New Commission's proposal for an Environment Action Programme to guide this policy up to 2020

The European Commission presented a proposal for an Environment Action Programme (EAP) which is aimed at protecting nature, stimulating sustainable growth, creating new jobs and setting Europe on a path to prosperity and health within the limits of the planet.

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A large number of member states opposed the end of the sugar quota regime

The reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) was the main subject to discuss during the first day of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting held on 28 November. Ministers focused the discussions in particular in direct payments, the single CMO and rural development.

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Six pilot regions start working with the newly established European Service Innovation Centre

During the first phase, the European Service Innovation Centre will provide personalized support to the six selected regions which include the Basque Country and the Canary Islands in Spain, Emilia-Romagna in Italy, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and the region of Upper Austria. These six regions were selected further to an informal call for expression of interest.

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The cohesion policy legislative package reached a new partial general approach in the Council

EU ministers agreed on a fourth partial general approach on the cohesion policy legislative package for the 2014-2020 period. The partial general approach covers the financial management, and the common strategic framework. The purpose of cohesion policy is to reduce disparities between the levels of development of the EU's various regions.

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The UK organisation Outset is the winner of the 6th European Enterprise Promotion Awards

The European Commission announced the winner of the Enterprise Promotion Awards 2012. According to the Commission, the UK organisation Outset has been awarded for creating a unique approach to supporting start-ups by helping society’s most vulnerable groups to find work through self-employment and enterprise. Cyprus, Sweden, Italy, Portugal and Turkey also received prizes for driving enterprise with new and innovative local solutions.

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The Eurogroup welcomed the resolve of the Greek authorities to bring the programme back on track

Leaders of the euro area welcomed the significant progress made towards a full staff level agreement between Greece and the Troika on updated programme conditionality. However, the Eurogroup also called on the Greek authorities to implement the few remaining prior actions as a matter of urgency so as to allow for a swift conclusion of the review. Moreover, in a meeting held in the European Parliament, MEPs stressed to the Spanish finance minister, Luis de Guindos, the need to develop a better policy mix in response to the crisis, with less focus on austerity measures and more on growth and investment.

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President of the CoR expressed his opposition to any reduction in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget

During a meeting held on 7 November with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș, the President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Ramon Luis Valcárcel, underlined the potential of the agricultural sector in delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. He is therefore against any cut to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget.

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The most innovative regions in the EU are in the most innovative countries: Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Finland

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012 presented by the European Commission and that compares 190 European regions shows that there is considerable diversity in regional innovation performance not only across Europe but also within the Member States. Most of the European countries have regions at different levels of innovation performance. The report also shows how in almost all European countries capital regions are the national innovation leaders.

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Local and regional authorities need to be more engaged to better deliver the Europe 2020 objectives

The results of the report published by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) show that whilst there is widespread awareness and support for Europe 2020 – the EU’s growth strategy - there is an urgent need to commit more financial resources and to better engage local and regional authorities if its ambitious targets are to be met.

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