2605th Council Meeting
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Brussels, 24 September 2004
12487/04 (Presse 269)
2605th Council Meeting
President Mr Laurens Jan Brinkhorst
Minister for Economic Affairs
Ms Maria van der Hoeven
Minister for Education, Culture and Science
of the Netherlands
– Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Conference 19
EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY
JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
Mr Marc VERWILGHEN Minister for Development Cooperation
Ms Fientje MOERMAN Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy, Trade and Scientific Policy
Mr Martin JAHN Deputy Prime Minister
Mr Miroslav SOMOL Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade
Mr Petr KOLAR Deputy Minister for Education, Youth and Sport
Mr Bendt BENDTSEN Minister for Economic and Business Affairs
Mr Helge SANDER Minister for Science, Technology and Development
Mr Georg-Wilhelm ADAMOWITSCH State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour
Mr Dieter DUDENHAUSEN State Secretary, Research
Mr Hansjörg GEIGER State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice
Mr Andrus ANSIP Minister for Economic Affairs and Communications
Mr Toivo MAIMETS Minister for Education and Science
Mr Dimitrios SIOUFAS Minister for Development
Mr Christos FOLIAS State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Finance
Ms María Jesús SANSEGUNDO Minister for Education and Science
Mr Alberto NAVARRO State Secretary for European Affairs
Ms Claudie HAIGNERÉ Minister attached to the Minister for Foreign Affairs with responsibility for European Affairs
Mr François d'AUBERT Minister attached to the Minister for National Education, Higher Education and Research with responsibility for Research
Ms Mary HARNEY Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Mr Antonio MARZANO Minister for Production Activities
Ms Letizia MORATTI Minister for Education, the Universities and Research
Mr Guido POSSA Deputy Minister for Education, the Universities and Research
Mr Yiorgos LILLIKAS Minister for Commerce, Industry and Tourism
Mr Juris LUJĀNS Minister for Economic Affairs
Mr Nerijus EIDUKEVIČIUS Deputy Minister for the Economy
Mr Rimantas VAITKUS Deputy Minister for Education and Science
Mr Jeannot KRECKÉ Minister for Economic Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister for Sport
Mr François BILTGEN Minister for Labour and Employment, Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research, Minister for Religious Affairs
Ms Octavie MODERT State Secretary, Ministry for Agriculture, Viticulture and
Mr Péter GOTTFRIED Head of State Secretariat for Integration and External Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr Censu GALEA Minister for Competitiveness and Communications
Mr Laurens Jan BRINKHORST Minister for Economic Affairs
Ms Maria van der HOEVEN Minister for Education, Cultural and Science
Ms Catharina van GENNIP Minister for Foreign Trade, State Secretary for Economic Affairs
Ms Elisabeth GEHRER Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture
Mr Martin BARTENSTEIN Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour
Mr Jerzy HAUSNER Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour
Mr Mrichal KLEIBER Minister for Science and Information Technology
Mr Pedro SAMPAIO NUNES State Secretary to the Minister for Science and Education
Mr Mário DAVID State Secretary of European Affairs
Mr Manuel LANCASTRE State Secretary Economic Development
Mr Matjaž LOGAR State Secretary for Domestic Market
Mr Zoran STANCIC State Secretary for Science
Mr Lázló POMOTHY State Secretary at the Ministry of the Economy
Mr František TÓTH State Secretary at the Ministry of Education
Mr Mauri PEKKARINEN Minister for Trade and Industry
Mr Leif PAGROTSKY Minister for Industry, Employment and Communications
Ms Kerstin ELIASSON State Secretary to the Minister for Education
Ms Patricia HEWITT Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women and Equality
Mr Olli REHN Member
Mr Frederik BOLKESTEIN Member
Mr Louis MICHEL Member
The Council took note of the information given by the Presidency on the economic situation and competitiveness in Europe. In particular, the Presidency briefed the Council on the exchange of views held during the Presidency dinner on the eve of the Council.
Discussions centred largely on competitiveness trends in the respective Member States, preliminary information on the midterm review of the Lisbon process and the services Directive, which will be put on the agenda of the next Competitiveness Council in November.
