On 10th and 11th December 2012 the Competitiveness Council – largely dedicated to the Internal Market – was held in Brussels.
Ministers discussed on the status of some of the still pending twelve levers, provided for by the Single Market Act (SMA I).
During a public deliberation, the agreement reached in COREPER on 19th November on the package of the single European patent was finally adopted. It consists of two Regulations and agreements for translation. This endorsement, together with the green light given today, 12th December 2012, by the European Parliament in Strasbourg will bring to a formal adoption by the Council by the end of 2012.
Moreover, Ministers discussed on the package on public procurement (general Directive, sectoral Directive and Directive on concessions); they endorsed the general approach to the three proposals of the package, on the basis of texts prepared by the Presidency. It has to be recalled that among the main points of the reform of public procurement there is also the improvement of SMEs’ access to this tool, through the removal of access barriers (simplification of documentation required, creation of a standard document for selection process, call to the authorities to split tenders into lots and the reduction of requirements for participation).
The Council also took note of the progress made in the dossier on professional qualifications recognition and in the negotiations in trilogue on the dispute resolution dossier (ADR-ODR). Finally, Ministers were informed on the changes in the revision of the accounting requirements for companies.
Furthermore, the Competitiveness Council adopted conclusions on the Single Market Act II (SMA II).
As regards to the chapter on industrial policy, Ministers adopted conclusions on the modernization of industrial policy and its contribution to growth and economic recovery. The pillars on which the conclusions are focused are: to stimulate innovative investment and new technologies, to increase investment in skills and people, to improve access to financing and to allow European companies to benefit more from the internal and international market. Ministers discussed then on the situation of the European automotive sector; bearing in mind the recent Action Plan launched specifically by Commissioner Tajani and the presentation of the EC, Ministers exchanged views on the Communication on the modernization of state aid in Europe.
The last item on the agenda was the customs policy. The Council adopted a resolution calling for a new action plan to combat the lack of respect for intellectual property rights. Ministers were informed on the state of the art of the Code Customs Union review and a general partial agreement for the “Customs 2020” program was found.