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EU Competitiveness Council (Post-Council Statement)

Volume 520: debated on Thursday 16 December 2010

My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox) has today made the following statement:

“I represented the UK at the EU Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 10 December 2010, which discussed EU internal market and industry items. Andy Lebrecht, the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU represented the UK when I was not in attendance.

One of the main items debated was the Commission proposal for a Council regulation on translation arrangements for an EU patent. Member states were unable to achieve resolution by unanimous agreement and a number of member states made a request to the presidency to take on a process of enhanced co-operation in order to make progress. (Enhanced co-operation can be used as a last resort when unanimous agreement cannot be reached and requires the involvement of a minimum of eight member states, while remaining open to any member state that wishes to participate). The UK was among those who supported this request and endorsed the importance of creating a business-friendly EU patent in order to boost competitiveness. The UK, with a number of other member states, supports the Commission’s three language proposal (English, French and German).

Council conclusions were adopted on a proposal for an EU gambling framework to harmonise regulation in Europe. Council conclusions relating to the Commission’s Single Market Act communication were also agreed after some deliberation. Conclusions on the EU industrial policy flagship initiative were also adopted. All these items were supported by the UK.

On the Commission proposal for a fully harmonised consumer rights directive, the majority of member states have reached agreement on a text. The UK is willing to be flexible in order to reach agreement on a Council position, and expects to endorse the general approach when the text is formally approved at the Environment Council on 20 December.

There were also Any Other Business items comprising an update on the latest EU consumer scoreboard, a Commission report on implementation of the services directive and the mutual evaluation process, a presidency report of a conference on the transposition of EU directives and a presentation by Hungary on their work programme for the forthcoming EU presidency. In the margins of the Council, member states confirmed Prague as the location for the European Agency for the Galileo satellite navigation system.”