Besluiten Raad Concurrentievermogen 20 en 21 februari 2012 (en) - EU monitor

EU monitor
Dinsdag 22 september 2020
kalender

Besluiten Raad Concurrentievermogen 20 en 21 februari 2012 (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad) i, gepubliceerd op dinsdag 21 februari 2012.

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

PROVISIONAL VERSION

items taken on 20 February only PRESSE 56 PR CO 8

PRESS RELEASE

3147th Council meeting

Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space)

Brussels, 20-21 February 2012

President Mr Ole SOHN

Minister for Business and Growth of Denmark

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

Main results of the Council

The Council discussed the Europe 2020 strategy for growth andjobs in relation to the Commission's Annual Growth Survey, in preparation of the EU Spring summit on 1 and 2 March.

It held public deliberations on three priority areas, included in the Single Market Act, which are designed to help EU companies increase their competitiveness and their ability to create jobs:

- the reform of accounting rules, with a specific focus on a proposal for transparency on payments made to governments;

- the modernisation of the public procurement policy; and

- the improvement of SME's access to finance through the establishment of an EU passport for the managers of venture capital funds and social entrepreneurship funds.

The Council adopted conclusions on the smart regulation agenda, which is aimed at simplifying the regulatory environment in which EU enterprises operate, with a strong focus on end users.

Delegations also took note of information by the Presidency on the state of play concerning the patents package.

PROVISIONAL VERSION

CONTTS1

20.-21.11.2012

PARTICIPANTS................................................................................................................................4

ITEMS DEBATED

ANNUAL GROWTH SURVEY: PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPRING EUROPEAN COUNCIL............................................................................................................................................7

REFORM OF PUBLIC PROCUREMT POLICY..........................................................................9

REVIEW OF ACCOUNTING REQUIREMTS FOR COMPANIES..........................................11

VTURE CAPITAL FUNDS AND SOCIAL TREPREURSHIP FUNDS.........................13

SMART REGULATION AGDA - Council conclusions..............................................................14

ANY OTHER BUSINESS.................................................................................................................15

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

TRANSPORT

— Interoperability of European railways - telematics applications for freight services.............................................16

— Common rail safety targets....................................................................................................................................16

FOOD LAW

— Food colours - Control of dioxins and other contaminants in foodstuffs...............................................................17

CULTURE

— European Heritage Label panel - Appointments....................................................................................................17

Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks. Documents for which references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site (http://www.consilium.europa.eu)

Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements are available on the Council's Internet site or may be obtained from the Press Office

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

PARTICIPANTS

Belgium:

Mr Johan VANDE LANOTTE Mr Jean-Marc NOLLET Mr Kris PEETERS

Mr Paul MAGNETTE

Bulgaria:

Ms Julieta HUBOVA Mr Peter STEFANOV

Czech Republic:

Mr Martin TLAPA Mr Ivan WILHELM

Denmark:

Mr Ole SOHN

Mr Morten 0 S TERG AARD

Mr Michael DITHMER

Germany:

Mr Peter LflNTZE

Ms Birgit GRUNDMANN Mr Georg SCHÜTTE

Estonia:

Mr Gert ANTSU Ireland:

Mr Richard BRUTON Mr Sean SHERLOCK

Greece:

Mr Andreas PAPASTAVROU Spain:

Ms Carmen VELA

Mr José Pascual MARCO MARTINEZ France:

Mr Jean LEONETTI

Mr Philippe LEGLISE-COSTA Italy:

Mr Enzo MOAVERO MILANESI Mr Francesco PROFUMO

Cyprus:

Mr George ZODIATES Latvia:

Mr Daniels PAVLUTS Ms Mareks GRUSKEVICS

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, Consumers and the North Sea

Vice-President and Minister for Children, Research and the Civil Service

Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for the Economy, Foreign Policy, Agriculture and Rural Policy

Minister for Public Undertakings, Science Policy and Development Cooperation, with responsibility for the Large Cities

Deputy Minister for Economy, Energy and Tourism Deputy Permanent Representative

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade

Deputy Minister for Research and Higher Education

Minister for Business Affairs and Growth Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Permanent Secretary of State, Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs

Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for

Economic Affairs and Technology

State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice

State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and

Research

Deputy Permanent Representative

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Innovation (Departments of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Education and Skills)

Deputy Permanent Representative

State Secretary for Research, Development and Innovation Deputy Permanent Representative

Minister with responsibility for European Affairs, attached to the Ministre d'Etat, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs

