Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research)
Meetings of the Competitiveness Council are attended by European Affairs Ministers, Industry Ministers or Research Ministers, depending on the items on the agenda. The Competitiveness Council meets four to six times a year. Three official meetings of the Competitiveness Council are to be held during Finland’s EU Presidency. The meetings will be chaired by Minister of Trade and Industry, Mauri Pekkarinen.
Finland’s aim is to enhance European competitiveness so that the EU can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation and thus generate sustainable economic growth and employment. This will require development of the EU’s internal market, the creation of more favourable conditions for industry and the service sector, and promotion of research and innovation. In July, the informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council, to be held in Jyväskylä, Finland, will discuss how to turn innovations into commercially successful products.
Debate on innovation will continue throughout the Presidency. The aim is to promote innovation policy as a key component of the Lisbon strategy. The intention is to emphasise the importance of efficient markets and demand for innovation. A summary of innovation policy challenges, and a set of related recommendations, will be submitted to the December Competitiveness Council for discussion.
The Service Directive is currently the most important legislative project currently underway. It is also one of the priorities for Finland’s EU Presidency. The Directive sets out to establish a dynamic European market in services by removing barriers to the free movement of services and simplifying administrative procedures. Finland’s objective is to bring negotiations with the European Parliament to a successful conclusion so that the Directive can enter into force as soon as possible.
The Competitiveness Council will also discuss the Commission’s initiative to define a new internal market policy with a view to, e.g., improving the efficiency of the enforcement and implementation of the internal market rules, issues concerning public procurement (remedies to public procurement procedures), industrial property rights (e.g. protection of designs), technical harmonisation (e.g. pyrotechnics and pre-packaging), and consumer issues (e.g. Consumer Credit Directive).
The aim is also to improve the European regulatory environment which has significant impact on growth and employment. This can be achieved by promoting initiatives on better legislation within the EU.
The EU Regulation on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals, REACH, is high on the Presidency’s agenda. Finland’s aim is to have the regulation adopted at the second reading, by the end of the year. The adoption of the Regulation is a prerequisite for the operation of the Chemicals Agency to be established in Helsinki.
Discussion will also continue on certain key factors contributing to companies’ operational environment, such as ways to finance growth, external factors affecting the EU's competitiveness, market access and the report on competitiveness.
As regards innovation policy, the Presidency’s main objective is to bring negotiations on the Seventh Framework Programme for Research 2007-2013 to a successful conclusion so that the programme can be launched at the beginning of 2007. The priorities of the framework programme are: (1) to create, through cooperation, a leading edge capability in the key areas of science and technology, (2) to consolidate expertise in Europe by increasing competition among researchers, (3) to improve education, mobility and career prospects for researchers, and (4) to develop and utilise the EU’s research capacity through, for example, existing research infrastructures, regional cooperation and innovative SMEs.
In July, the informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council, to be held in Jyväskylä, Finland, will discuss ways to turn innovations into commercially successful products. The formal meetings of EU ministers responsible for competitiveness issues will be held in Brussels in September and December. The meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Industry will be held in Rhodes, Greece and the 2006 European Tourism Forum will take place in Cyprus.
In addition to the informal ministerial meeting, Finland will host four civil servant meetings, four conferences or seminars and four fringe events. In addition, a Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility will take place in Brussels.
More on this website:
- Other document, 30 Jun 2006, 18:19
Letter by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mauri Pekkarinen, to his colleagues (competitiveness)
- Other document, 22 Jun 2006, 15:12
Letter of invitation to the informal ministerial meeting on competitiveness