€2.5billion SME programme on agenda as jobs and growth the focus of EU Council meetings – Minister Bruton

30th May, 2012

Minister attends Competitiveness and Trade Council of Ministers meetings

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, is in Brussels today and tomorrow morning [Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st May] to attend EU Council of
Ministers meetings on Competitiveness and Trade.

Among the items to be discussed at today’s competitiveness Council meeting are:

·        the EU’s €2.52 Billion Competitiveness and SME Programme (COSME) to run from 2014 to 2020 (see note below),

·        plans for growth and jobs in the Single Market

·        the proposal for a Directive on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications,

·        a proposal for a modernised Public Procurement Directive,

·        proposals to institute alternative and on-line dispute resolution in cross border on-line transactions.  

·        internal market governance and the digital single market

·        the Unified Patent Court and a timetable for promptly advancing the EU patents legislative package through the European Parliament and for final Council approval by July
this year

Tomorrow’s Trade Council will provide the EU’s 27 Trade Ministers the opportunity to discuss strategic trade policy topics. These include making decisions on opening free trade talks with key trading partners outside the EU, evaluating the progress of trade talks underway or providing guidance to the Commission on the many topics that influence global trade and investment flows. At tomorrow’s meeting, a range of EU trade agreements will be discussed by Ministers, and they will also discuss the role of trade in the EU’s growth agenda. Exploring the potential for more trade and investment with Asia and the USA will be a focus as part of efforts to boost Europe’s recovery.

Speaking in Brussels, Minister Bruton said:“For many months now the Irish Government has been seeking to put jobs and growth at the top of the agenda in Europe. At today’s
Competiveness Council and tomorrow’s Trade Council I will be discussing with Ministers from 26 other EU countries ways in which the EU can act together to enhance jobs and growth across the continent.

“One of the key items up for discussion is the €2.5billion COSME programme, which will help facilitate access to finance for SMEs, help SMEs operating outside their home market and seeking to access new markets, all of which are key objectives for the Irish Government. We will also be discussing the creation of a single market for digital services, creating a
unified patent system with one court to encourage innovation across the EU, improvements to public procurement rules to help more SMEs benefit from Government contracts, and boosting trade with high-growth emerging economies. On many issues like this, we can achieve so much more by acting together as a Union of 27 countries and over 500million people than we ever could as individual countries.

“The EU has a major role to play getting growth and jobs back into the Irish economy again. I look forward to discussing these issues with Ministers from across the EU, and making progress on implementing proposals that can make a real difference to our economy”.