€160.5 million over a period of seven years proposed for combating pollution at sea

The European Commission proposed that funding of €160.5 million over a period of seven years for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to allow continued action to combat pollution caused by ships. The funds are intended to maintain the network of specialised anti-pollution vessels.

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The Commission adopted a measure to reinforce requirements for GM food/feed applications

The European Commission adopted a measure on requirements to be fulfilled by companies when submitting applications for the authorisation of new GMOs for food/feed uses. With this Regulation, the Commission seeks to reinforce and improve the authorisation process of GM food and feed and to clarify the requirements for submitting a request. The new rules will apply 20 days following publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

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Nine EU-based companies won the 2013 GreenLight Awards

The Joint Research Centre announced that nine EU-based companies have been recognised for their energy-saving efforts, thanks to the installation of energy-efficient lighting technologies. The majority of energy saving was due to introduction of the new T5 efficient fluorescent lighting, among other measures, which replaces conventional magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts.

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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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MEPs proposed to fund the cleaner scrapping of old ships by a recycling levy

Environment Committee at the European Parliament approved a draft legislation that includes an EU fund to be financed by levies on all ships visiting EU ports, that would make scrapping ships in EU-approved facilities competitive. MEPs proposed that the scheme will be funded by a recycling levy, in line with the "polluter pays" principle.

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New initiatives proposed to improve the effective trade mark protection in the EU

The European Commission presented a package of initiatives to make trade mark registration systems all over the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable. Among them, as regards fees, the Commission is proposing a principle of "one-class-per-fee" that will apply both for Community trade mark applications and for national trade mark applications.

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New rules proposed to cut broadband installation costs in the EU

The European Commission presented a draft regulation aimed at cutting by 30% the cost of rolling out high-speed Internet. The new rules leave organisational issues very much to the discretion of member states.

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Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council endorsed deal on temporary derogation from the EU emissions trading …

The Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council backed the informal agreement reached on 12 March by the Council and the European Parliament on the decision derogating temporarily from directive 2003/87/EC establishing the EU scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading. It is expected that formal adoption will be completed before 30 April 2013.

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The Commission reduces the fees and charges that SMEs have to pay to register chemicals

With the aim at helping SMEs that produce or trade chemicals to remain competitive during the current difficult market situation, the European Commission lowered the fees and charges that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have to pay to register chemicals.

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Commission proposes tailored roadmaps to help member states to get on track with waste management

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik is participating in a high level seminar in Brussels to help member states that are lagging behind in sustainable waste management practices. The aim is to help optimise their waste policies through tailored Roadmaps with practical recommendations, focusing on the effective implementation of EU waste legislation.

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The Commission is working with global tech sector to have a common measurement framework of carbon footprint

The European Commission announced that it is working with 27 of the world's leading tech companies and associations to measure their carbon footprint arising from the production, transport and sales of ICT goods, networks and services. The next step in this European Commission initiative is to get the ICT and relevant industries to put these methods into everyday use.

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The Commission presented a proposal to improve sustainable management of marine and coastal areas

The European Commission presented a project of Directive aimed at establishing a common European framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management in EU Member States, with a view to ensuring that the growth of maritime and coastal activities and the use of resources at sea and on coasts remain sustainable.

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