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THE EUROPEAN UNION
6964/06 (Presse 65)
2715th Council Meeting
Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry and Research)
Brussels, 13 March 2006
President Mr Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour and
Ms Elisabeth Gehrer, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture
Main Results of the Council
The Council approved a key issues paper containing a set of policy recommendations for improving European competitiveness, to be submitted to the Spring European Council.
It adopted conclusions on small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Council reached agreement on a partial general approach on a proposal for establishing a competitiveness and innovation framework programme for 2007-2013.
The Council took stock of developments as regards the draft directive on services in the internal market.
The Council held an exchange of views on specific programmes proposed for implementing the 7th research framework programme.
It also adopted, without discussion, a resolution on a customs response to latest trends in counterfeiting and piracy.
PREPARATION OF THE SPRING EUROPEAN COUNCIL 6
SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES - Council conclusions 7
COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME 13
SERVICES IN THE INTERNAL MARKET 14
NEW EU CUSTOMS CODE 15
7th RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME: SPECIFIC PROGRAMMES AND RULES FOR PARTICIPATION 16
OTHER BUSINESS 18
– EU - Latin America/Caribbean summit 18
– Motor vehicles: emissions and access to vehicle repair information 18
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
Vehicles - Approval of mechanical components - Re-treaded tyres 19
Counterfeiting and piracy - Council resolution 19
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan - Textiles agreements 21
Agreement with Solomon Islands 21
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
Mr Marc VERWILGHEN Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy, Foreign Trade and Scientific Policy
Mr Martin TLAPA Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade
Mr Petr KOLÁŘ Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Bilateral Relations
Mr Bendt BENDTSEN Minister for Economic Affairs, Trade and Industry
Mr Helge SANDER Minister for Science, Technology and Development
Mr Michael GLOS Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Technology
Mr Joachim WÜRMELING State Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology
Mr Thomas RACHEL Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Education and Research
Mr Edgar SAVISAAR Minister for Economic Affairs and Communications
Mr Christos FOLIAS State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Finance
Mr Anastasios NERATZIS State Secretary for Development
Mr José MONTILLA AGUILERA Minister for Industry, Tourism and Trade
Ms María Jesús SAN SEGUNDO GÓMEZ DE CADIÑANOS Minister for Education and Science
Mr Alberto NAVARRO GONZÁLEZ State Secretary for the European Union
Mr Christian MASSET Deputy Permanent Representative
Mr Micheál MARTIN Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Mr Giorgio LA MALFA Minister without portfolio, Minister for Community policies
Mr Claudio SCAJOLA Minister for Production Activities
Mr Guido POSSA Deputy Minister for Education, the Universities and Research
Mr Andreas PETRONDAS Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
Mr Arturs Krišjānis KARIŅŠ Minister for Economic Affairs
Ms Ina DRUVIETE Minister for Education and Science
Mr Nerijus EIDUKEVIČIUS Deputy Minister for the Economy
Mr Raimundas MOCKELIŪNAS Deputy Minister for Education and Science
Mr François BILTGEN Minister for Labour and Employment, Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research, Minister for Religious Affairs
Mr Jeannot KRECKÉ Minister for Economic Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister for Sport
Mr Etele BARÁTH Minister without portfolio responsible for European Affairs
Mr Miklós BODA State Secretary
Mr Censu GALEA Minister for Competitiveness and Communications
Mr Laurens Jan BRINKHORST Minister for Economic Affairs
Ms Maria van der HOEVEN Minister for Education, Culture and Science
Mr Martin BARTENSTEIN Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour
Ms Elisabeth GEHRER Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture
Mr Piotr Grzegorz WOŹNIAK Minister for Economic Affairs
Mr Michał SEWERYŃSKI Minister for Education and Science
Mr Manuel PINHO Minister for Economic Affairs and Innovation
Mr José MARIANO GAGO Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education
Mr Andrej VIZJAK Minister for the Economy
Mr Janez MOŽINA State Secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology
Mr László POMOTHY State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy
Mr Juraj NOCIAR Deputy Permanent Representative
Mr Mauri PEKKARINEN Minister for Trade and Industry
Mr Leif PAGROTSKY Minister for Education, Research and Culture
Mr Thomas ÖSTROS Minister for Industry
Mr Barry GARDINER Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Competitiveness
Mr Günter VERHEUGEN Vice-President
Ms Neelie KROES Member
Mr László KOVÁCS Member
Mr Janez POTOČNIK Member
The Governments of the Acceding States were represented as follows:
Mr Rumen OVCHAROV Minister for Economy and Energy
Ms Ekaterina VITKOVA Deputy Minister for Education and Science
Mr Anton ANTON State Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Research
Mr Adrian CIOCANEA State Secretary, Ministry of European Integration
The Council held an exchange of views on the state of play regarding the re-launched Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs on the basis of the Commission's annual progress report, which contains information provided by member states on their national reform programmes (5745/06).
