The 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has its finalists

This year Ales Bialiatski, Pussy Riot and Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi are the three finalists shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The laureate will be announced on Friday, 26 October

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New proposals to improve EU's support to countries in democratic transition

The European Commission Vice-President and High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy presented new proposals on improving the EU's support to countries undergoing major political, social and economic reforms, the so-called transition countries. Catherine Ashton highlighted that support needs to combine long-term strategies with tangible short-term achievements. The EU can make sure to secure quick wins in such areas as facilitating credible elections, supporting programmes for job creation and growth but also by strengthening peace and security.

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New support granted by the EU to the African Union Mission in Somalia

The European Union has decided to provide new support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), that will allow it to continue to fulfil its mandate and to reach its total strength of 17,731, as authorised by the UN. EU support covers costs such as troop allowances, costs of the police and civilian component of the mission, medical care, housing, fuel, and communication equipment.

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€23 million of additional funding to improve border management and regional cooperation in the Eastern Partnership

The European Commission announced a new support package for the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood. €23 million will be allocated with the aim at helping to improve security, boosting trade and increasing mobility for people living in the region. In addition, this project will provide training, equipment, infrastructure and advice.

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EU-China Mayors' Forum moves forward to more sustainable cities

Mayors from across the European Union and China met in the Committee of the Regions (CoR), in Brussels, and signed an agreement signalling the next phase in co-operation as part of a joint effort in promoting sustainable cities. President of the CoR, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, highlighted that the Forum offered the ideal platform to take a joint response to deal with these global challenges.

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The EU and China signed a financing agreement to promote China transition towards a low-carbon economy

The EU will help China in meeting its environmental, energy- and carbon-intensity targets and in the long run, contribute towards achieving a global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, following a new financing agreement signed by Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce of the Republic of China.

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Agreement signed to increase cooperation between the EU's competition department and China's antitrust authorities

The European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding which creates a dedicated framework to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the Commission and two of China's Anti Monopoly Enforcement Authorities, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC).

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EU citizens abroad must be given same consular protection than their own nationals

Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament called on the EU delegations to have a key role in strengthening protection for EU nationals in non-EU countries in its adopted position on proposed new rules aimed at strengthening consular protection abroad, which is one of the key rights conferred by EU citizenship. MEPs also called on EU member states to give any EU citizen seeking help abroad the same consular protection that they give their own nationals.

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Regional politicians from the EU and Eastern neighbouring countries agreed to move forward on public administration reform

The second annual meeting of the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), which brought together mayors and regional politicians from the EU and Eastern neighbouring countries, ended with an agreement on a way forward that will include public administration reform, fiscal decentralisation and regional cooperation as key priorities for action.

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10 years of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership

EU Finance Ministers celebrated on 14 of September, 10 years of EIB-FEMIP (European Investment Bank and the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) together with their Mediterranean counterparts in a joint meeting in Cyprus. At the meeting, EU Finance Ministers confirmed that EU’s neighbours should be the priority for the Bank in its operations outside Europe.

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Myanmar/Burma is proposed by the Commission to benefit from a special trade arrangement with the EU

The European Commission adopted a proposal to bring the country back under the so-called 'Everything But Arms' preferential trade regime which would grant duty-free and quota-free access to the European market for all products except for arms and ammunitions. This decision follows the recognition by the international community, country's recent efforts to improve the political, social and labour environments there.

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