Following an exchange of views on the Commission communication entitled "Fostering structural change: an industrial policy for an enlarged Europe", the Council adopted the following conclusions:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
2. RECOGNISES that intrasectoral and cross–sectoral structural change is needed to boost European competitiveness and productivity growth;
3. ACKNOWLEDGES that structural change implies a reallocation of resources into economic activities with growth potential for productivity, value-added and job creation, i.e. knowledge-intensive activities based on innovation, human skills and better use of technology. The momentum generated by enlargement of the Union should be used to facilitate structural change, especially by means of exploitation of the four freedoms of the Internal Market;
CALLS ON THE COMMISSION AND MEMBER STATES WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE COMPETENCIES TO
4. Facilitate structural change and enhance productivity growth by creating the framework conditions in which Europe's enterprises can compete, prosper and grow into excellent global players. Such a favourable business environment requires an efficient and effective regulatory framework including, where appropriate, social dialogue; a vibrant, competitive, and barrier-free Internal Market for goods and services, human capital with a high level of skills and knowledge, capital markets accessible by enterprises of all sizes, modern communications, energy and transport infrastructure, and public policies favourable to research, innovation, and entrepreneurship;
5. Drive forward the ongoing work on better regulation in the framework of the InterInstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking and reinforce the competitiveness dimension of the integrated impact assessment process, which covers all three dimensions of sustainable development, by evaluating the cumulative impact of existing legislation on the competitiveness of industry and of specific industry sectors, and by developing a method for measuring administrative burden on business;
6. Pursue industrial competitiveness through better exploiting synergies between policies. Such policies, while still meeting their own objectives, should ensure that they contribute towards enhancing industry's competitiveness;
7. Deepen the analysis of Community policies' impact on industry's competitiveness and adjust them where necessary so that, while pursuing their own objectives, they improve their contribution to industrial competitiveness and structural change. Trade policy, competition policy, research and innovation policy, cohesion policy, and environment policy are priorities;
The following actions, inter alia, are considered important:
In the domain of trade policy
In the domain of state aid policy
In the domain of research, development and innovation policy
In the domain of cohesion policy
In the domain of environment policy
The Council looks forward to receiving the Commission's first analyses of the impact of Community policies that have a significant role in fostering structural change;
8. Whilst industrial policy is horizontal in nature, it should be applied by taking into account the different characteristics of individual sectors. The Council therefore: LOOKS FORWARD to further sectoral analyses and, if necessary, initiatives that the Commission is launching - notably in the automobile industry, mechanical engineering, information and communication technology and eco-industries;
SUPPORTS the Commission's method for such initiatives, beginning with a detailed analysis of the sector's competitiveness, followed by a wide-ranging consultation of all the stakeholders concerned, and only then considering what mix of policy tools could be adapted to foster structural change, in a framework of open markets and competition;
9. Build on existing initiatives and further strengthen efforts to monitor structural change within Member States and across the European Union;
CALLS ON MEMBER STATES TO
10. Share and exchange on a regular basis experiences and best practices on how they anticipate, monitor, and above all, facilitate structural change, applying and taking greater advantage of the open method of coordination;
11. Endorse the approach to industrial policy set out by the Commission in the relevant communications, and ensure a maximum of coherence between policies at national and European level as well as between national policies;
The Council unanimously reached a political agreement on a draft Directive on technical harmonisation for machines and amending Directive 95/16/EC. After finalisation of the text the Council will formally adopt its common position at one of its forthcoming meetings and will forward it to the European Parliament for second reading.
The Directive, which is based on the New Approach legislative technique, aims at simplifying the approval and testing procedures, and at updating the technical prescriptions, extending the scope of the Directive to portable cartridge operated impact machinery and construction site lifts.
The Council unanimously reached political agreement on a draft Directive that amends Directive 76/769/EEC in order to restrict the use of certain phthalates in toys and childcare articles.
Phthalates are substances which are used as softeners in plastic materials. Some of them have been identified as reprotoxic. On the basis of the text agreed by the Council, toys and childcare articles will be forbidden and cannot be placed on the market if DEHP, DBP or BBP occur in concentrations exceeding 0,1% of the plasticised part of the item. This also applies for toys and childcare articles, the plasticised parts of which contain DINP, DIDP and DNOP in concentrations exceeding the same limit, if those articles are intended for children under three years and can be placed in the mouth.
The provisions will be subject to a review, in the light of new scientific information on these substances and their substitutes, no later than four years after the Directive has entered into force.
