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A new Regulation on biocidal products applying from 1st September will significantly increase the safety and simplify the authorisation procedure of biocides used and placed on the market in the EU.
In the light of recent developments in Egypt, an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council was held on Wednesday 21 August. The meeting was chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
GDP rose by 0.3% in both the euro area and the EU27 during the second quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
A total of €180 million of EU agricultural policy funds, unduly spent by Member States, is being claimed back by the European Commission today under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure.
In June 2013 compared with May 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.50%, 1.00% and 0.00% respectively.
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in June 2013, stable compared with May. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.9%, down from 11.0% in May.
The Economic Sentiment Indicator increased by 1.2 points in the euro area and by 2.4 points in the EU, continuing the upward trend observed since May. The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area increased by 0.14 points to 0.53.
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.
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.
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.
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.