Policy Areas

Minister of Trade and Industry Børge Brende meets Commissioners Verheugen and McCreevy

On 8 December minister Børge Brende had meetings with commissioners Verheugen (Enterprise and Industry) and McCreevy (Internal Market and Services) in Brussels.

In the meeting with Mr. McCreevy, the commissioner expressed his satisfaction with Norway being on the top of the last implementation scoreboard, together with Denmark, with only 0,7% of new internal market legislation not implemented into national law (see news 13.7.2004). The target the EU has set itself is a maximum of 1,5%. Mr. Brende and Mr. McCreevy discussed ways of improving the functionality of the internal market, both in goods and in services and with regard to better regulation. On 2 December, Mr. Brende forwarded to Mr. McCreevy the Norwegian comments to the proposed directive for services in the internal market. During the meeting Mr. Brende reiterated the main elements of the comments, being supportive of the proposal and underlining the economic importance of having an internal market for services but asking for some clarifications and proposing some amendments (for more details, see news below, 3.12.2004). Commissioner McCreevy said that the Norwegian comments would be taken into account, and that they were shared by many other states. Mr. McCreevy confirmed that he saw a need for changes in the proposal, but a revised proposal must wait for the first reading in the European Parliament and the outcome of the political debate in the Council.

In the meeting with commissioner Verheugen, Mr. Brende and Mr. Verheugen both expressed the need for improving competitiveness in Europe and to focus on economic policy to secure social and environmental sustainability. The commissioner stressed that one has to take the competitive challenge from China seriously, it is a matter of time before China will compete everywhere, in all markets, in all technologies. One has to create new jobs to outweigh delocalisation. These are challenges for Europe, together with an ageing population. Mr. Verheugen saw a growing understanding in Europe that something must be done, and emphasised that a strong political program for competitiveness was needed. The Commissioner underlined the important, but difficult role of the EU member states in achieving the goals of the Lisbon strategy and the role of the Commission as a driving force. He believed in partnership between the Commission and the member states, and was not in favour of naming and shaming. Mr. Brende pointed to the important role of environmental technologies. Mr. Verheugen responded that European products must be based on high technology, high quality and high environmental and social standards. He underlined the importance of the European social model. 

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Børge Brende, Norwegian Minister of Trade and IndustryPhoto: C.F. Wesenborg