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Preparation of the Informal Competitiveness Council of Ministers, Cardiff, 11-12 July 2005 –

European Commission - MEMO/05/239   07/07/2005

Other available languages: none

MEMO/05/239

Brussels, 7th July 2005

Preparation of the Informal Competitiveness Council of Ministers, Cardiff, 11-12 July 2005 –

(Gregor Kreuzhuber, Oliver Drewes, Antonia Mochan)

The EU Competitiveness Council will hold an informal meeting in Cardiff on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12th. On Monday Ministers responsible for Research will meet at 10.30 under the chairmanship of Lord Sainsbury and on Tuesday 12th Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Trade and industry will chair the meeting on Better Regulation and the Internal Market. The European Commission will be represented by Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for Enterprise and Industry, Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Commissioner Janez Potocnik, responsible for Science and Research .

Monday 11 July Meeting of research Ministers

The seventh framework Programme: excellence in science and the exploitation of science

The Ministers will have an informal exchange on:

- How to ensure that the European Reseach Council is run by scientists and is independent (European Research Council is a proposal from the Commission who enable funding investigator-driven research at the frontier of knowledge)

- how to best support small and medium sized enterprises

- how to improve business involvement in collaborative R & D

- how to unlock the potential of less research intensive countries

- how to simplify procedures

Commissioner Potocnik will share with the Ministers his views on these issues and on how to build momentum in the process leading to the adoption of the 7th Framework Programme.

He will in particular touch upon the question at which level research investment is made in the most effective way.

He will confirm the Commission's full support for the UK Presidency in all matters related to research.

Tuesday 12 July – Delivering Better regulation for Growth and Jobs

On 16 March the Commission adopted an initiative designed to cut-red tape, to tackle excessive regulation and to help to strike the right balance between costs and benefits of legislation. (MEMO 05/93). Improving the quality of regulation can significantly spur growth in the EU economy and business. This is why “better regulation” is a centrepiece of the European Commission’s “partnership for growth and jobs”. It is essential for setting up the right conditions for growth and employment in Europe.

Vice President Verheugen will present a report to ministers on progress made since March. He will also call upon Member States to deliver on their end to make the better regulation exercise a success. The main elements of the Commission initiative are to improve the quality of impact assessments for EU legislation, to carry out a screening and possible withdrawal of pending Commission proposals adopted before 1 January 2004, to reinforce efforts to simplify existing EU legislation and to better involve stakeholders in order to have their views on how to reduce bureaucratic burdens.

Internal Market

Commissioner McCreevy will present current thinking on the Internal Market and will focus on looking for practical solutions to the challenges ahead.. The Commissioner will set out his vision for the coming years. He will argue that, with the legislative framework now largely complete, the focus should shift towards making the Internal Market work better in practice. The first ten years of the internal market added 1.8% to GDP. It created 2.5 million extra jobs. In the enlarged Union, the internal market now offers 450 million potential consumers to our businesses – a huge advantage in a globalised world. This allows for economies of scale. It helps to create and drive a dynamic culture of innovation. It encourages wider competition, which in turn improves productivity and efficiency and boosts economic growth

On the sensitive issue of services there is enormous untapped potential. The proposal is now in the hands of the Council and the Parliament. The Directive which emerges from the negotiations must achieve greater market opening so as to create new opportunities for businesses and consumers. Commissioner McCreevy is committed to practical solutions and a directive that works and can command widespread support.

Improving the functioning of the internal market will require additional effort from the Member States’ administrations which are responsible for the Internal Market’s day-to-day operation. There is a need for close co-operation to ensure that Internal Market principles are uniformly applied across the Union and to solve the problems which people encounter when trying to exercise their Internal Market rights


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