Commission stresses that departing from the adjustment plan would aggravate the difficulties in Portugal

The European Commission has backed the Portuguese government decision to continue with the adjustment plan further to the Constitutional Court ruling which declared unconstitutional the Portuguese budget for year 2013. The Commission stressed that not continuing with the adjustment plan could increase the difficulties in the Portuguese recovery process.

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The volume of retail trade decreased by 0.3% in euro area in February 2013 compared with January 2013

Eurostat published that in February 2013 compared with January 2013, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.3% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU. The largest decreases were registered in Estonia (-2.6%), France (-2.2%) and Slovenia (-2.0%), and the highest increases in Luxembourg (+4.1%), Denmark and Malta (both +1.5%).

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The Governing Council decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, reported in a statement that the Governing Council of this European institution decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.75%, 1.50% and 0.00% respectively.

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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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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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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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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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€272.75 million from EU funds to promote regional cooperation in the Western Balkans

A series of measures to promote regional cooperation between Western Balkan countries totalling €272.75 million for the period 2012-2013 were finalised by the European Commission. This European institution highlighted that the funds will support among others cooperation with international financial institutions to mobilise funding and help develop civil society.

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