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774% difference in phone call prices across the EU

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European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "As these numbers clearly show, the 28 national telecoms markets in Europe today are not benefitting consumers like a single market would. It is critical for the whole EU to move quickly to build a real single market to achieve a truly connected continent." There are much smaller price differentials in other categories of basic goods and services in the European single market. For example a litre of milk can be bought for between €0.69 and €0.99 wherever they are in the EU, a price differ... Read More »

Tempered growth for European tourism in the 2013 pre-Summer period

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The report of the European Travel Commission points on a diversification of European tourism destinations and the emergence of smaller destinations : Iceland and Slovakia stage the strongest performance with an increase of foreign arrivals of 30 percent and 20 percent respectively. Montenegro, Latvia and Croatia follow with a growth around 9 percent, Hungary and Poland with a growth of 7 percent. Overall data paint a positive picture for outbound travel from intra-European markets. After a few years of weak demand, most destinations report g... Read More »

As Iran changes, EU and US stand still

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The tone was set last month by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, who, in a CBS interview, called Rohani "a wolf in sheep's clothing." His comments endorse the notion that nothing has changed in Iran compared to the times of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rohani's hardline predecessor. So, the line goes, the only reaction of the West should be to impose more sanctions and to escalate military threats. Netanyahu is not alone in clinging to the old certainties: US neoconservatives, some European liberals, Salafists - a diverse set of ... Read More »

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights: Customs detain €1 billion worth of fake goods at EU borders in 2012

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Today’s report also gives statistics on the type, provenance and transport method of counterfeit products detained at the EU's external borders. Cigarettes accounted for a large number of interceptions (31%), miscellaneous goods (e.g. bottles, lamps, glue, batteries, washing powder) were the next largest category (12%), followed by packaging materials (10%). Postal and courier packages accounted for around 70% of customs interventions in 2012, with 23% of the detentions in postal traffic concerning medicines. Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner fo... Read More »

Cyprus and Luxembourg top bathing water rankings

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In the latest report, most sites were given an excellent rating for 2012 – the same proportion as in 2011. But more managed a “sufficient” rating than in the previous year. 2012 water testing The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual bathing water report looked at samples from more than 22 000 bathing sites around Europe. Water was tested for harmful pollutants and bacteria, such as E. coli – possibly from sewage or livestock waste. Best... and worst performers The top performers in 2012 were Cyprus and Luxembourg, with all li... Read More »

Europe loves Wi-Fi: new study recommends more spectrum should be made available

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European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “Wi-Fi is a huge success. It’s a win for everybody involved. I will make sure the European Commission helps to spread use of Wi-Fi through extra spectrum and lighter regulation.” While 3G/4G networks are essential for truly mobile activity, it is currently expensive to buy the spectrum rights needed to run these networks, consumers pay significant prices to use 3G/4G (for example when roaming), and the networks are already congested in many parts of Europe because of a lack of allocated s... Read More »

The backbone for European science gets stronger: 100Gbps internet for individual researchers

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Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, says: “We need high speed and high capacity to keep in the global research race. The data side of the research equation is almost as important as the research itself today. With this upgrade, GÉANT demonstrates it is the leader of the research network pack.” Speeds like this will enable faster collaboration on critical projects and meet the rapidly increasing demand for data transfer capacity. The creation and sharing of research data is increasing exponentially, impacting the ICT infr... Read More »

June 2013 compared with May 2013 Industrial producer prices stable in both euro area and EU27

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In June 2013 compared with June 2012, industrial producer prices rose by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.6% in the EU27 . Monthly comparison In June 2013, compared with the previous month, prices in total industry excluding the energy sector remained stable in both the euro area and the EU27. In both zones, intermediate goods fell by 0.2%, durable consumer goods remained stable and non-durable consumer goods increased by 0.3%. Prices for both the energy sector and capital goods remained stable in the euro area and rose by 0.1% in the EU27.... Read More »

Serbia: EUR 50 million for SMEs and other projects

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“The bank of the European Union continues in its support activities to Serbia in the path towards EU accession and rapid, complete integration into the Union. The two contracts signed with Crédit Agricole will improve the access of Serbian SMEs to long-term financing provided on favourable terms, with positive effects on job market and social environment” said Dario Scannapieco, the EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, “and I am really pleased for our cooperation with the Serbian authorities and Crédit Agricole Group”. The... Read More »

EU annual accounts for 2012 adopted

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Although the audit of these accounts is not yet completed, it is worth highlighting that the previous five annual accounts received a "clean bill of health" from the European Court of Auditors. The information in the 2012 consolidated accounts of the EU should provide a solid basis for the decision making process of readers of the accounts (e.g. MEPs and representatives of Member States) and for the accountability of financial actors involved in the financial management of the EU budget. Financial reporting, such as these annual accounts, wi... Read More »

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