The Council took note of a written statement by the Commission on the implementation of certain provisions of the draft Directive and of an oral statement by the Danish delegation on its general position in relation to this legislative proposal.
The Council took note of the Presidency's progress report on better regulation and simplification of legislation, on the basis of which it held a policy debate. The Council welcomed progress achieved so far towards identifying those legislative areas which offer the greatest scope for simplification and endorsed the approach outlined by the Presidency for taking work forward with a view to reporting to the European Council meeting early in November and to drawing up a list of priorities for the Competitiveness Council meeting at the end of that month. It asked the High Level Group on Competitiveness and Growth to carry out the necessary preparatory work on the basis of appropriate selection criteria.
Better regulation and, more particularly, simplification of legislation have long been high on the EU agenda. The Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making and the Commission's Action Plan of 2002 are two significant expressions of the importance of these issues which, over time, have become increasingly linked to the efforts to improve the competitiveness of European industry. The 2004 Spring European Council pointed to the importance of better regulation at both European and national levels for enhancing competitiveness and stated its intention to return to the issue at its November 2004 meeting.
The Competitiveness Council of 17 and 18 May 2004 adopted conclusions committing itself to consider priority areas for simplification in September with a view to agreement at the end of the year (i.e. at its meeting on 25 and 26 November 2004).
The Council took note of the presentation by Commissioner Bolkestein of the 2004 scoreboard on the implementation of Internal Market legislation and the Commission recommendation setting out a number of best practices that are currently used in the Member States to facilitate the correct and timely transposition of Internal Market directives into national law.
Following the exchange of views, the Presidency concluded that the Council recognised the need for Member States to intensify their efforts in order to reduce the internal market transposition deficit to 1,5% or below as requested by the Stockholm European Council in March 2001. The Council encouraged Member States to examine which were the main obstacles to timely and correct transposition into their internal systems and to continue their work on the basis of the best transposition practices identified by the Commission, taking due account of the constitutional structure of individual Member States.
The Council invited the High Level Group on Competitiveness and Growth to monitor the follow-up to the discussion with a view to further deliberations in the Council in the light of the Commission's report early next year on the implementation of the Internal Market Strategy.
The Council held a short debate on the proposal for a Regulation concerning sales promotions in the Internal Market.
The Presidency concluded that, as it was impossible to reach agreement at this stage, the file should be referred back to the Permanent Representatives Committee for further examination with a view to enabling the Competitiveness Council to reach agreement at its meeting of 25 and 26 November.
Following an exchange of views, the Presidency concluded as follows:
"The Council had an exchange of views on the line to take in the international negotiations on ITER, on the basis of information from the Commission. The Commission is encouraged to pursue actively these negotiations with a view to enabling the Council, at its session of 25 and 26 November 2004, to reach agreement on the main elements of the future international agreement on ITER.
Moreover, the Presidency notes, that during this exchange of views:
Following an exchange of views on the Commission communication on the evaluation of the new instruments of the 6th Framework Programme, in response to the report of the high level panel lead by Prof. Marimon, and the Commission communication on the future European Union policy to support research, the Council adopted the following conclusions:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION:
ON THE EVALUATION OF THE NEW INSTRUMENTS
ON THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN UNION POLICY TO SUPPORT RESEARCH
Following an exchange of views on the Commission communication on an European strategy for nanotechnology, the Council adopted the following conclusions:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION:
The Council took note of the information given by the Presidency on the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Industry which will be held in Caserta, Italy, on 3 and 4 October 2004.
The main purpose of the Conference will be the adoption of the Caserta declaration endorsing the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise, which is based on the European Charter for small enterprises, adapted to the Mediterranean context, as well as the adoption of conclusions containing priorities for future work in this field.
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
The Council adopted a Decision approving the conclusion of an Agreement on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between the Community and Ukraine (12033/04).
The Agreement will be implemented through exchange of technical information, personnel and samples, materials, instruments and apparatus for experimental purposes.
All EU Member States and Ukraine are Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The Council adopted a Common Position aimed at imposing travel restrictions on certain officials linked to the disappearance of four persons in Belarus and to subsequent obstruction of justice (12151/04).
Under the Common Position, Member States will take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into, or transit through, their territories of the officials concerned.
