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Competitiveness Council to meet in Brussels on 29 and 30 May 2008

On Thursday 29 May 2008, the Ministers for Competitiveness competent for industrial policy and the internal market are to convene in Brussels. The morning session of the meeting will be chaired by Slovenian Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak, the first afternoon session by Public Administration Minister Gregor Virant, and the second afternoon session again by Andrej Vizjak.

In the part chaired by Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak, the EU Ministers are expected to adopt integrated conclusions on innovations, industrial policy and competitiveness. The first set of conclusions – on the European Commission communications on the lead market initiative, removing obstacles for cross-border investments by venture capital funds, standardisation and pre-commercial public procurement – are a response to the conclusions of the Competitiveness Council of December 2006.  The second set of conclusions – on industry – reflect the Commission communications on the metals industries, forest-based industries and defence industry. The competitiveness of the first two sectors is of particular importance in terms of their contribution to competitiveness in Europe throughout the value chain. The Ministers will, among other things, discuss the EU patent system and adopt conclusions on better regulation.  Under AOB, they will review progress in the transposition of the Services Directive into national legislation, a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and Council concerning the safety of toys, progress in preparing the initiative on the Small Business Act for Europe, and the main results of their informal discussion in Brdo in April.

In the second session chaired by the Slovenian Public Administration Minister Gregor Virant, the EU Ministers will discuss the preparation of better regulation in the light of the Second Strategic Review of Better Regulation in the European Union presented by the European Commission in January 2008. This refers to the preparation of better regulation; it covers the performance of impact assessments in respect of proposed legislation, the programme to reduce administrative costs and the programme to simplify the regulatory environment. At the working dinner, the EU Ministers will also be host to Edmund Stoiber, Chair of the High-Level Group advising the European Commission on the reduction of administrative burdens. In the area of ‘Better Regulation’, the Competitiveness Council meeting in May will provide an opportunity for discussions and conclusions on what is an increasingly important issue in the European Union. Better regulation will entail major savings, help increase the competitiveness of the EU economy and, in particular, simplify the operation of small and medium-sized enterprises.

On the second day, 30 May 2008, EU Science and Research Ministers will convene at a meeting chaired by the Slovenian Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, Mojca Kucler Dolinar. The Ministers will discuss the management of intellectual property and knowledge transfer, which are core elements of the Lisbon strategy. In order to boost the competitiveness of the European economy, it is of particular importance that the research results are converted into successful innovations. The Ministers are expected to adopt Council conclusions on European research infrastructures, family-friendly scientific careers - aimed at attracting an equal proportion of women to research work as well as arousing more interest among younger generations, and the 'Ljubljana Process' as a framework for reviving the European Research Area. They are also expected to adopt the proposal for a Council Regulation setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (JTI FCH). On the margins of the meeting, at the working dinner on 29 May, the EU Member State Ministers will discuss the possible siting of the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).


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Date: 23.05.2008