The use of chemicals in Europe has become considerably safer since the REACH regulation entered into force

According to European Commission's report, risks from substances registered under REACH have significantly decreased. Companies have now registered 30,601 files with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) describing the uses and properties of 7,884 chemical substances manufactured or placed on the market.

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EU-funded research project has created a system for higher broadband speeds that can connect many more devices in the home

The European Commission presented the OMEGA research project, that uses light to help achieve higher broadband speeds. According to the Commission, the technology developed by the OMEGA project could ensure that every office and household has enough bandwidth to connect a range of "smart" objects to each other like phones, cars and domestic appliances.

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The European Parliament approved the EU's Common Fisheries Policy reform while called for a sustainable fishing

MEPs adopted a major reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The vote sets out clear and strong measures to tackle this problem. Among other measures, MEPs called on member states to prevent setting quotas that are too high to be sustainable from 2015 on.

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In December 2012, the industrial producer prices were down in the EU and in the euro area compared with November

Eurostat reported that industrial producer prices decreased by 0.2% in both euro area and in the EU in December 2012 compared with November 2012. Prices fell in almost all Member States for which data are available, except Belgium, Sweden and Finland.

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Ozone pollution still exceeded target levels in Europe during summer 2012

A report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that during summer 2012, the percentage of sites exceeding the ‘alert threshold’ was the lowest on record, indicating peak episodes were shorter and maximum ozone concentrations were lower. However, a new report published by the World Health Organization suggests that ozone exposure may be more harmful than previously thought.

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Commission launched a consultation to identify and eliminate any gaps in the internal market for industrial products

The European Commission launched a public consultation to identify and eliminate any gaps in the Single Market legislation for industrial products, in particular if there are any obstacles to the trade of new products and new technologies, such as key enabling technologies or 3-D printing. This public consultation is open to a wide stakeholder audience and the deadline for submissions is 17 April 2013.

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Projects with mobile technologies to achieve a personalised tourism are boosted by the Commission

The European Mobile and Mobility Industries Alliance (EMMIA), a scheme boosted by the European Commission, aims to develop more sustainable solutions in the field of mobility by enhancing transnational cooperation and access to mobile services.

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New public consultation launched on schemes for Milk and Fruit distribution in schools

The European Commission launched a public consultation on the review of two programmes, the European School Milk Scheme and School Fruit Scheme, respectively providing dairy products and fruits and vegetables to children in schools. The consultation will run until 22 April 2013.

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The EU will support study to evaluate new fuels for maritime transport

The European Commission announced that with almost €2 million from the TEN-T Programme, it will finance a study looking at the potential beneficial effects of using alternative fuels for port operations. Also, the EU will support with over €1.2 million from the TEN-T Programme a study aimed at identifying and addressing the potential barriers to the construction and operation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fuelled vessels.

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Increase of women on company boards up to 15.8% in Europe in January 2012 in comparison with January 2011

The European Commission highlights that thanks to the regulatory pressure the percentage of number of women on boards ranged from 13.7% to 15.8% in January 2012. In addition, the Commission stressed that the increase in the share of women on boards has been recorded in all but three EU countries: Bulgaria, Poland and Ireland.

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Internal Committee endorsed deal with the Council to improve the effectiveness of customs controls

The Internal Committee in the European Parliament endorsed an draft agreement with the Council to give customs officials at EU borders better tools to confiscate, store and destroy goods that infringe intellectual property rights.

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Regulations providing fishing opportunities in 2013 to EU vessels in Union and certain non-Union waters adopted

The Council adopted the regulations establishing general fishing opportunities for 2013. These regulations establish the total allowable catches (TACs) and member states' fishing quotas for 2013 in the areas covered by the regulations.

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