Competitiveness Council debates future industry policy and considers enhanced cooperation to EU patent system

EU patent system was again in the agenda of Competitiveness Council meeting held on 25 November, together with the new elements for a new industrial policy as well as the celebration of  the 7th Space Council, in partnership with the European Space Agency, in which ministers adopted a resolution on the challenges facing the European space systems.

Competitiveness ministers meeting in Brussels discussed on the best ways for adapting the EU's industrial structures and policies as an engine for growth and job creation and capable to respond to challenges arising from globalisation. This debate was based on some main elements tabled by the Presiodency as well as Commission communication "An integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era: putting competitiveness and sustainability at centre stage".

Providing European companies with a smart, predictable and simplified regulatory framework and a better business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including the access to financing, is one of the key points for a future industrial policy. Ministers agreed on the need to shape measures especially for the benefit of SMEs, and to effectively articulate the industrial, commercial and competition policies of the EU, with initiatives such as the Single Market Act, smart regulation, the Innovation Union, the Digital Agenda, etc.

Preventing market fragmentation, the promotion of clusters of innovation across the EU, taking into account the entire value chain, which starts with the access to raw materials, as well as facilitating EU companies to operate in third country markets, are also some the priorities identified during teh debate.

This was the first ministerial discussion on industrial policy since the adoption, last June, of the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth by the European Council, which will pave the way for the preparation of Council conclusions to be approved at the Competitiveness Council meeting on 10 December.

Competitiveness Council meeting on 10 December will also be the occasion to debate over the possibility to initiate an enhanced cooperation procedure for on EU patent system, further to the lack of agreement and blockage during negotiations on special Council meeting on 10 November. This request follows a letter sent by several member states asking the Commission to consider the feasibility of proposing enhanced cooperation in this area, should it be presented with a request to propose such a cooperation in the near future.

Enhanced cooperation procedure introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon was applied for the first time in July 2010 to croos-border marriages regulation, allowing some Member states to move forward in this issue.

7th "Space Council"

The meeting of the 7th “Space Council” between the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) took place in the margins of the Competitiveness Council. Following a policy debate, the Space Council endorsed a resolution on the orientations to be taken so that Europe can continue to develop world class space infrastructures and applications, as well as to rely on efficient space systems to serve its citizens.