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Industry Ministers give fresh impetus to competitiveness and innovation in the European economy

In Brussels, the EU Ministers responsible for Competitiveness (internal market, industry) have adopted a set of Council conclusions under the heading ‘A Fresh Impetus for Competitiveness and Innovation of European Industry’. Current President of the EU Competitiveness Council, Slovenian Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak declared, “The objective of transforming the EU into a more innovative and dynamic economy is crucial for achieving sustainable growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.”

The conclusions are subdivided into two sections: innovations and industry.

In the integrated conclusions, the Council, among other things, emphasised the key role of innovations in Europe’s capacity to respond successfully to the challenges and opportunities of the global economy and confirmed the lead market initiative as a means for unleashing market potential for innovative products and services. The Ministers agreed that creating conditions for reducing the fragmentation of the European venture capital market within the internal market could help overcome the lack of equity capital and increase the flow of initial capital for financing innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and their growth.

In its conclusions in the area of industry, the Council stressed that, in the global context of competitive markets, the risk of ‘carbon leakage’ poses serious problems in certain sectors such as energy-intensive industries, particularly those exposed to international competition. This must be analysed and addressed as a matter of urgency in the new Directive on the greenhouse gas emission trading system so that appropriate measures can be implemented in the light of the outcome of international negotiations.  “Access to diverse raw materials and their effective use constitute the key element in the competitiveness of these industries,” observed Mr Vizjak, among other things, and added that the Council is aware of the importance of improving the competitiveness of the European defence industry with the help of strong and dynamic European defence technology and industry bases.


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Date: 30.05.2008