My noble Friend, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment (joint with Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Lord Green, has today made the following statement:
The EU Competitiveness Council will take place in Brussels on 10 and 11 December 2012. I shall represent the UK on internal market and industry issues on 10 December, and the Minister for Universities and Science, my right hon. Friend Mr Willetts will represent the UK on research issues on 11 December.
The internal market and industry substantive agenda items on 10 December will be: a progress report on recognition of professional qualifications; a general approach on the public procurement package; an orientation debate/general approach on the union customs code (recast); a partial general approach establishing an action programme for customs in the European Union for the period 2014-20; a presidency report on the state of play of the accounting directive; a presidency report on the state of play and endorsement of the final package on the unitary patent and international agreement on the unified patent court; a policy debate on modernisation of state aid rules; a presentation by the Commission, adoption of a Council resolution and adoption of Council conclusions on customs policy (concerning the EU action plan on intellectual property rights, EU customs action plan to combat intellectual property rights infringements for the years 2013-16 and progress on the strategy for the evolution of the customs union respectively); adoption of Council conclusions on Single Market Act II; adoption of Council conclusions on industrial policy; and a discussion on CARS 2020—an action plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe.
Five AOB points will be discussed; a presentation by the Commission on the European semester/annual growth survey 2013; information from the presidency on resolution of consumer disputes; information from the presidency on a consumer programme 2014-20 and information from the Commission on the eighth consumer scoreboard.
The research substantive items on 11 December will be: a partial general approach on the specific programme for Horizon 2020, a progress report on the research and training programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2014-18) complementing Horizon 2020, a partial general approach on a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Strategic Innovation Agenda for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), adoption of Council conclusions on a reinforced European research area partnership for excellence and growth and discussion of a Commission communication on enhancing and focusing international co-operation in research and innovation.
Three AOB points may be discussed; the state of play on ITER, results of research-related presidency conferences and ministerial meetings and the forthcoming Irish presidency’s proposed work programme.
The Government’s objectives for the Council are to:
Support the public procurement package for the benefits it will bring through simplification and ensure that the general approach reflects UK priorities;
Endorse the final package on the unitary patent and international agreement on the unified patent court;
Contribute to the discussion on state aid rules;
Confirm agreement of conclusions on customs policy, Single Market Act II and industrial policy; contribute to the discussion on CARS 2020;
To agree PGAs on the Horizon 2020 specific programme and the EIT strategic innovation agenda;
To agree Council conclusions on the Commission communication “A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth”; and
To contribute to discussions on the Commission communication on enhancing and focusing international co-operation in research and innovation.