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Meeting of the Competitiveness, Internal Market and Industry Council, 27 May 2019, Brussels

The second meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council was held today, 27 May 2019, in Brussels, being organised under the aegis of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council and coordinated by the Ministry of the Economy.

The proceedings of the Competitiveness Council meeting were chaired by Minister of Research and Innovation Nicolae Hurduc. The Ministry of the Economy was represented by Secretary of State Ilie Călin Bodea.

The last meeting of the Competitiveness Council organised under the aegis of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council discussed highly relevant topics on the European Strategic Agenda for industry, the EU Single Market, tourism and legislative files adopted during the first semester of 2019.

The Minister of the Economy set forth a proposal to the member states to adopt three sets of Conclusions in areas that are important to the European economy: Conclusions on a Strategy for the industrial policy of the EU: “A vision for 2030”, Conclusions on “A new level of ambition for a competitive Single Market” and Conclusions on “The competitiveness of the tourism sector as a driver for sustainable economic growth, jobs and social cohesion in the EU”.

The conclusions of the Council regarding industry recommend that the future industrial policy should highlight opportunities for European industry and should deal with its challenges, should include all relevant policy areas and should contain explicit policy goals and indicators. Moreover, the future strategy should come with a specific action plan, containing practical measures, an application timetable and adequate monitoring mechanisms.

The conclusions of the Council on the Single Market show that we should pay special attention to the challenges of digitisation and new business models, the application of the principles of better regulation, as well as the need to continue efforts to remove unjustified barriers inside the Single Market, the enforcement of the existing regulatory framework and the need to focus attention on citizens and businesses.

“The Romanian Presidency of the EU Council has assigned special attention to the development of a comprehensive long term strategy for the industrial policy of the EU, with a clear vision for 2030 and a long term vision for a more efficient and competitive Single Market. Today’s discussion and conclusions are a substantial contribution of the EU Competitiveness Council to the future European Commission initiatives with regard to the industrial policy and the Single Market,” declared Minister of Research and Innovation Nicolae Hurduc.

The first subject on the EU Competitiveness Council agenda was the status of competitiveness, comprising the implications of the market competition for the European economy competitiveness, based on the most recent analysis of the EU Commission. Discussions underscored that new digital technologies stimulate productivity and competitiveness, but, in certain circumstances, they can lead to situations where fair competition conditions no longer exist. In such cases, fast intervention is required to re-establish a competitive environment.

The second item on the agenda was a joint debate on the future European strategy on industrial policy and the Single Market over the next decade. Drafting an ambitious EU agenda for interconnecting the industrial policy and the Single Market policy will be essential for EU competitiveness at a global level. A strong and functional Single Market offers adequate framework conditions for the EU industry, SMEs in particular, to face present and future challenges and to make good use of the generated opportunities.

The third item on the agenda was tourism, a very important sector of the EU economy. For the first time in 5 years, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council has successfully adopted the Conclusions on the competitiveness of the tourism sector as a driver of sustainable economic growth, of employment and social cohesion in the EU.

During the ministerial working lunch, cross-border public acquisitions and their contribution to the Single Market were discussed.

At the end of the meeting, while highlighting the significant progress obtained by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, ministers were informed about the legislative files that were agreed upon: The Directive on the cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions, the Directive on updating EU guidelines on consumer protection, the Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, the Vehicle General Safety Regulation.

Additionally, the EU Competitiveness Council was informed about the results of the Auto Industry Forum held in Craiova, Romania, and activities of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council regarding better legislation, taking place during this semester.

At the end of the meeting Minister Nicolae Hurduc symbolically passed on the Presidency of the EU Council to the Finnish Delegation.

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