Deputy Permanent Representative

Minister for European Affairs

Minister for Education, Universities, and Research

Deputy Permanent Representative Minister of Economics

State secretary, Ministry of Education and Science

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.11.2012

Lithuania:

Mr Giedrius KADZIAUSKAS Ms Nerija PUTINAITE

Luxembourg:

M. Etienne SCHNEIDER Ms Michèle EISBARTH

Hungary:

Mr Zoltan CSÉFALVAY

Malta:

Mr Jason AZZOPARDI

Netherlands:

Mr Derk OLDBURG

Austria:

Mr Karlheinz TÖCHTERLE Mr Harald GÜNTHER

Poland:

Ms Barbara KUDRYCKA Mr Andrzej DYCHA

Portugal:

Mr Carlos OLIVEIRA

Ms Maria Leonor PARREIRA Romania:

Mr Dragos Mihael CIUPARU

Mr CristianBADESCU

Slovenia:

Mr Uros VAJGL

Slovakia:

Mr Peter .TAVORCIK Finland:

Mr Lauri IHALAIN Mr Jyri HAKAMIES

Sweden:

Ms Ewa BJÖRLPNG Mr Stefan ATTEFALL Mr Peter HONETH

United Kingdom:

Mr Norman LAMB

Mr Andy LEBRECHT

Vice Minister of Economy

Deputy Minister for Education and Science

Minister for Economic Affairs and Foreign Trade Représentant Permanent adjoint

Minister of State for Strategic Affairs, Ministry for National Economy

Minister for Fair Competition, Small Business and Consumers

Deputy Permanent Representative

Federal Minister for Science and Research Deputy Permanent Representative

Minister for Science and Higher Education Deputy Minister of Economy

State Secretary for Entrepreneurship, Competitiveness and Innovation

State Secretary for Science

State Secretary, President of the National Authority for

Scientific Research

Deputy Permanent Representative

Deputy Permanent Representative

Deputy Permanent Representative

Minister ofLabour

Minister od Economic Affairs

Minister for Trade

Minister for Public Administration and Housing State Secretary responsible for higher education and research, Ministry of Education

Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs

Deputy Permanent Representative

Commission:

Mr Antonio TAJANI Vice President

Mr Michel BARNIER Member

Ms Androulla VASSILLIOU Member

Ms Maire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN Member

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

The Government of the Acceding State was represented as follows:

CROATIA

Mr Zeljko JOVANOVIC

Ms Tamara OBRADOVIC MAZAL

Minister of Science, Education and Sports Deputy Minister of Economy

PROVISIONAL VERSION   20 -21 112012

ITEMS DEBATED

ANNUAL GROWTH SURVEY: PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPRING EUROPEAN COUNCIL

The Council discussed the Annual Growth Survey 2012, as a part of all relevant Council deliberations in preparation for the Spring European Council on 1 and 2 March

It put emphasis on the measures that, under the remits of the Competitiveness Council, can improve the economic performance and create added value on both short and long term, including:

  • the promotion of competitiveness through sustainable growth, which implies concrete deliverable actions by the Digital Single Market and the internal market for services, as well as helping EU companies in developing their external trade potential;
  • to facilitate access to finance to European companies, which includes increasing the use of financial instruments such as loan guarantees and venture capital investments; and
  • modernising the public administration, namely by simplifying the business regulatory environment and by facilitating e-Government initiatives

Last November the Commission published the Growth Survey for 2012, which is an analysis of the progress on the Europe 2020 targets for the creation of economic growth and jobs

In order to encourage growth and competitiveness, the communication recommends that EU and national level efforts should focus on the following five priorities: pursuing differentiated, growth-friendly fiscal consolidation; restoring normal lending to the economy; promoting growth and competitiveness; tackling unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis; and modernising public administrations

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

The Annual Growth Survey launches the European semester, which makes part of a new governance architecture to review member states' budgetary and structural policies in order to detect inconsistencies and emerging imbalances. The aim is to reinforce coordination while major budgetary decisions are still under preparation

The Spring European Council will identify the main economic challenges facing the EU and give strategic advice. Taking this guidance into account, the member states will present their budgetary strategies in their stability and convergence programs. At the same time, they will draw up national reform programs setting out the action to be undertaken to strengthen their policies in several areas

PROVISIONAL VERSION

REFORM OF PUBLIC PROCUREMT POLICY

20.-21.II.2012

The Council held an orientation debate on the modernisation of the public procurement policy

It was the first ministerial debate since the presentation by the Commission, in December 2011, of the proposals for a major overhaul of public procurement rules across the EU

The outcome of the debate provides guidance for the continuation of technical work. The intermediate target is to reach an agreement on the main principles of the reform at the Competitiveness Council in May, with the final purpose of getting the reform approved in co-legislation with the European Parliament before the end of 2012

The three proposals for modernising public procurement are:

  • a draft directive setting up the new legislative framework (replacing directive /EC) ():
  • a draft directive on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services (replacing directive /EC) (): and
  • a draft directive on the award of concession contracts ().

