“I am glad to be able to say that we have received strong support from a large number of Member States, after presentation of their points of view during the discussion, and the conclusions that we have reached will allow COREPER to make decisions on the basis of these formal policy guidelines.” This was the comment by the Portuguese Minister of State for the Economy and the Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, at the end of the informal video conference of ministers with responsibility for the internal market and industry.
The proposal for the directive “Country-by-country reporting” (CBCR), that is, the public release of country-specific information, received political support today from the great majority of Member States at the meeting of Ministers with responsibility for the internal market and industry. The Council’s political support for the Portuguese Presidency’s proposal will now enable COREPER to formalise approval of the proposal, which is considered highly important to the endeavour to strengthen transparency in the conduct of multinationals.
Recovery and Resilience Plans
The ministers also discussed how the national Recovery Plans can provide “progress towards the goals of European strategic autonomy, and support for enterprises in the twin green and digital transition”. Pedro Siza Vieira explained that the Portuguese Presidency is actively supporting this process and is in contact with the Member States and the European Commission to see that the majority of National Plans are approved by the end of the first half of 2021.
The Recovery Plans should be viewed as tools to make the countries’ economies “more sustainable, more resilient, and better prepared for challenges and opportunities” - a position taken by the Minister for the Economy and corroborated by the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.
The Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRM) should have a transnational dimension, with multinational projects “that add value”, as Breton stated, and “help industry”, as Siza Vieira underlined, in order to strengthen the cooperation between different partner countries.
Implementation of the RRM should also strengthen the European Single Market. For the Commissioner Thierry Breton, the Member States should “remain vigilant”. Siza Vieira considers that “a well-functioning European Single Market and fair competition are prerequisites for Europe’s emergence from this crisis stronger and more resilient”.
A new task force to increase the industrial production of COVID-19 vaccines
Thierry Breton is coordinating a solution that allows vaccine production to increase. The aim is to help the pharmaceutical industry and obtain “everything necessary” to supply the European Union and its partners with resources.
The New Consumer Agenda was also part of today’s order of business, with ministers welcoming the agenda’s holistic approach and encouraging the European Commission to continue producing legislation on consumer protection, in the light of market developments and the rapid green and digital transition.