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The Commission agreed today with  President Santer's proposal to  invite 13
distinguished   high  level   experts   on  European   competitiveness   to
participate  in the  new  Competitiveness Advisory  Group.   Welcoming  the
Commission's agreement,  President Santer said  "...The Commission will  be
expecting to obtain  clear, unambiguous political advice from this Group on
the major policy  priorities that must be  carried out in order  to improve
the  European  Union's  competitiveness.    This  is  not  an  easy  task,"
continued the  President, "but I  am sure the  Commission and the Heads  of
State and  Prime  Ministers of  the 15  will  be looking  to the  Group  to
identify perhaps 3  or 4 key issues to improve our competitivity, and not a
voluminous  shopping list.    We must  concentrate  on the  essentials, and

President Santer  then said  that "...I very  much hope  that all of  these
outstanding individuals will be able  to participate in this  important new
advisory  group which  I  have deliberately  ensured  is as  independent as
possible from the work of the institutions of  the European Union...".  The
President indicated that he is expecting  a first report from the Group  in
time for the Cannes European Council in June.


At  the European  Council in  Essen  in December  last  year, the  European
Council welcomed  the Commission's  intention of  setting up  a high  level
group to deal with the competitiveness of the European economy.

The  Commission decided  today to  constitute this  group  on the  basis of
President Santer's  proposal and has selected the people  it will invite to
be its  first members.   The role of  the group is  to make an  independent
report  every  6  months to  the  President  of the  Commission,  the Prime
Ministers and Heads of  State of 15, prior to each European  Council on the
state of the  European Union's competitiveness and to advise on appropriate
political    priorities   and   policy    changes   to   enhance   European

The Competitiveness Advisory Group  will be  independent of the  Commission
and its  members  have been  selected  on the  basis of  their  outstanding
experience  and expertise.    Each member  will be  requested  to act  on a
personal basis and  not as representatives  of companies,  trade unions  or
other organizations.

The Commission  will indicate  to the  Competitiveness  Advisory Group  the
general questions it would like  to see addressed without prejudice to  the
Group's  own decisions,  and  will also  suggest that  the Group  adopts an
integrated, multi-policy,  multi-sectoral approach to  competitivity linked
to the White Paper process.

The following will be invited to participate in the Group :

C.A. Ciampi,  former PM  Italy, former  Governor of  the Bank  of Italy  as

Prof. F.  Maljers, former Chairman  Unilever, Chairman Philips  Supervisory
Board as Vice-Chairman.

P. Barnevik, President and CEO of ABB.

D. Simon, Chairman BP.

J. Gandois, Président CNPF, former Chairman Pechiney, Cockerill-Sambre.

C. Solchaga, former Minister of Finance.

P. Cassels, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Prof. Maria J. Rodrigues,  Instituto Superior de Ciências do  Trabalho e da
Empresa, Lisboa.

J. Ollila, President and CEO of  Nokia Corporation.

Birgit Breuel, former President Treuhand.

G.  Sapountzoglou,  President  Ionian  Investments, former  member  Conseil
d'Administration EIB.

W. Peirens, President ACV, Membre du Comité de Direction de la CES.

K. Zwickel, President IG Metall.

Commission   Permanent   Representative  :   Professor   Alexis  Jacquemin,
Conseiller Principal.

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