The revision of the current public procurement rules, which date back to 2004, is one of the twelve key priority actions contained in the "Single Market Act1,1

The debate focused on the new general legal framework. More specifically, it concentrated in two aspects put forward by the Presidency ():

1 http://ec.europa.eu/internal market/smact/index en.htm

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

1. The degree offlexibility that should apply in the use of competitive procedures with negotiation.

A majority of delegations stated that it should be possible a larger use of negotiated procedures in public contracts, and that certain safeguards should also be put in place in order to guarantee equal treatment for tenders. Some other delegations would prefer a limited use to this procedure in accordance with the Commission proposal

Compared to the current rules, the Commission proposes to increase the list of cases in which member states may allow for the competitive procedure with negotiation, but not at to the extent to provide for unrestricted access to this procedure

2. Rules for certain categories of services: social, cultural, health, etc.

Many of delegations emphasised that the new system should reach the right balance between promoting efficiency through competition in contract awards and delivering on the objective of lighter public procurement rules for certain services

The Commission proposes to abolish the current distinction applying to certain services that can be externalised (social, cultural, health, education, etc.), so that standard rules would apply to all services unless explicitly exempted

PROVISIONAL VERSION   20 -21 112012

REVIEW OF ACCOUNTING REQUIREMTS FOR COMPANIES

The Council held an orientation debate on the review of the accounting rules applicable to EU companies, specifically dealing with reporting on payments to governments

The outcome of the debate provides guidance for the continuation of technical work with the purpose is to reach an agreement on the simplification of the accounting requirements directive by the end of 2012, in line with a request made by the European Council

The proposal for payments to goverments (also referred to as country-by-country reporting) is part of the Commission's "socially responsible business" strategy. It is therefore included in the draft directive that will replace the current "accounting directives" ().

The "accounting directives" deal with the annual and consolidated financial statements of limited liability companies in Europe. These are:

  • the Fourth Council Directive on the annual accounts of certain types of companies (78/660/EEC), of 25 July 1978), and
  • the Seventh Council Directive on consolidated accounts (83/349/EEC), of 13 June 1983

The new draft directive, which was presented last December as part of the priority actions of the Single Market Act, is to be approved in co-decision with the European Parliament

The key objectives of the proposed review are:

  • the reduction of administrative burden and the application of simplified accounting rules for SMEs;
  • to increase the clarity and comparability of financial statements; and
  • to enhance transparency on payments made to governments by the extractive industry and loggers of primary forest

Based on a Presidency questionnaire (), the discussion focused on the last-named objective

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

In order to promote governments' accountability, transparency and good governance, the proposal introduces new reporting requirements for large undertakings and all public interest entities active in the extractive industry or in the logging of primary forests. The draft directive proposes that these companies shall disclose the payments they make to governments in each country where they operate and for each project

The ministerial discussion showed that there is a clear acceptance of the objective to improve transparency in this field. Some delegations, however, expressed the need to examine the proposal in more detail as well as the need to take into consideration every angle of the impact that the proposed legislation will have on the competitiveness of European undertakings

A large number of delegations expressed concerns about reporting on a "project" level. In addition, most delegations expressed preference to include a definition of "materiality" in the future directive

12

PROVISIONAL VERSION   20 -21 112012

VTURE CAPITAL FUNDS AND SOCIAL TREPREURSHIP FUNDS

The Council held an orientation debate on draft regulations concerning European Venture Capital Funds () and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds ().

The proposals were submitted last December and are part of the Single Market Act and of the Commission's action plan to improve access to finance for SMEs ().

Ministers endorsed the overall objective of the proposals and committed to a swift calendar for starting negotiations with the European Parliament, with a view to reaching an agreement by June 2012, as requested by the European Council ().