In this context, the Council also approved a contribution (key issues paper) to be submitted to the European Council on 23-24 March. The key issues paper formulates a set of policy recommendations in crucial areas for improving European competitiveness. The Council's contribution concentrates on issues arising from the Commission's progress report which fall within the scope of the Competitiveness Council:
The Council held an exchange of views on the Commission's communication on modern SME policy for growth and employment (14434/05).
The debate took place against the background of a questionnaire drawn up by the presidency (6594/1/06) in the context of the implementation of the Lisbon programme. It concentrated on initiatives to simplify and accelerate administrative procedures for setting up new companies in Europe, and on possible measures to integrate the "think small first" principle proposed by the Commission into all Community policies in order to unlock the full potential of SMEs.
Following the exchange of views, the Council adopted the following conclusions:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION:
The Council reached unanimous agreement on a partial general approach on a proposal for establishing a competitiveness and innovation framework programme (CIP) for 2007-2013.
The agreement was reached on the objectives, instruments and content of the CIP pending the opinion of the European Parliament and the final agreement on the financial perspectives for the seven-year period.
The agreed text on the partial general approach builds upon results achieved under previous presidencies and includes inter alia the following main features:
The future framework programme is intended to contribute to the enhancement of competitiveness and innovation capacity in the EU with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, in line with the goals of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs.
The CIP brings together existing specific programmes into a unified framework under three pillars: the Entrepreneurship and Innovation programme, the Information and communications technology policy support programme and the Intelligent Energy-Europe programme (8081/05).
The Council took note of an oral progress report by the presidency following the informal debate of the competitiveness ministers on 12 March on the outcome of the vote in the European Parliament on the draft directive on services in the internal market.
On 16 February, the European Parliament voted at first reading on the draft directive on services (6275/06) and agreed on significant amendments to the original proposal. The outcome of the vote can be summarised as follows:
The Commission is expected to submit a revised proposal in April. Following this, the Council will resume its deliberations with a view to reaching an agreement on a Council common position. The common position will then be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading, in accordance with the codecision procedure.
The Commission submitted its original proposal on services in January 2004, with the objective of providing a legal framework to eliminate obstacles to freedom of establishment for service providers and free movement of services within the EU, giving both providers and recipients of services the legal certainty required to exercise these two principles enshrined in the treaty. Work in the Council at technical level advanced during 2004-2005 clarifying the provisions contained in the Commission proposal as well as the positions of the Member States, while awaiting the opinion of the European Parliament.
The Council took note of a presentation by the Commission on a draft regulation aimed at modernising the EU's customs code (15380/05).
The code lays down the general rules and customs procedures applicable to goods traded between the Community and third countries.
The proposed regulation is intended to replace the existing Community customs code, which dates back to 1992, in order to adapt it to changes in the environment in which international trade is conducted.
The Commission proposal provides for a general reform of the customs code. It addresses issues concerning the requirements of an electronic environment for customs and trade, the simplification of customs rules, and the changing nature of the tasks performed by the customs authorities. The simplification of legislation and administration procedures, from the point of view of both customs authorities and traders, endeavours to:
The Council held an exchange of views on five of the seven specific programmes proposed for implementing the 7th research framework programme (FP7). It also took note of a progress report, followed by an exchange of views, on the rules for participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under FP7.
The Council instructed the permanent representatives committee to continue the examination of the Commission proposals bearing in mind the guidance given by the Council and in the light of the opinions that will be delivered by the European Parliament and the outcome of the ongoing discussions on the long-term financial perspective.
The debate took place on the basis of compromise proposals for the following specific programmes:
The debate focused on the following:
Following the exchange of views a large degree of consensus was
reached on the abovementioned specific programmes.
