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Futile European Parliament vote on bank deposit guarantees
Today’s European Parliament vote on EU rules governing deposit guarantees – which protect consumers when banks go bankrupt – has regrettably been in vain.

White Paper on pensions: occupational pensions must remain attractive, say SMEs
The proposals put forward by the European Commission's White Paper setting out an agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions unveiled today (Thursday) must avoid raising the cost of occupational pensions for employers and workers, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation.

Organic farming dwarves GM crops in Europe as public rejection hits biotech firms
Public resistance to genetically modified crops has ensured that the area grown in Europe in 2011 remained at 0.1 per cent of all arable land, shows figures released today by Friends of the Earth Europe. In comparison, organic farming accounted for 3.7 per cent.

Rising doubts about safety of genetically engineered plants
In a letter to Commissioner Dalli, Testbiotech and GeneWatch UK give new evidence of EFSA´s failure to perform risk assessment of genetically engineered plants.

EU can wait no longer for Collective Redress
Today’s vote in the European Parliament echoes BEUC in putting clear pressure on the Commission to introduce a system of Collective Redress providing EU consumers with a collective compensation tool for commercial malpractice.

Commission climate paper - Europe can save billions in fuel costs
The European Commission today set out how Europe could increase its climate ambition, presenting a series of pathways to further reduce carbon emissions by 2020.

Major EU update of Data Protection laws: Consumers handed greater control of their data
BEUC welcomes today’s proposed update of EU Data Protection laws by the European Commission. These will make European standards applicable to all companies processing the data of European consumers.

Electronic waste: Parliament vote far from being ideal, warn SMEs
The compromise on the revision of the Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive approved by the European Parliament's plenary today (Thursday) is far from being ideal despite the attempts made to respond to the concerns of small retailers, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation.

BASF retreats from Europe as GM crops rejected
BASF today announced it is abandoning its plans to develop and commercialise genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe.

EU's Digital Single Market blueprint released
A European ‘Digital Single Market’ was brought a step closer today by the European Commission’s eCommerce Communication. Consumers in the EU can see this as welcome progress in tackling major obstacles to cross-border online trade.

Professional qualifications: EC proposal is going too far on many aspects
Today’s proposals by the European Commission to modernise the EU system for the recognition of professional qualifications is going too far on many important aspects, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation. On the positive side, the organisation welcomed the creation of a European professional card and the increased compulsory use of online means to provide information to professionals and to citizens.

Public procurement: SMEs welcome simplification, warn about transparency
The package of measures to modernise the EU public procurement rules unveiled by the European Commission today (Tuesday) contains some remarkable proposals and improvements to facilitate the participation of SMEs to public tenders. However, the increased recourse to the so-called “negotiation” procedure will trigger risks in terms of transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation.

Biodiversity on the brink: environment ministers back down on greening farming
urope’s Environment Ministers met yesterday in Brussels with three of Europe’s, and the world’s, most pressing environmental challenges on the agenda – biodiversity, resource-use and climate change. On all three fronts, their responses are inadequate to address the scale of these global challenges, says Friends of the Earth Europe.

EU roadmap: clean energy future at no extra cost - Commission study reveals irrelevance of coal and nuclear despite skewed accounting
A roadmap published today by the European Commission exploring different energy pathways over the next 40 years has shown that an energy system based largely on renewables and efficiency will cost taxpayers no more than a system locking Europe into fossil fuels and nuclear energy, said Greenpeace. Renewables emerge as the dominant energy source, despite skewed calculations to keep nuclear energy and fossil fuels in the energy mix.

Database on the risks of genetically engineered crop plants - Testbiotech offers overview of EU authorisations
Testbiotech is today publishing a database designed to give an overview of the risks associated with genetically engineered plants allowed for marketing in the European Union, or being about to be authorised soon. The current version of the database, called PlantGeneRisk, gives an overview of thirteen genetically engineered crops, four soy plants and nine maize plants. Ten of these plants already have EU authorisation for use, import and usage in food and feed, one of them is also allowed for cultivation. The plants produce insecticides or are tolerant to herbicides, and many also have a combination of both. So far, thirty eight genetically engineered crops have been authorised within the EU for use in food and feed, but no public database is available giving an overview of their risks. In the existing databases provided by state authorities or by institutions which have a close affiliation with industry, the actual risks are mostly marginalized.

SMEs welcome EC plan on access to finance, call for tax reforms to boost venture capital
Tax systems main obstacle to uptake and provision of venture capital; “Basel III” implementation must not harm SME loans, warns UEAPME

Consumers' wish for Santa: Safer toys for Europe's kids
Just as every year, Christmas approaches and family and friends rush to the shops to buy toys for the children. Often spoiling the festive mood is the doubt in the minds of many consumers as to the safety of the toys they buy. ANEC and BEUC warn that the entry into force of the revised Toy Safety Directive earlier this year should not camouflage worrying flaws in the safety of toys sold in Europe.

Europe's commercial vehicle industry calls for integration of transport, industrial and innovation policies
The commercial vehicle manufacturers in Europe call upon EU policy makers to further integrate the Union’s policies for transport, industrial competitiveness and future innovation to help spur sustainable growth.

New MEP code of conduct a step forward: now MEPs must do their homework
A vote in the European Parliament today to introduce a new code of conduct for MEPs has been welcomed by The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU (ALTER-EU).

Patents on chimpanzees, sperm cells and human genes - European Patents 'black List' published
Today Testbiotech is publishing a “Black List” of European Patents that have already been granted. Ten examples, granted since 2009, were selected for the list in cooperation with the Initiative “No Patents on Life”.

Remote gambling industry challenges Greek protectionist law
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) have today filed a complaint with the European Commission regarding the recently adopted Greek online gambling law. The complaint details a range of non-EU compliant barriers to new market entrants and requests that the Commission, as guardian of the EU Treaties, address this as a matter of urgency.

SMEs broadly welcome new "Erasmus for all" programme
UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, welcomed the "Erasmus for all" proposal by the European Commission, which suggests allocating EUR 19 billion towards promoting skills and learning mobility of young people in what will become the successor of the current Lifelong Learning Programme.

New report shows that ACP countries are being hit by harmful EU policies (CONCORD)
In Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, European Union (EU) policies are continuing to seriously undermine people’s rights, because these policies are not coherent with development objectives. The EU fails to comply with its own treaty obligations says a new report by CONCORD, the confederation of European development NGOs.

Bank proposal on current account fee transparency - bold announcement, zero substance
BEUC, the European Consumers’ Organisation, rejects EBIC’s (European Bank Industry Committee) plans to self-regulate the transparency and comparability of current account fees as instructed by the European Commission. For a paltry number of bank account services (approx. 10), the banks propose to establish a common terminology and information.

Parliament vote on MEP code of conduct - ALTER-EU reaction
Transparency campaigners have welcomed today's vote of the European Parliament constitutional affairs committee (AFCO) on the proposed Code of Conduct for MEPs, but warned that an important loophole on the definition of gifts risks undermining the core of the proposals.