The European Union's travel restrictions will apply to Mr Sheyman, the Prosecutor-General (previously Head of the Security Council), Mr Sivakov, the current Minister of Sports (previously Minister of the Interior), Mr Pavlichenko, a high-ranking officer of the special forces, and Mr Naumov, the current Minister of the Interior.
The EU remains seriously concerned at the continuing deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in Belarus. It reiterates its clear interest in Belarus' political, social and economic progress and in its progress towards democracy and the rule of law and human rights.
See Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the EU (12735/04).
The Council adopted a common position on draft conclusions to be adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Industry. The Conference will be held in Caserta, Italy on 3 and 4 October 2004.
The Council adopted a Decision on the signature and provisional application of a Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the European Community and Egypt in order to take account of EU enlargement (11146/04).
The Council adopted a Decision concluding consultations with Guinea-Bissau aimed at remedying violations of the respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law in Guinea-Bissau following a military coup in September 2003 (10955/04).
A number of measures have been taken by the authorities of Guinea-Bissau, aimed at ensuring free and fair elections, re-establishment of an independent judiciary with the appointment of a public prosecutor, the election of a supreme court president and the adoption of an emergency economic programme. However, public accounting, the collection of customs revenue and the payment of government employees still remain an issue of concern for the EU.
The Council adopted a Decision allowing for distribution of funds from the European Development Fund (EDF) to aid programmes for the Haitian people, aimed at strengthening civil society and the private sector, to support democratisation, strengthening of the rule of law and the electoral process (11347/04).
The Decision was taken in view of political developments in Haiti and in particular the undertakings made by the Haitian provisional government as regards human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. The EU will monitor further developments in the democratisation process, in particular steps towards national elections, expected to be held by mid-2005.
The Council adopted a Decision and a Regulation establishing a double-checking system on exports of steel products from Moldova to the European Community. The Decision, which implements an Agreement between the Community and Moldova, aims to improve transparency and avoid possible diversions of trade. The double-checking system will apply until December 2006 (11511/04 + 11509/11).
The Council adopted a Regulation enabling trade with Bulgaria in certain processed agricultural products to be exempted from duties and enabling tariff quotas to be opened on a yearly basis for certain other goods (11447/04).
The Regulation provides for the exception from duties for the imports of certain processed agricultural products.
The Regulation was adopted by qualified majority, with the Austrian delegation voting against.
The Council adopted a Regulation imposing anti-dumping duties on imports of glyphosate from China (12299/04).
The decision was taken by a qualified majority, with the Netherlands and Swedish delegations voting against.
The Council adopted Rules and Regulations applicable to the European Defence Agency's contractual staff and seconded national experts (12431/04 + 12434/04).
The Council adopted a Regulation regarding the conditions under which products can be re-exported and re-dispatched in the outermost regions of the European Union, in order to encourage economic activity there. These conditions include reimbursement of aid received and payment of import duties (9676/04).
The Council adopted a Decision enabling the ten new Member States to accede to a 2003 Protocol to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (11240/04).
The Decision adapts Decision (EC) 2004/246, requiring the new Member States to be bound by the Protocol and its underlying instruments before the end of December 2005.
The Council adopted a Decision on the position to be taken by the Community at the TIR Convention Administrative Committee on the introduction of electronic control systems for TIR carnets (12046/04).
The Council adopted a common position on a draft Decision establishing a Community programme, eContentplus, aimed at making digital content more accessible, usable and exploitable (10458/04 + ADD 1).
The draft Decision will be transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.
The programme aims to create conditions for broader access to and use of digital content and, where necessary, for greater economic return from services based on access and (re)use of digital content. The common position provides for a budget of EUR 135 million for the period 2005-2008.
The Council adopted a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 2287/2003 in order to extend fishing possibilities for EU vessels in Greenland waters as regards snow crab, cod, Northern prawn and Greenland halibut (also in the North-East Atlantic) (12083/2/04 + 12420/04 ADD1).
Regulation (EC) No 2287/2003 fixes for 2004 the fishing opportunities and associated conditions for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Community waters and, for Community vessels, in waters where limitations in catch are required.
The Regulation has been amended by Regulation (EC No 1245/2004) on fisheries between the European Economic Community, on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the local Government of Greenland, on the other, in order to prepare for the optimal use of fishing possibilities and in particular the transfer by the Member State concerned of the non-utilised fishing opportunities to another Member State, making a request for such a transfer.
