Press Release - Important decisions made for industrial policy and customs issues
10.12.2012, 15:01 (CET)
The adoption of Conclusions on an update to the European Industrial Policy, the debate on the simplification of state aid rules and the important decisions made regarding customs issues, are among the results of today’s morning session of the Competitiveness Council (Industry), in Brussels.

The modernisation and simplification of state aid rules and their impact on EU competitiveness were among the main issues discussed during the morning session of the Council. All Member States welcomed the initiative of the Cyprus Presidency to include this issue on the Council’s agenda.

The debate held was based on a presentation of the Communication on the reform of state aid policy by 2013. The main objectives of the modernisation of EU state aid rules are to enhance growth within a strengthened and dynamic internal market, to focus the enforcement of legislation in the cases with the greatest impact on the internal market and to simplify the rules for faster decision making.

Updating the European Industrial Policy

The Council also adopted Conclusions on an update to the European Industrial Policy and its contribution to growth and economic recovery, based on the relevant Commission Communication and the views of Member States which were recorded at the Competitiveness Council of October 11.

As explained by Cyprus’ Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis, who chaired the Council, the Conclusions place emphasis “on stimulating investments in innovative and new technologies, allowing EU companies to derive the maximum benefits from the internal market and international markets, improving access to finance, and, finally, increasing investment in people and skills”.

Moreover, during the discussions on industrial policy, the ministers examined the situation of the European automotive industry, in the light of the Commission’s “CARS 2020” action plan.

Important decisions regarding customs issues

The Council agreed on the intensification of efforts to reach a Council position by the end of January regarding the proposal for laying down the Union Customs Code, aiming to make it applicable by June 24 2013 and to avoid the risk of failure of the Customs Union. Additionally, the Council agreed on a partial general approach for establishing the “Customs2020” programme for the period 2014-2020.

“The programme is of particular significance for the harmonisation of national customs legislation, since our joint action within the EU allows for the avoidance of internal market distortions and the protection of the Union’s external borders”, stressed Minister Sylikiotis.

The Ministers also adopted Conclusions on the progress of the strategy for the evolution of the customs union. According to Mr. Sylikiotis, “the Conclusions clearly point out that we must remain dedicated to supporting the EU’s competitiveness, by protecting both the business environment and citizens, facilitating trade and offering high quality services to stakeholders”.

Finally, the ministers also proceeded with the adoption of a resolution to mark the launch of a new EU Action Plan to combat intellectual property right infringements for the period 2013-2017, after first having assessed the report presented by the Commission for the implementation of the plan for the years 2009-2012.

Today’s meeting of the Competitiveness Council will be completed with the afternoon session’s deliberations. A Press Release will be issued immediately after.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Marianna Karageorgis

Coreper I

Telephone: +32 27404002
Mobile: +32 473858237
Communications Officer
George Arotis

Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Tourism

Telephone: +357 22867161

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10.12.2012 - 11.12.2012