The Council, at its meeting on 28 November 2005, reached agreement on a partial general approach on FP7 for research, technological development and demonstration activities for the years 2007 to 2013, including the separate "Euratom" decision (which runs until 2011).
The remaining specific programmes, "People" (human resources) and "Capacities" (potential research capacities of small and medium enterprises), will be examined at a later stage.
As far as the rules for participation are concerned, the exchange of views on the draft regulation laying down rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under FP7 and for the dissemination of research results (2007-2013), took place on the basis of a report prepared by the presidency reflecting the current state of play (6958/06).
The rules on participation define the conditions, rights and obligations of legal entities wishing to take part in FP7 and establish principles for the use and dissemination of research results.
The Commission presented its proposal, which is part of the FP7 legislative package, on 3 January (5057/06).
On 7 February, the Commission also submitted a proposal for the corresponding rules on participation in the 7th "Euratom" framework programme (6185/06). This proposal will be examined at a later stage.
* * *
Over lunch, EU research ministers listened to a presentation by the Commission on its communication to the European Council in relation to the setting up of a European Technology Institute (6844/06).
They also listened to a presentation by Esko Aho, chairman of the independent expert group which drew up a report on "Creating an innovative Europe" following the informal Hampton Court summit.
The Council took note of a report by the presidency on the preparation of the 4th EU-Latin American and Caribbean summit as regards science and technology cooperation. The summit, involving heads of state and government, civil society and the business community from both regions, will take place in Vienna on 11 and 12 May (6384/06).
The Council took note of information from the German delegation on the draft regulation on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions and on access to vehicle repair information ("Euro 5") (7158/06).
The Council (ministers for the environment) held a policy debate on 9 March on this proposal (see press release 6762/06, p. 9).
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
The Council adopted decisions :
The Council adopted the following resolution on a customs response to latest trends in counterfeiting and piracy:
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
The Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to modify provisions on trade in textiles contained in the EU's partnership and cooperation agreements with both countries in order to take account of the expiry of its bilateral textiles agreements with both countries.
The Council adopted a regulation approving a partnership agreement between the EU and the Solomon Islands on fishing off Solomon Islands (5290/06).
The agreement provides for economic, financial, technical and scientific cooperation in the fisheries sector with a view to guaranteeing the conservation and sustainable exploitation of resources, as well as partnerships between undertakings aimed at developing economic activities in the fisheries sector and related activities of common interest. It will apply for three years from the date of its entry into force and it will be automatically renewable for additional periods of three years.
The regulation also determines the allocation of fishing opportunities among the member states set out in a protocol to the agreement. They are expressed in vessel numbers (6 surface longliners for Spain and 4 for Portugal) and percentage of fishing possibilities for freezer tuna seiners (75% of fishing possibilities for Spain and 25% for France).
The financial contribution is set at EUR 400 000 per year.
 5990/05 ECOFIN 28 SOC 34 AG 4 MI 6 COMPET 14 IND 8 RECH 14 EDUC 11 ENV 43.
 Council Recommendation 2005/601/EC on the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States, O.J. L 205, 06.08.2005, p.28-37.
 11618/05 ECOFIN 261 SOC 322 AG 19 MI 107 COMPET 165 IND 47 RECH 163 EDUC 121 ENV 374 TELECOM 83 REGIO 46.
 6811/05 (Presse 42), p.10.
 14155/05 (Presse 287), p.9.
 8584/1/04 REV 1 COMPET 29 REV 30 POLGEN 8, 7134/05 POLGEN 12 COMPET 42 RECH 50.
 14434/05 ECOFIN 351 COMPET 247.
 8087/05 RECH 80 ATO 45 COMPET 68 CODEC 266.
 8081/05 COMPET 67 RECH 78 ENER 55 ENV 164 TELECOM 27 ECO 124 CODEC 264.
 Consultation with stakeholders in the shaping of national and regional policies affecting small businesses (Best Procedure Project, October 2005).
 A partial general approach enables the Council to determine non-budgetary elements of proposals which are linked to the ongoing negotiations on the financial perspectives for the period 2007-2013. It leaves open the possibility of adjusting agreed parts of a proposal should that be necessary following agreement on budgetary amounts.
 COM(2005) 479 final.
 Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 of 22 July 2003 concerning customs action against goods suspected of infringing certain intellectual property rights and the measures to be taken against goods found to have infringed such rights, OJ L 196 of 2.8.2003, p.7.