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Brussels, 24th November 2010

Competitiveness Council – 25-26 November 2010

The EU Competitiveness Council will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, 25 and 26 November under the chairmanship of the Belgian Presidency: Mr. Jean-Claude Marcourt (Walloon Minister for the Economy, SME's, Foreign Trade and New Technologies) and Ms. Sabine Laruelle (Federal Research and Space Minister). The European Commission will be represented by Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship and Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, responsible for Research and Innovation.

Industry issues:

An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era

(see IP/10/1434, MEMO/10/532, MEMO/10/533)

The Commission will be invited to present the recently adopted Communication on "An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era – Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage" (28 October 2010). The Council will hold the first exchange of views on the Communication. To this end, the Presidency has prepared two questions to steer the ministerial debate.

The Communication is a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy, which sets out a strategy that aims to boost growth and jobs by maintaining and supporting a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base in Europe offering well-paid jobs while becoming less carbon intensive. The Communication is accompanied by a report on the competiveness performance of individual Member States and the annual European Competitiveness Report.

The proposed actions in the Communication will focus on:

  • Explicit and thorough "competitiveness proofing" of new legislation;

  • "Fitness checks" of existing legislation;

  • A strategy to strengthen European standardisation;

  • Supporting SMEs by facilitating access to finance and helping their internationalisation;

  • A new strategy on raw materials;

  • Sector-specific innovation performance addressed through actions in sectors such as advanced manufacturing technologies, construction, bio-fuels and road and rail transport, particularly in view of improving resource efficiency;

  • Challenges of energy-intensive industries that will be addressed through actions to improve framework conditions and support innovation;

  • Developing a space industrial policy to create a solid industrial base covering the whole supply chain;

  • Annual reporting on Europe’s and Member States’ competitiveness, industrial policies and performances.

More information:

Innovation Union - transforming Europe for a post-crisis world

(see IP/10/1288, MEMO/10/473)

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative which was presented for the first time by the Commission at the previous meeting of the Competitiveness Council, on 11-12 October 2010.

The Innovation Union is a comprehensive and integrated innovation strategy to free up the process from idea to market with actions on skills, social innovation, innovation support systems, market fragmentation as well as access to finance for innovative companies.

The Commission is confident that the Council will support the proposed European Innovation Partnerships which will help realise the Innovation Union and that Ministers will in particular support a pilot Partnership on active and healthy ageing, aiming to increase by two the average number of healthy life years for European citizens.

These partnerships will tackle the whole research-development-innovation chain in one go, putting together all public and private stakeholders. Focusing on a specific societal challenge, they will both improve people's lives and help position Europe a commercial world leader in the sectors concerned.

The Innovation Union will be discussed in the Industry as well as in the Research part of the Competitiveness Council.

More information

Two diverse points also fall within Vice-President Tajani's portfolio:

  • Implementation of the Action Plan on clean and energy efficient vehicles – information from the Commission;

  • Common declaration on electric cars - information from the Presidency;

Space issues

Following from the new ‘space’ competence introduced by the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the Competitiveness Council will meet in its new space sub-formation. The Commission (Vice-President Antonio Tajani) will be invited to present the state of play of the EU space policy, including the space chapter of the Communication on "An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era".

This will be followed by the 7th session of the Space Council, the joint and concomitant meeting of the Competitiveness Council of the EU and the ESA Council at ministerial level. This session will be co-chaired by the Presidency of the EU Council (Belgian Minister of Research Ms. Sabine Laruelle) and the Italian ESA Presidency (Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research Ms. Mariastella Gelmini).

The Space Council will hold an exchange of views in view of adopting a resolution on “Global challenges: taking full benefit of European space systems”.

The Presidency of the Council of the EU will also inform on the outcome of two conferences at ministerial level held under its auspices: the second conference on the exploration of space, and the conference on the use of space to the benefit of the African citizen.

The following point falls within Vice-President Tajani's portfolio:

Information from the Commission on space policy – chapter of the Communication on "An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era".

Research issues:

Innovation Union

    • The Innovation Union will be discussed in the Industry as well as in the Research part of the Competitiveness Council – see point under Industry Issues above.

Joint Programming

The Council will adopt conclusions on Joint Programming initiatives, which aim to tackle Europe's major societal challenges by combining national research efforts and making better use of Europe's precious public R&D resources. The Commission acts as a facilitator for Joint Programming initiatives. The Council will agree on voluntary guidelines, which will provide a basis for the Joint Programming initiatives to be swiftly implemented.

At the 12 October Council, conclusions were adopted approving the launch of three Joint Programming Initiatives on 'Agriculture, food security and climate change', 'Cultural Heritage and Global Change: a new challenge for Europe', and 'A healthy diet for a healthy life'. The first such initiative to get under way, earlier this year, is on 'Alzheimer's and other Neurodegenerative diseases'.

Review of the 7th Research Framework Programme

(see IP/10/1525)

The Commission will inform the Council that an interim evaluation of the, the biggest public research programme in the world, is now available. The Commission aims to respond by January 2011 with concrete proposals for simplification for the remainder of FP7 and subsequently intends in the first quarter of 2011 to launch a major consultation exercise on FP8.



The Commission will also present a Staff Working Paper on further improving the management and governance of the ITER project.

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