Member States backed the Presidency’s proposal on easing the financial reporting burden of micro-entities at the Competitiveness Council’s meeting, on 30 May 2011. Ministers also adopted conclusions on 12 concrete actions of the Single Market Act, but could not reach an agreement on the creation of the European Private Company.
“This day of the Competitiveness Council was very important, as we discussed ways of easing administrative burden on enterprises, deepening the single European market and to enhance the competitiveness of European companies.” These were the concluding remarks of Minister of State for Economic Strategy, Zoltán Cséfalvay, who evaluated the first session of the two-day meeting of ministers for competitiveness, at the related press conference in Brussels in the company of EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier.
The Minister of State said that ministers discussed the Hungarian Presidency’s steps concerning the unitary patent. “At the end of the discussion, we generally agreed that the direction is right, both in terms of the execution regulation and the regulation on the linguistic regime,” Mr Cséfalvay stressed. He also announced that the ministers have decided to summon another meeting of the Competitiveness Council for 27 June, which will have the patent issue as the sole item on its agenda. The goal is to reach a political agreement, a so-called general approach between Member States, on the ground of negotiations, which can be launched with the European Parliament.
Speaking about the Single Market Act (SMA), Michel Barnier said at the press conference that the Hungarian Presidency “has laid the foundation for a very good compromise.” Zoltán Cséfalvay said that the SMA is not merely a legislative dossier but rather an overarching strategy, which should be able to answer people’s everyday problems. “Upgrading the Single Market to make it compatible with the rapid technological and business changes of the past two decades, is our key to unlocking its full potential,” Mr Cséfalvay stressed. Following the press conference, ministers adopted the conclusions on the Commission’s communication, concerning the 12 concrete actions of the SMA.
The Council also discussed different ways of easing administrative burdens on small- and medium-sized enterprises, focusing on the draft directive on reducing financial reporting obligations of micro-entities. Ultimately, the Council endorsed the Presidency’s compromise proposal, which is directed at the amendment of the EU’s so-called 4th Company Law Directive as we; as “Accounting Directive”. According to Mr Cséfalvay, who gave an interview to the eu2011.hu prior to the Council’s meeting: Under the Hungarian Presidency’s proposal, Member States could exempt micro-entities from certain accounting reporting obligations, which were imposed by the Union. For example, the smallest entities will not necessarily have to draw up annual supplement and business report; and the publication of annual accounts could be further simplified.
Speaking at the press conference, Commissioner Barnier called attention to the economic impact of the amendment of the legislation. The reductions can mean a total of 3 billion euro, saving annually to the 5 million micro-entities operating in the European Union. (Micro-entities are companies, which on their balance sheet date do not exceed the limits of two of the following criteria: balance sheet totalling 250 000 EUR, net turnover 500 000 EUR and/or average number of employees during the financial year of 10 people are considered to be micro-entities.)
The Competitiveness Council did not reach an agreement concerning the draft regulation on the European Private Company. This file has been discussed last under the Swedish presidency in December 2009.The Hungarian Presidency adopted this matter as a priority and restarted the negotiations with the aim of focusing on the three most debated outstanding issues: the seat of European Private Companies, the minimum capital requirement, and workers’ participation. Despite all the efforts and numerous compromises and concessions made by all of us, it was not possible to reach a political agreement, because Member States were in some cases diametrically opposed in their assessment of the legislation.
Mr Cséfalvay pointed out at the press conference that now the Presidency has to consider how to proceed, in light of today’s outcome. Commissioner Barnier highlighted on some clashing points, which have remained because certain Member States are concerned about the new EU regulation, would results in the circumvention of national legislations on tax-paying and worker’s participation. Mr Barnier promised that the Commission will examine ways, in order to dissolve these concerns.
The May Competitiveness Council will provide Member States with a forum to discuss various competitiveness-related legislative deliberations and items of non-legislative nature on the agenda.
Location: Justus Lipsius
Address: Belgium Brussels, Wetstraat, 175
The Council aims to adopt conclusions reflecting its positions on the Single Market Act, on the review of the Small Business Act and on smart regulation in the EU. Ministers will also adopt conclusions on the development of the European Research Area, the evaluation of certain joint research programmes (Eurostars, Ambient Assisted Living), and a European space strategy benefiting citizens.
Ministers will discuss legislative deliberations such as the proposal for a Council Regulation on the Statute for European private companies, the interconnection of business registers, the amendment of legislation on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities and decision on the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for nuclear research and training activities. The Council aims to give political orientation on the Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection.