Themed data sheets

Title

Competitiveness (Internal Market and Industry) Council of Ministers on 29 September 2021

Description

Analysis of the "Objective 55" package through the prism of the updated Industrial Strategy

 

Categories

General information

While affordable decarbonised energy is a prerequisite for reaching "Target 55" and achieving the green transition to climate neutrality, it is also true that the efforts required by the Commission from the Member States pose numerous challenges for the automotive sector and the development of SMEs in several of these countries, impacting on their domestic economies and industries. Hence, there is a divergence of views in the Council on some of the proposals or initiatives contained in the package, such as, for example, the effectiveness of the Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism (BCAFM). Here, some national delegations pointed out that the obligation to purchase CBCA certificates to account for emissions did not provide an incentive for companies outside Europe to stop producing using large amounts of carbon since, after all, they only need to pay a fee to be able to place their products on the EU market.

Moreover, the Commission has recently issued a Communication on Updating the New Industrial Model 2020 and Creating a Stronger Single Market for Europe's Recovery. Regarding this communication, the role of the Industry Forum in supporting the implementation of initiatives and promoting best practices and solutions across ecosystems, including in digitisation, was mentioned. The two new alliances launched by the Commission (Alliance on Processor and Semiconductor Technologies and Alliance for Industrial Data and Edge and Cloud Computing - Edge and Cloud Technologies) were also highlighted. 

highlighting that, for the first time, EU partner states have de facto taken the lead. Finally, it was discussed that the European automotive sector is facing a shortage of semiconductors and other specific dependencies and that the EU late payment observatory plays a key role in assessing the non-compliance with payment deadlines, which particularly affects SMEs in their commercial activity.

Better Regulation Programme

The public orientation debate on the Better Regulation agenda was held against the backdrop of the recent Commission Communication on Better Regulation: Pulling together for Better Regulation. This document presents several updates on the strategy for improving the Union's legislative process and emphasises the need for more comprehensive and transparent impact assessments to support and guide political decision-making, as well as the importance of using controlled testing grounds. The Council reiterated that the ultimate aim of this programme is to ensure that EU legislation better serves its citizens and businesses, is properly tailored to their needs and ensures a stronger, more resilient and future-proof Europe.

Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

Spain is not part of the enhanced cooperation and has not given its approval to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) because it considers that Spanish should be one of the official languages of the European Patent Office (EPO), which is responsible for granting patents at the European level, and that patents in Spanish should be enforceable.

Context

"Target 55" is a package or set of measures and legislative proposals on climate, energy and transport through which the EU seeks to achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets of at least 55% by 2030 as an intermediate step towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050. One of these proposals, which establishes a Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism (BCAFM), aims to equalise the price of carbon used in the production of materials imported into the internal market from third countries with that of products manufactured in the EU. The mechanism thus provides for the pricing of the former based on the tonnes of carbon emitted during the manufacturing process employing mandatory "CBFF" certificates that are equivalent to the price of EU emission allowances.

In December 2012, two legislative acts relating to the "Unitary Patent" were published: the Regulation providing for enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection and the Regulation providing for enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection as regards translation arrangements. Later, the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) was published. This was done as a first step towards the creation of an EU-wide unified patent protection system based on enhanced cooperation. However, the implementation of such a unitary patent system is conditional on a sufficient number of ratifications of the agreement and, in turn, on the approval of the Protocol for the Provisional Application of the UPC, a transitional provision allowing the completion of the preparatory work of the UPC for its formal entry into force.

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