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EU Competitiveness Council (Pre-Council Statement)

Volume 519: debated on Wednesday 24 November 2010

The EU Competitiveness Council will take place in Brussels. Andy Lebrecht, the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU will represent the UK on industry issues on 25 November and I shall represent UK research issues on 26 November.

Industry agenda items will be Commission presentations and discussions on the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives “An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era” and “Innovation Union”; a lunchtime ministerial discussion on the Small Business Act; and European space policy. Research items will comprise adoption of Council conclusions on “Innovation Union”, a progress report on the European research area, and the budgetary position of ITER.

There will be five items taken under any other business for which BIS will be responsible:

(a) Commission presentation of the strategy for clean and energy efficient vehicles;

(b) Joint declaration for electric mobility in Europe;

(c) Commission information concerning space policy from its communication “An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era”;

(d) Commission and presidency information on the European and developing countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP);

(e) Information on research conferences organised by the presidency.

The Government’s main aims will be:

To outline UK priorities for a new EU industrial policy, particularly the importance of open and competitive markets.

To show broad support for the approach adopted for the Innovation Union, but express caution over clarity of the initiative in areas such as political commitments to EU spending beyond 2014 and Commission proposals to develop a European knowledge market for patents and licensing.

To approve agenda for the Space Council and adopt the resolution entitled “Global challenges: taking full benefit of European space systems”.

To express strong support for the Small Business Act, and endorse SME enterprise and competitiveness as vital tools to a sustainable European recovery, economic growth and employment.

Regard European research area items as generally uncontentious for the UK, but express some concern about the Strategic Framework For International S and T co-operation as much of this lies within national competence and there is also limited commitment by most other member states.

To ensure UK views on project management and budget issues are made clear on budgetary issues relating to ITER.