HC Deb 20 October 1998 vol 317 c1082W
Mr. Sawford

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what topics were discussed at the EU Ministerial Council on the Internal Market on 24 September; and what matters were voted upon. [55991]

Mr. Mandelson

My noble Friend the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness in Europe represented the UK at the Internal Market Council in Brussels on 24 September.

The Commission reported to the Council on Member States' progress towards implementation of the Single Market Action Plan, which aims to improve the operation of the Single Market. The Commission reported that the number of directives not yet implemented in all Member States had been cut from 35.5 per cent. in June 1997 to 15.4 per cent. currently. The Council adopted conclusions which re-affirmed its commitment to the implementation of the Action Plan, noted the importance of making the Single Market rules more effective and welcomed the Commission's communication "Making the Single Market rules more effective", which set out some ideas for achieving this.

The Council had an initial orientation discussion on a proposal for a directive on the protection of invention by "utility model". This is a form of intellectual property protection right, which does not currently exist in the UK, for technical innovation, which is aimed, in particular, at ephemeral products with a short shelf life, and for the use by small businesses.

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