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The European Commission has proposed to complete the legal framework for Europe-wide patent protection by updating EU rules on the jurisdiction of courts and recognition of judgements.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn has presented a proposal to reform the EU Solidarity Fund. The plans will make the fund more responsive and simpler to use with clearer criteria as to who can benefit.
Fraud affecting the EU budget increased slightly in 2012 compared to 2011, according to the Commission's annual report on the "Protection of the EU's Financial Interests". On the expenditure side, in total, €315 million in EU funds were affected by fraud, or 0.25% of the expenditure budget.
The European Commission has presented a Communication which contains an Action Plan to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Europe’s defence and security sector. The Communication foresees measures to strengthen the internal market for defence, to promote a more competitive defence industry and to foster synergies between civil and military research.
The Regulation on interchange fees, combined with the revised Payment Services Directive, will introduce maximum levels of interchange fees for transactions based on consumer debit and credit cards and ban surcharges on these types of cards.
Protection of consumer rights still varies greatly between EU countries. Only 35% of Europeans are confident buying online from sellers in other EU countries and seven out of ten consumers do not know what do to when they receive products that they did not order.
EU foreign affairs ministers discussed the situation in Somalia and the preparations for an international conference on Somalia.
The European Commission is taking action to improve Union-wide prosecution of criminals who defraud EU taxpayers by establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office.
Euro area annual inflation was 1.6% in June 2013, up from 1.4% in May. A year earlier the rate was 2.4%. Monthly inflation was 0.1% in June 2013.
As regards agriculture, there was a public debate on the state of play on the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package. Concerning fisheries issues, ministers reached an agreement for a full general approach on a proposal for the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) within the framework of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform package.
The consultation asks stakeholders, citizens, businesses, NGOs and public authorities for ideas on immediate action to reduce food waste and more generally on how to ensure our food system is using resources efficiently.
A new study presented by the European Commission finds that the establishment of maritime zones, including Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), in the Mediterranean would benefit the EU's Blue Growth and wider sustainability agendas.
The European Commission launches a new strategy, 'European higher education in the world', aiming to ensure European graduates gain the international skills they need to work anywhere in the world and that Europe remains the most attractive destination for international students.
The mechanism would complement the Single Supervisory Mechanism which, once operational in late 2014, will see the European Central Bank (ECB) directly supervise banks in the euro area and in other Member States which decide to join the Banking Union.
The European Commission, EU Member States and European industry will invest more than €22 billion over the next seven years in innovation for sectors that deliver high quality jobs.
The Ecofin Council concluded this year's coordination of economic and fiscal policies during the European Semester.
The Commission has set out plans to ease custom formalities for ships – reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive.
Croatia was welcomed as the 28th member state in another eventful plenary, while Lithuania replaced Ireland at the helm of the European Union. Parliament voted in favour of Latvia joining the eurozone, gave the green light to a political deal on the EU's long-term budget and selected Emily O'Reilly as the first woman to be EU ombudsman.
Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee will conduct an "in-depth inquiry" into the US surveillance programmes, including the bugging of EU premises and other spying allegations, and present its results by the end of this year, says a resolution passed by the full House. Parliament's President and political group leaders formally confirmed the launch of the inquiry. MEPs also call for more protection for whistleblowers.
Cyber criminals will face tougher penalties in the EU, under new rules adopted by Parliament. The draft directive, already informally agreed with member states, also aims to facilitate prevention and to boost police and judicial cooperation in this field. In the event of a cyber attack, EU countries will have to respond to urgent requests for help within eight hours.