trade unions' and employers' representatives to help improve the role of European Works Councils in consulting and informing employees. European Works Councils (EWCs) currently operate in 820 major companies across the EU, covering some 14.5 million employees. Today's second stage consultation gives social partners the opportunity to start negotiations on updating and improving the way the bodies operate, with a view to revising the existing legislation.

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Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is in motion

The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Payments Council officially launched, on 28th January, the first SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) payment instruments for credit transfers in euros. To commemorate such an event the Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Charlie Mc Creevy, Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, member of the Administrations Council of the ECB and Gerard Hartsink, President of the European Payments Council organised "SEPA goes live", an event which took place in Brussels and attended by various distinguished guests from the European Payments Market.

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Stability programme of Finland

On 12 February 2008, the Council examined the updated stability programme of Finland, which covers the period 2007 to 2011. Finland's macroeconomic performance has been strong and balanced over the last years, with growth in the recent years significantly exceeding earlier expectations. The present cyclical upswing in economic activity has been appropriately used to build up budgetary surpluses and to prepare for the effects of population ageing, reducing considerably the risks to the sustainability of public finances. However, the imminent demographic shift is predicted to dampen economic growth already at the end of the programme period and lead to a smaller fiscal surplus, thereby calling for sustained control over public spending.

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