Today’s Competitiveness Council (Industry) unanimously adopted conclusions on Key Enabling Technologies (cutting-edge technologies) and the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials. During this second day of the meeting in Luxemburg, the EU’s Competitiveness Ministers also exchanged views on the European Industrial Policy, reviewed the state of play of the Single Market Act and adopted a resolution on the European Consumer Agenda.
“With the adoption of Conclusions on cutting-edge technologies, the Council is today sending a strong political message ahead of the upcoming European Council regarding the huge potential that these technologies have for economic growth and the creation of jobs in Europe,” Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis pointed out in the press conference following the end of the meeting, which he presided.
These technologies, such as for example nanotechnology and biotechnology, microelectronics, photonics, biotechnology and advanced materials, contribute to sustainable development and in dealing with important societal and environmental challenges.
Taking into account the unfair competition that European companies face from their competitors on an international level, it was agreed, following a Cyprus Presidency proposal, that the policy of state aid, especially in the case of cutting-edge technologies, should be examined in-depth during the December Competitiveness Council.
Furthermore, with the adoption of Conclusions, the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials has received the green light to officially begin, paving the way for the creation of an all-rounded strategy on the gradual reduction, by 2020, of the EU’s dependency on raw materials imports.
Updating the European Industrial Policy
Additionally, the Competitiveness Ministers exchanged on three recent European Commission Communications, regarding:
- Contribution to growth and economic recovery
- achieving the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector, and
- promoting the cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU.
The ministers agreed with the priority areas that the European Commission had proposed and which require urgent attention due to the financial crisis. These areas deal with encouraging investment in innovation, the deepening of the single market, access to sources of funding and investment in human resources.
Given the significance of the European Industrial Policy in achieving the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy targets, the Cyprus Presidency will present relevant Conclusions during the December Competitiveness Council.
Commitment for the success of the single market
The single market, widely considered as the EU’s greatest achievement, this year celebrates its 20th anniversary and in today’s meeting, the Competitiveness Ministers of the EU reviewed the state of play of the twelve key measures included in the Single Market Act I, examining ways to speed up their adoption. The ministers reiterated their political commitment to the adoption of the key proposals of the Single Market by the end of 2012 and underlined their importance in strengthening growth and competitiveness.
Moreover, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, informed Ministers on the proposals for the Single Market Act II, which was approved on October 3, 2012, and for which, as Minister Sylikiotis pointed out, the Cyprus Presidency aims to draft conclusions for adoption at the December Competitiveness Council.
In today’s meeting, the Council also adopted a resolution on the European Consumer Agenda, with the strengthening of consumer rights constituting a further prerequisite for achieving the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy targets, as consumer expenditure currently accounts for 56% of the EU’s GDP.
“The Consumer Agenda is intended to set clear policy priorities for, inter alia, reinforcing consumer safety and knowledge, improving enforcement and securing redress, and, finally, making policies relevant to daily life, particularly by adapting consumer law to the digital age”, said Minister Sylikiotis.
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