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EU greenlights Otto's acquisition of various Quelle assets
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by the German Otto Group of certain assets of the Swiss home-shopping companies Quelle Versand AG i.L. (in liquidation) and Spengler Versand AG.

Commission to cut research funding red tape
The European Commission has set out its plans to simplify the procedures for taking part in EU-funded research projects. The Commission hopes that cutting red tape in this way will entice the very best researchers to get involved in the framework programmes.

Commission puts ITER funding in spotlight
The European Commission on 5 May adopted a communication justifying the creation of a sustainable financial framework for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). EU Member States should provide financial support to the facility, whose expenditure is EUR 4.5 billion more than the initial EUR 2.7 billion planned, the European Commission said.

EU to revise competition rules for motor vehicle distribution and repair
On May 26, the European Commission is due to adopt new competition rules for agreements between vehicle manufacturers and their authorised dealers, repairers and spare parts distributors.

Harmonised EU rules to foster high-speed wireless Internet
The European Commission has adopted a Decision establishing harmonised technical rules for Member States on the allocation of radio frequencies in the 800 MHz band that contribute to the deployment of high-speed wireless internet services by avoiding harmful interference.

Euro-MPs urge standard chargers for electric cars
Standard chargers for electric cars would be a major step towards a single European electric vehicle market, says a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday.

Commission to ease bottlenecks to financing of smaller businesses
To address the difficult financing situation of SMEs, EU Commissioners proposed today to upgrade the SME Finance Forum into a high-level dialogue between financial institutions and SMEs. The SME Finance Forum 2010, being held in Brussels today, focuses on new strategies for improving access to finance for SMEs.

"Bulk data" transfers to the US against EU law, warn MEPs
Euro-MPs warned today that any new agreement on providing bank data to the United States must avoid "bulk data" transfers until they can be processed within the EU.

Euro-MPs urge tightening of animal welfare rules
More frequent inspections and tougher penalties will be needed to enforce the next EU Animal Welfare Action Plan, says a resolution adopted by the European Parliament today.

Sweden told to comply with EU cosmetics rules
The European Commission has taken further steps against Sweden for infringing EU law on cosmetic products by introducing excessive requirements in the notification of such products.

Commission action makes setting up business in Ireland easier
Following changes to Irish legislation that remove obstacles to setting up a business in Ireland, the European Commission has closed its infringement case.

Incoming British government 'must tackle rising debt'
EU forecasts on the eve of the British general election put Britain under the highest public deficit levels in Europe, with Brussels warning the next government must focus first on the shortfall.

E.ON's commitments open up German gas market to competitors
The European Commission has adopted a decision that renders legally binding commitments offered by E.ON to effectively open up access to the German gas market.

First steps towards reform of EU's Common Fisheries Policy
The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy begins today, stated the Spanish Minister for the Environment, as the Informal Meeting of Fisheries Ministers in Vigo, Spain, got under way on Tuesday.

Euro-MPs urge more time for combustion plants to comply with emission limits
Certain combustion plants, including some fossil-fuel power stations, should be allowed extra time to meet stricter rules on industrial emissions, Euro-MPs said today. The proposal will be voted in July.

EU proposes rules for fishery imports from Greenland
The European Commission proposes rules for imports of fishery products from Greenland into the EU. These rules will affect fish, fishery products as well as by-products derived from these sources.

Incentive driven pharmaceutical prescription is lawful, EU Court rules
The European Court of Justice has ruled that public authorities may offer financial incentives to induce doctors to prescribe cheaper medicinal products. However, those authorities are required, first, to ensure that the incentive scheme is based on non-discriminatory objective criteria and, second, to make public, inter alia, the therapeutic evaluations relating to the scheme

EU Court imposes fines of EUR 23.44 million on thread cartel
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has upheld a EUR 23.44 million fine originaly imposed by the Commission in 2005 on 5 undertakings for their participation in cartels on the industrial threads markets.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy high on the EU's agenda
European Fisheries ministers and stakeholders alike will be discussing the future shape of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy at two major events in Spain over the next days.

New social security regulations enter into force in the EU
On 1 May 2010, new regulations on social security coordination in the European Union enter into force. The aim is to make life easier for Europeans on the move.

EU updates aviation security rules
New measures to streamline and simplify the EU framework for aviation security, first put in place in 2002 after the September 11 attacks, came into force today.

Late business payments: MEPs want deadlines
MEPs believe that deadlines for paying bills in the business world should be laid down by law for both the private and public sectors. Yesterday Euro-MPs approved amendments to a planned EU directive designed to tackle the problem of late payments.

Progress on services directive too slow, say Euro-MPs
The hotly contested services directive was due to be implemented in national law by 28 December 2009. This Tuesday, four months after the deadline, MEPs and members of national parliaments held a meeting in Brussels to discuss whether the EU Member States have done their duty in this regard.

MEPs want rules on working hours to apply to self-employed drivers
Members of the European Parliament have voted against a Commission proposal that self-employed drivers be exempted from the 2002 Working Time Directive on the road transport industry.

Euro-MPs vote to curb energy consumption
MEPs approved today EU energy efficiency legislation for buildings and the new layout of the EU energy efficiency label.