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Brussels, 8 June 2005
The Council had an exchange of views on two specific points: The role of the Agency as regards evaluation and on impact the impact assessments. There was broad consensus that at that stage there was sufficient information to facilitate the political decision making on REACH and that there was a lot of merit in giving the Agency more powers while preserving an important role for the Member States.
Commissioner Verheugen welcomed the Council conclusions on better regulation since they support a number of the initiatives set out in the Commission’s communication on “better regulation for growth and jobs” from March and since they also encourage Member States to take various better regulation initiatives on national level. Commissioner Verheugen described the state of play on the concrete follow-up actions to the Communication already launched by the Commission. He mentioned that a Commission reflection paper on simplification was currently under preparation which would serve as basis for discussion at the upcoming informal Competitiveness Council in Cardiff on 11-12 July.
Antidumping measures on imports of salmon from Norway
This item was included in the Council agenda on the request of Denmark due to the Commission’s decision to impose provisional antidumping duties on imports of farmed salmon from Norway on 27 April. Mr Verheugen pointed out that the Commission provisionally concluded that Norwegian exporters were resorting to unfair trade by dumping their salmon on the EU market at prices below their production costs. He said that the investigation was ongoing.
The Council took note of the Presidency report on progress so far and confirmed its intention to continue work on this item.
Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive
The Council adopted the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications. This directive consolidates fifteen existing Directives in the filed of professional qualifications for regulated professions. While maintaining the main existing guarantees for migrants, the Directive will improve conditions of free movement and ensure a simpler management of the system.
The Council noted that the results for the SOLVIT centers were a success story for the internal market. SOLVIT is an on-line problem solving network in which EU Member States work together to solve without legal proceedings problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law by public authorities. There is a SOLVIT centre in every European Union Member State . SOLVIT Centres which have been in operation since 2002, can help with handling complaints from both citizens and businesses. They are part of the national administration and are committed to providing real solutions to problems within ten weeks. Using SOLVIT is free of charge. Commissioner McCreevy presented the results of the 2004 SOLVIT report the results of which are very encouraging. Case flow has gone up by more than 70% to nearly 300 cases. 80% of problems get resolved within ten weeks. Commissioner McCreevy pointed out that SOLVIT Centres must be properly resourced. While SOLVIT Centres in some Member States are very well resourced, this is not uniformly the case. Commissioner asked Ministers to look into the resources question. He said “Putting resources into SOLVIT is an investment well spent – not an unnecessary cost.” He said that this would be on the agenda for the next Internal Market Advisory Committee Meeting on 30 June.
Ministers from the European Union (EU) and/or Space Agency (ESA) Member States encouraged the Commission to complete its proposal for a European space policy and programme due to be approved at a third Space Council meeting planned for the end of November 2005. For the first time, there has been a consensus of 29 European countries on a new European approach in the space sector. The roles of the different actors have been clarified, leading to a better use of existing resources. The Commission has proposed uniting resources in Europe with the objective of making the EU a key player in the space sector. (See IP/05/692)