MS sign up the Neighbourhood Investment Facility Agreement

The signature of the "NIF Trust Fund Agreement" in the margins of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of January 26th 2009, will allow EU Member States to provide additional funds to the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF), a key lever of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

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Conclusions of the Council concerning a European partnership for international scientific and technological cooperation

The Official Journal of the European Union has published on january 26th, 2009 the Conclusions of the Council concerning a European partnership for international scientific and technological cooperation, which aims aims to develop better coherence and synergies between the various international scientific and technological cooperation activities carried out in Europe by Member States and the European Community.

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EC grants 53 M€ for new actions in higher education under TEMPUS IV Programme

The European Commission has launched a new Call for Proposals aiming to fund new actions under TEMPUS IV Trans-European cooperation scheme for higher education. The objective of Tempus Programme is to promote multilateral cooperation among higher education institutions, authorities and organisations from EU Member States and partner countries, focusing on the reform and modernisation of higher education.

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EU support to promote activities among third countries leading to the adoption of a ATT

The European Council adopted on January 19th 2009, its Decision 2009/42/CFSP on support for EU activities in order to promote among third countries the process leading towards an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), in the framework of the European Security Strategy.  The overall objective of this Council Decision is to promote the participation of all stakeholders in the discussion on an ATT, integrate national and regional contributions to the international process under way, and to identify the scope and implication of a possible treaty on the trade in arms.

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EP calls for the immediate cease of violence between Israel and Palestine

At the opening of the plenary session on Monday January 12th, EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering called for an immediate cease-fire and the end to the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. President Pöttering accused Hamas of starting the escalation of violence, but he also reminded that the right to defence does not justify violence against civilians. He suggested a political solution to the conflict and supported the plan promoted by France and Egypt.

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Results of the extraordinary meeting of the Energy Council to address the gas supplies crisis

Due to the situation caused by the interruption of gas supplies from Russia via Ukraine, an extraordinary meeting of the Energy Council took place in Brussels on January, 12th 2009, under the Presidency of the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade. At this meeting EU Ministers welcomed the steps taken by  Czech Presidency to tackle the crisis.

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EC calls for a medium-term loan to Latvia as part of coordinated financial assistance

The European Commission has agreed to propose to the Council to provide medium-term financial assistance to Latvia of up to € 3.1 billion. The proposed European Union loan is the biggest of the contributions put together with the Nordic countries and the IMF, among others, and which will total up to €7.5 billion. The financial assistance is conditional on a major economic adjustment programme already adopted by the Latvian government designed to limit and progressively correct the budgetary and other imbalances. Ultimately, it will put the Latvian economy on a sounder and more sustainable footing.

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3 M€ for EU emergency humanitarian aid in Gaza

An emergency humanitarian aid decision has been launched by the European Commission to provide an extra 3 M€ relief assistance in the Gaza Strip. The aid will be deployed as rapidly as possible to meet the basic needs of people affected by the Israeli airstrikes and by continuing access restrictions. Close cooperation is taking place with Czech presidency, in relation to this matter.

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Council defines some aspects of the Decision on combating terrorism

On November, 28th, the Council of the European Union adopted Framework Decision 2008/919/JHA, amending Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA. This Framework Decision aims to increase further approximated legislations in Member States in order to strengthen freedom, security and justice in the European Union.

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Schengen acquis applicable in the Swiss Confederation

Following the provisions of the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the Swiss Confederation’s association with the implementation, application, and development of the Schengen acquis, the Council of the European Union published on December, 5th, 2008, Decision 2008/903/EC, on the full application of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in the Swiss Confederation.

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EU-Central Asia cooperation to strengthen the Rule of Law

An EU - Central Asia Ministerial Conference, co-organised by the French Presidency and Germany, was held on 27 and 28 November 2008, on the sidelines of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels, to discuss the theme "Rule of law - cornerstone of development", in order to give fresh impetus to the implementation of the European Union Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia adopted by the European Council on June, 21st 2007.

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9.2 M€ for EU / North America and Asia-Pacific academic cooperation

The European Commission is consolidating the longstanding cooperation with the US and Canada with the launch of a new round of 24 innovative projects involving universities and training institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. The objective is to promote mutual understanding, transparency and quality in higher education and training, by setting up long-term institutional cooperation at bachelor's and master's level, allowing students from Europe and from the partner countries to have a unique experience studying abroad in a global context.

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