EC Small Business Act

On 31st of January, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the content of a European "Small Business Act". Its objective is to put small and medium sized enterprises at the forefront of decision-making in the EU and to introduce concrete measures to unlock the SMEs' growth potential. It will include new initiatives to reduce regulatory burden on SMEs, facilitate access to Single Market/public procurement, help provide necessary financial/human resources for SME development and help SMEs face the challenge of globalization and climate change. The preparation of a "Small Business Act" for Europe is one of the key measures announced in the Commission's package for the next cycle of the Growth and Jobs Strategy adopted last December. The consultation will be open until the end of March. A Public hearing on the Small Business Act will take place on 6 February in Brussels.

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European Commission to launch study on unleashing talent and creativity in Europe

Representatives from the EU's Culture Ministries met in Cannes on 27 January to discuss the challenges facing the music industry at an informal meeting held to coincide with the start of this year's MIDEM international trade fair for the music and recording industry. At the event, European Commissioner Ján Figel' announced the launch of a study on the role of culture, and the EU's cultural industries, in promoting and stimulating creativity, innovation and growth in the EU.

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Four new cases of notification of a concentration

 

On 29th Janurary 2008 the European Commission published, in the European Union Official Journal, a notification of a proposed concentration pursuant to Article 4 of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 prior to reception.... Between 21st January 2008 and 23rd January

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European steel industry committed to reducing CO2 emissions

The European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP) decided, on 27th February 2008, to launch a second phase of the Ultra Low CO2 Steelmaking research programme. ULCOS-II will be the world’s most ambitious Research and Development (R&D) effort to reduce process-related CO2 emissions in steelmaking. The current ULCOS project brings together steelmakers, companies in the steel supply chain, research laboratories and universities to devise the breakthrough technologies that can bring about enhanced reductions in CO2 emissions from steelmaking, with almost €30m of funding already allocated from the EU's research programmes, including the Coal and Steel Research Fund managed by the European Commission. The next phase will require significant levels of investment – the first industrial-scale demonstration is estimated at €300 m.

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Acquisition of Packard Bell by Acer

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Dutch-based company Packard Bell by Taiwan-based personal computers manufacturer Acer. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

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Commission to cut industrial emissions further

The European Commission adopted new legislation on the 21 December 2007 in Brussels, on industrial emissions to strengthen the provisions already in force and reduce industrial emissions throughout the European Union. The proposal will bring significant health and environmental benefits and will create a better level playing field across the EU, reducing competition distortions between companies. It will also simplify current legislation by merging seven directives into one, significantly cutting the administrative burden for industry and public authorities.

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Reduce fuel costs and increase European competitiveness

Europe has a strong and innovative automotive sector. This proposal aims to safeguard this competitiveness through provisions which are fair and flexible and which will stimulate the development and deployment of cutting edge automotive technologies. Under the legislation, several manufacturers will be able to group together to form a pool which can act jointly in meeting the specific emissions targets. Manufacturers in this pool will be required to abide by the rules of competition law.

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EC welcomes new era for Europe's audiovisual media

The European Parliament, on the 29th November 2007, formally approved without amendments the Council's common position on the new Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive. The Directive modernises the rules for Europe's audiovisual industry and offers a comprehensive legal framework that covers all audiovisual media services – including on-demand services. Less detailed, more flexible and future-oriented rules on TV advertising will allow audiovisual content to be better financed. Member States now have two years to make the Directive national law.

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