The overall objective of the proposals is to foster the growth of SMEs by improving their access to finance through the establishment of an EU wide passport to venture capital fund (EuVECA) and social entrepreneurship fund (EuSEF) managers in relation to the marketing of their funds

The proposals introduce uniform requirements for the managers of collective investment undertakings that want to operate under the EU wide passport. They introduce requirements as to the investment portfolio, investment techniques and eligible undertakings that a qualifying fund may target. They also introduce uniform rules on which categories of investors a qualifying fund may target and on the internal organisation of the managers that market such qualifying funds. Identical substantive rules across the EU will help create a level playing field for all market participants

The Commission introduced separate draft regulations for EuVECA and EuSEF, as the nature of these two types of funds are different. EuVECA normally focus on providing equity finance to SMEs in the start-up phase of business, whereas EuSEF often have a larger range of qualifying investment tools available, such as combined public and private sector finance, debt instruments or small loans

Venture capital funds are operators that provide mostly equity finance to companies that are generally very small, in the initial stages of their corporate development. In the EU, venture capital funding has high, but largely unexploited, potential. SMEs backed by venture capital can create high-quality jobs, as venture capital supports the creation of innovative businesses

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

SMART REGULATION AGDA - Council conclusions

The Council adopted conclusions () on a future smart regulation agenda with a strong focus on end-users: businesses, especially SMEs and micro-enterprises, consumers, public administrations, etc

By means of these conclusions, the Council will call on the Commission to further improve the smart regulation agenda by, among other things, keeping end-users in mind and involving them in evaluations of regulation in order to identify excessive burdens, inconsistencies, obsolete and ineffective measures, in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden

14

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

ANY OTHER BUSINESS Unitary patent protection

The Presidency recalled the statement made on 30 January by the heads of state and government of the member states participating in the enhanced cooperation for the creation of unitary patent protection to reaching a final agreement on the last outstanding issue in the patent package at the latest in June 2012 (5/12. point 4).

It highlighted the significant benefits that the new system will provide to the European companies in terms of innovation potential, economic savings and legal certainty, and committed to strive for facilitating a final compromise

Several delegations and the Commission urged the finalisation of a draft agreement by the member states for establishing a Unified Patent Court

Last December the Council and the Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the two draft regulations implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection

The third pillar of the patent system, the creation of a Unified Patent Court that would judge patent litigation cases, is still pending of final agreement on the seat of the Court

15

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED TRANSPORT

Interoperability of European railways - telematics applications for freight services

The Council decided not to oppose the adoption by the Commission of a regulation amending the technical specification for interoperability relating to the subsystem "telematics applications for freight services" of the trans-European rail system ().

The amendment updates the modalities of application of this technical specification and the rules on management of change, to be applied by railway undertakings, infrastructure managers and wagon keepers

The draft regulation is subject to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny; now that the Council has given its consent, the Commission may adopt it, unless the European Parliament objects

Common rail safety targets

The Council decided not to oppose the adoption by the Commission of a decision on common safety targets for the rail system ().

The common safety targets (CSTs) define the safety levels that must at least be reached by the rail system, expressed in quantitative risk acceptance criteria for different risk categories such as risks to passengers, staff, level crossing users or the society as a whole

The decision is based on the experience gained from the implementation of a first set of CSTs, which were adopted in 2010 and are now to be replaced by this second set

The draft legal act is subject to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny; now that the Council has given its consent, the Commission may adopt it, unless the European Parliament objects

PROVISIONAL VERSION

20.-21.II.2012

FOOD LAW

Food colours - Control of dioxins and other contaminants in foodstuffs

The Council decided not to oppose the adoption by the Commission of two draft regulations:

  • amending annex II to regulation as regards the conditions of use and the use levels for the food colours Quinoline Yellow (E 104), Sunset Yellow FSF/Orange Yellow S (E 110) and Ponceau 4R, Cochineal Red A (E 124) (/11 REV 2); and
  • laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of levels of dioxins, dioxin4ike PCBs and non dioxin4ike PCBs in certain foodstuffs ().

These draft regulations are subject to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This means that now that the Council has given its consent, the Commission may adopt them, unless the European Parliament objects

CULTURE

European Heritage Label panel - Appointments

The Council appointed Mr Francisco Prado-Vilar, Ms Csilla Hegedüs, Ms Irma Grigaitiené and Mr Michel Thomas-Penette, as members of the European panel that will be responsible for selecting the sites to be awarded the European Heritage Label ().

The European Heritage Label may be granted to sites which have a strong symbolic - and not only esthetical - value, in terms of European history and heritage (such as monuments, natural, underwater, archaeological, industrial or urban sites, cultural objects, etc). It aims at strengthening European citizens' sense of belonging to Europe, especially among young people

17