As published on the, the EU needs to focus much more on regional-level partnerships if it wants to create a more business-friendly environment for small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe.  This was one of the key messages to emerge at the "SMEs and Entrepreneurship Conference", organized by the European Commission and Portuguese Presidency, in association with the Committee of the Regions (CoR), in Porto on 6-7 December.

Leading CoR member David PARSONS, representing President Michel DELEBARRE at the event, praised the Commission for its efforts in support of small business but said it could achieve more by doing less more effectively. “At the moment the Commission is trying to do too much on its own. We appreciate its goodwill, but we’d like to see it tapping into resources like the Committee of the Regions much more than is the case now. If it really wants…

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It will be a "quite nice Christmas gift", as the EU home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini said,  which will allow people from Central and Eastern Europe to move freely across the rest of the EU bloc. Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - which all joined the EU in 2004 - are part of this latest enlargement. Checks at internal land and sea borders will be abolished on 21 December, with air borders to follow in March 2008. The Schengen area - established in 1985 in a small Luxembourg village at the geographical meeting-point of Germany, the Benelux countries and France - currently consists of thirteen EU states, plus Norway and Iceland. The UK and Ireland have chosen to stay out and participate only partially in police and judicial cooperation. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are yet to meet necessary requirements, while Switzerland is expected…

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In his interview with EUobserver (, the EU's commissioner for culture, Jan Figel, outlines, using a popular German expression for multi-ethnic communities, that: “After enlargement, and in times of globalization, in times of growing migration, so-called 'multi-culti' realities are very visible.”

"The EU is the only 'geopolitical innovation' based on the respect for cultural diversity in the world, and, as such, is an attractive model to share," the Slovak commissioner said ahead of the official presentation of the "European Year of Intercultural Dialogue" on 4 December.
With a budget of €10 million, a series of community programmes involving culture, education, youth, sport and citizenship will be initiated throughout 2008. The aim is to create closer links between European peoples themselves and between their respective cultures.

"The European Union today is a more mature community, we all agree that market or business is not enough to keep people together,"…

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As published on the, Bosnia and Herzegovina is due on Tuesday to initial an agreement seen as the first step towards the EU membership talks. BiH is the final  Western Balkan country to fully set off on the European path.
‘’I have decided to initial the Stabilization and Association agreement (SAA) with Bosnia and Herzegovina tomorrow," EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn said on Monday (3 December) in Sarajevo. His announcement came after the Serb, Bosnian and Croat leaders agreed on the integration of the country's police forces - one of Brussels' conditions for moving ahead with its EU plans.

"I am very pleased that I did not come in vain since leaders of the country have convinced me of their commitment to finish the job concerning police reform," Mr Rehn said. The country has a bright future on its road towards the EU which is supporting such economic…

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This event will be held in Brussels, on 4th December, in organization of  The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) and the European Federation of Journalists. As outlined on the,  this year you can enter nominations for two categories: 1.the "Worst EU Lobbying" Award for the lobbyist, company or lobby group that in 2007 has employed the most deceptive, misleading, or otherwise problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to influence EU decision-making; 2.the special "Worst EU Greenwash" Award for the company whose advertising, PR and lobbying lingo is most at odds with the real environmental impacts of their core business activities. From the nominations, two shortlists of five nominees were selected, followed by an on-line vote from 15 October to 24 November.

According to the

“Worst EU Lobbying” shortlist:

  • BMW, Daimler and Porsche for their full-scale lobbying offensive to water-down and…

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On 3rd December, from 11:00  - 16:00, a conference with the theme: "Can we risk stopping the future enlargement of the European Union? Are there limits of the EU’s mission to bring peace and stability to Europe? " will be held in the Committee of the Regions, in Brussels, on the invitation of the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung. As announced on the, experts of European institutions and organizations are going to discuss the EU’s mission to create a zone of peace and stability in Europe. By analyzing the developments of the relevant political instruments, the discussion is going to focus on the Western Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Southern Caucasus. Registration required.

Contact: FNS Brussels Office, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.…

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As published on the, a certain nervousness can be felt in Brussels, which arises from the unclear provisions of the new European treaty. New jobs to be had in Brussels, namely the president of the European Commission; the president of the European Council and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, have overlapping job descriptions.

On the Breakfast Policy Briefing, on 28th November, Igor Sencar, Slovenia's EU ambassador, said there were "at least 40 elements" in the treaty that have to "considered and understood" during the course of next year.

The exact powers of the EU president have to be defined, as well as it must be agreed upon who will actually be the President. The funding, personnel and scope of the diplomatic service need to be sorted out. Also, it is not clear whether the EU’s policy body, Europol, needs to be adjusted as…

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On a Breakfast Policy Briefing, held in Brussels, in organization of the European Policy Centre, H E Mr Igor Senčar, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union, outlined the priorities of the Slovenian presidency of the EU. Slovenia, as the first among the ''new'' member states (accession 2004), is taking over the presidency of the EU on the 1st January 2008. Also, it will be one of the last countries to take over the presidency in this way, because the system of rotation will no longer exist according to the new Treaty.

Ambassador Senčar announced the Slovenian readiness to be among the first countries to ratify the new Treaty, in order to set an example for other member states. The ratification is expected during the year 2008 and its entry into force in the beginning of 2009. Regarding the situation in Kosovo, Slovenia will stick up…

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