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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
The Competitiveness Council has paved the way for concrete progress for the citizens and enterprises

Date of release : 18-04-2005

Policy area : Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research) Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research)

Event : Competitiveness Council

During the "Competitiveness" Council in Luxembourg on Monday, 18 April, Jeannot Krecké, Minister for the Economy and Foreign Trade, chaired the first part of the working session.

Among the A items on the agenda, the Council adopted several directives. According to Minister Krecké, the "unfair trade practices" directive will contribute to bolstering consumer protection. In another development, the purpose of the "optical radiation" directive will be to protect exposed workers from the harmful effects of optical radiation in their workplace. Finally, in the context of automobile driver liability due to traffic accidents, the harmonisation of insurance directive will "help improve the situation of highway victims," particularly when they are of different nationalities.  

Minister Krecké stated that the Ministers of the European Union "had a broad exchange of views" on the European Commission’s Communication entitled "Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union." According to the Minister, "the various countries saluted the Commission’s approach," underscoring that the Member States "expressed interest in continuing to be involved."

This Communication contributes to supporting the process of improving European Union regulations by strengthening the evaluation of economic repercussions in the analysis of the impact the European Commission’s proposals have, and the national legislation of Member States as well, by stimulating a constructive dialogue among the European Union’s legislative bodies, the Member States, and the other stakeholders, and by establishing priorities to simplify community legislation. Based on the questionnaire that the European Union Presidency submitted, the Ministers set the priority actions to be carried out at the Member-State level and discussed the appropriate mechanisms for improved coordination. According to Jeannot Krecké, "no politicians are against such measures of simplification."

The Council also followed closely the Commission’s presentation of its new competitiveness and innovation programme (2007-2013). This comprehensive programme was introduced at the same time as the 7th Research and Development Framework Programme (2007-2013) which it complements.

The competitiveness and innovation programme, with a total budget of more than 4 billion euro, consists of various sub-programmes that aim to strengthen the innovation capacity of enterprises in the European Union and to improve the regulatory framework with regard to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Thus, for example, the "ICT Policy Support" programme (802 million euro) seeks to achieve objectives inherent in the existing e-TEN, Modinis, and e-Content Community programmes, in keeping with the i2010 strategy (European Information Society 2010), which the Commission will look at again at a later stage. The "Intelligent Energy - Europe" programme, with a budget of 780 million euro, aims to support the development of environmental technologies. For example, it will contribute to fostering the reduction of greenhouse gas effects in the transport sector and even the use of renewable energies. Finally, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, in the amount of 2.6 million euro, covers the financial instruments of the Multiannual Programme for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and the components of the environmental programme LIFE.

Among the new measures, this competitiveness and innovation programme facilitates access to venture capital for high-growth enterprises that innovate and aims to increase the capacity of regional banks to make loans to SMEs. By opting for the creation of single windows for services for SMEs, the programme also strengthens the role of innovation and support networks for enterprises. Finally, it promotes better cooperation among innovation activities carried out on the national and regional scale.

The Minister concluded by indicating that the Council discussed basic policies for the sustainability of European tourism.

This page was last modified on : 22-04-2005

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