The Council adopted Decisions authorising Spain and Portugal to extend their Fisheries Agreements with South Africa until 7 March 2005 (as concerns Spain) and 9 April 2005 (as regards Portugal) (11749/04 and 11773/04).
The Council approved a draft Decision, to be adopted by the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Committee, extending the Community Programme aimed at preventing and combating violence against children, young people and women (Daphne II Programme) to the entire EEA (11879/04).
The Council adopted the replies to the confirmatory applications made by :
On 22 September 2004 the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States appointed Mr Aindrias Ó CAOIMH judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities for the period from the date of his swearing in until 6 October 2009, to replace Ms Fidelma MACKEN, who has resigned (11862/04).
The Council adopted a Decision appointing Mr Peter COLDRICK as a member of the Economic and Social Committee in place of Mr David FEICKERT for the remainder of the latter's term of office, which runs until 20 September 2006 (12058/04).
The Council adopted a Decision appointing:
 COM(2004) 274 final.
 See May Council conclusions on "Better Regulation" and the Presidency progress report on simplification of Community legislation (12339/04).
 "Industrial Policy in an enlarged Europe", 5078/03 - COM (2002) 714 final; "Some Key Issues in Europe's Competitiveness - Towards an Integrated Approach", 15287/03 - COM (2003) 704 final; "Fostering structural change: an industrial policy for an enlarged Europe", 8875/04 - COM (2004) 274 final.
 OJ L 213, 7.9.1995, pp. 1 - 31.
 Some phthalates are used to soften PVC in childcare articles and toys.
 OJ L 262, 27.9.1976, pp. 201 - 203.
 DEHP=bis (2-ethythxyl); DBP= dibutyl phathalate; BBP=benzil butyl phathalate.
 DINP=di-"isononyl"phathalate; DIDP=di-"isodecyl" phathalate;.
 See SEC (2004) 956 at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/score/index_en.htm
 See SEC(2004) 918
 5643/00; OJ C 205, 19.7.2002, p. 1; OJ C 374, 28.12.2000, p.1.
 5643/00; OJ C 205, 19.7.2002, p. 1; OJ C 374, 28.12.2000, p.1.
 OJ C 43, 22.2.2003, p. 1.
 OJ C 250, 18.10.2003, p. 2.
 Which consists of EC and Euratom framework programmes.
 Council conclusions of 19 July 2004 on the Court of Auditors' Special Report 1/2004 on the management of indirect RTD actions under the 5th Framework Programme (FP5) for Research and Technological Development (1998-2002), 10942/04.
 Decision 1513/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 concerning the Sixth Framework Programme (OJ L 232 of 29.8.2004) and Council Decision 2002/834/EC of 30 September 2002 on the Specific Programme "Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area" (OJ L 294 of 29.10.2002).
 The panel was chaired by Professor Ramon Marimon.
 These include:
- clearly classifying the instruments according to the objectives they seek to achieve, with special attention for "Networks of Excellence", establishing clear guidelines and criteria for their use and improving communication to participants;
 See Commission Communication "Science and technology, the key to Europe's future - Guidelines for future European Union policy to support research", 10740/04 - COM (2004)353 final.
 The areas identified by the Commission are as follows:
- Creating European centres of excellence through collaboration between laboratories;
- Launching European technology initiatives, which bring together the main stakeholders to mobilise a critical mass of public and private resources in specific technology areas;
- Stimulating the creativity of basic research through competition between individual teams at European level and defining the appropriate mechanism to support such research (see also Commission communication of 14 January 2004, 5598/04 RECH 9);
- Making Europe more attractive to the world's best researchers;
- Developing research infrastructures of European interest;
- Improving the coordination of national research programmes, building on the successful experience of ERA-NET;
- Consideration of specific action for space and security.
 See Article 173 of the Treaty and Article 4 of Decision 1513/2002/EC on the Sixth Framework Programme (OJ C L 232/1, 29.8.2002).
 See Article 6 of Decision 1513/2002/EC on the Sixth Framework Programme (OJ C L 232/1, of 29.8.2002).
 OJ C 205, 19.7.2000, p. 1, and C 374, 28.12.2000, p. 1.
 OJ C 43, 22.2.2003, p.1.
 OJ C 250, 18.10.2003, p.2.
 Customs Convention on the international transport of goods under cover of TIR carnets.