The EU doubles the aid for humanitarian needs in Syria

The European Commission announced additional €20 million of relief aid to Syria. This will bring the European Commission's total assistance in this crisis to €63 million. The additional funding will go to projects which provide food, water, sanitation, shelter, medical support and supplies, as well as psychological support for an estimated 1.5 million Syrians inside the country as well as to Syrian refugees.

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Commission will ask the Member States to open negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan

According to the European Commission, a trade deal with Japan could boost the EU's GDP by almost one per cent and EU exports to Japan could increase by one third. Therefore, the European Institution decided to ask the Member States for their agreement on opening negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan.

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The importance of mutual learning between Japan and the European Union on employment reaffirmed

During the celebration of the 14th Japan-EU Symposium on Employment and Social Issues, both sides highlighted the continued impacts on the labour markets resulting from the economic crisis, and the need to continue their efforts to addressing longer term challenges.

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The Council launches a new mission to support regional maritime capacities in the Horn of Africa

European Ministers approved the launch of a new civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission, EUCAP Nestor, to support regional maritime capacity-building in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean states. The Council also approved a new CSDP mission to support the fight against organised crime and terrorism in the Sahel region: EUCAP SAHEL Niger.

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The EU accedes to the non-aggression and cooperation pact with ASEAN members

The Instrument of Accession of the European Union to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) has been signed by Catherine Ashton on behalf of the EU. Simultaneously the ten ASEAN Foreign Ministers signed the Instrument of Extension to agree to the EU's accession from the ASEAN side.

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EU and USA reached an agreement to facilitate SMEs presence in both continents

Stakeholders and government representatives from the EU and USA agreed to foster transatlantic SME cooperation. In the framework of the Transatlantic Economic Council, they agreed in particular in fostering efforts to facilitate SMEs presence in both continent by developing a framework for cooperation.

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The EU and China remain committed to be a good example of international cooperation

China and the UE agreed that in a changing world they share broad common interests and are increasingly interdependent. This is one of the common conclusions drawn from the 3rd EU-China High-level Strategic Dialogue held in Beijing on 9-10 July 2012.

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EU remains the largest provider of Aid for Trade in the world

A new monitoring report presented by the European Commission confirmed that despite the economic crisis, the EU and its Member States have once again been confirmed as the largest provider of Aid for Trade in the world. In particular, on Trade Related Assistance, the EU had already met their €2 billion target, committed in the 2007's EU Aid for Trade Strategy, both in 2008 and in 2009.

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EU Extra funding for the Neighbourhood Investment Facility in 2012

The Neighbourhood Investment Facility will get additional funding of €150 million in 2012. The European Commission announced that the extra funding will go towards helping countries in the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood in areas such as road building, climate change, energy or supporting businesses.

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The Council decided the opening of accession negotiations with Montenegro

The European Council has endorsed the decision of the General Affairs Council from 26 of June, and under the Danish Presidency at the Intergovernmental conference with Montenegro celebrated in Brussels on 29 June, the process was officially launched. According to the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, this is a big step towards EU membership.

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New rules agreed by the Council on bilateral investment treaties with third countries

The General Affairs Council meeting ended with an agreement on the draft regulation on bilateral investment treaties with third countries. The agreed text will be sent to the Parliament to be adopted it at second reading. Thanks to the new draft regulation, the bilateral investment treaties (BITs) will be negotiated by the Commission.

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