The most important achievements of the Cyprus Presidency under the competences of the International Trade (INTA) and the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committees of the European Parliament, were presented today to the Committees’ members by the Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis, who is also responsible for energy matters.
“On international trade, important decisions were made during the last semester and remarkable progress was achieved on a large number of issues, with agreement reached on key dossiers. This allows us to feel that, despite our small size as a country, we have been able to contribute to the formation of conditions conducive to the stimulation of growth and the revival of the EU economy”, stressed Minister Sylikiotis during his presentation before the members of INTA.
Referring to the individual issues, Mr. Sylikiotis noted the conclusion of negotiations, on December 16th, for the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore, the largest trading partner of the EU in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as the important adoption by the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) on November 29th of the Negotiating Mandate for a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan.
Among other things, he pointed to the decision to enter into negotiations to conclude a Comprehensive and Deep Free Trade Area with Morocco, within the context of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, as well as to the conclusion of the EU-Israel Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products. Moreover, he underlined the agreement with the European Parliament for the Regulation on the autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan and for the Regulations implementing the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas under the trade agreement with Colombia and Peru and the association agreement with Central America, while also noting the conclusion of these agreements.
Actions and policies for industry and energy
Minister Sylikiotis assured the members of ITRE that for the crucial policy pillars of industry and energy, “the Cyprus Presidency has worked, during the last six months, honestly, consistently and tirelessly for a better and more inclusive Europe, first and foremost for its citizens. It has worked for a Europe that will rediscover its path to prosperity, growth, progress and social cohesion”.
As one of the great achievements of the Cyprus Presidency, Mr. Sylikiotis described the agreement reached, after four decades of discussions, for the Unitary Patent Protection package. In addition, he noted the conclusions adopted by the Competitiveness Council of October 11th on Key Enabling Technologies, which include microelectronics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, photonics, nanotechnology and intelligent manufacturing systems. “Within this framework, the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials was also adopted and the development of the relevant strategic plan of action was launched”, he added.
The Cypriot Minister of Commerce also mentioned the Conclusions adopted at the Competitiveness Council of December 10th on the update of the European Industrial Policy, explaining that they “call for the need to strengthen the role of industry in the EU, with a view to achieving sustainable growth, creating high-value jobs and solving the social challenges that we currently face”.
Achievement of energy targets
Referring to the importance of reaching agreement at first reading with the European Parliament on the proposed Regulation on the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure, Minister Sylikiotis said that it will allow the timely selection of projects of common interest and the preparation of the first pan-European list within 2013, while also contributing to the completion of the internal energy market by 2014 and the alleviation of the energy isolation of all Member States by 2015.
In addition, with regard to the achievement of the Cyprus Presidency’s energy targets, the Minister pointed out that during its six-month term “Council Conclusions were adopted on Renewable Energy Sources, considerable progress has been achieved on the proposed Directive on safety of offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities and the process for the adoption of the Regulation regarding Energy Star, the programme for the labeling of office equipment that can contribute to the achievement of the strategic goal of 20% energy efficiency by 2020, was concluded”.
Finally, the Minister of Commerce noted the unanimous adoption of a Joint Declaration at the Ministerial Meeting on Energy Cooperation between the EU Member States and countries of the Southeastern Mediterranean region, which was co-organized by the Cyprus Presidency and the European Commission in Cyprus on December 13th. As he pointed out, the Joint Declaration includes the guidelines agreed by the participating countries regarding “the safety and environmental protection during offshore hydrocarbon activities and for enhancing the security of energy supply to and from Europe and the Southeastern Mediterranean”.