§ Helen Jackson
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the outcome of the Competitiveness Council on 30 September. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
I represented the UK at the Competitiveness Council of Ministers in Brussels on 30 September. This was the first meeting of the new Competitiveness Council, which is an amalgamation of the Internal Market, Industry and Research formations.
The five specific programmes of the sixth R&D Framework programme were adopted and there was political agreement on legislative dossiers covering public procurement (the utilities directive) and fertilisers (fertilisers regulation). In addition, there was political agreement on two company law dossiers: the updating of the First Company Law Directive on filing and disclosure of company documents in the light of new technology; and the modernisation of the EU Accounting Directives to take account of the adoption of International Accounting Standards as the reporting regime for the EU's listed companies.
Council Conclusions were adopted endorsing the Commission's Action Plan on Better Regulation and its rapid implementation.
There was a Presidency report on the proposed discussions at the Nyborg informal, of the methods of working of the new CC formation and a progress report on the proposed 25 amendment (including some overlap with the 23 amendment) to the marketing and use of dangerous substances directive to include controls on further carcinogens, mutagens and substances toxic to reproduction.
There were Commission presentations on the streamlining of the annual economic and employment policy co-ordination cycles and two reports: the State of the Internal Market for Services and Second Biennial Report on Mutual Recognition in the Internal Market.
The Commission also reported that bilateral talks with Korea had failed to reach agreement, and the Commission confirmed that it would now implement the decision as agreed by the Council in June—namely to launch the WTO case against Korea together with the reintroduction of the limited and temporary shipbuilding subsidies.
Over lunch Professor Jaap Winter reported on the consideration by the High Level Group on Company Law of corporate governance issues in the light of large-scale corporate collapses in the US. The Group's approach was to explore ways in which to improve standards of corporate governance, where necessary, 848W and strengthen the role of shareholders within a flexible EU framework. When the formal session resumed conclusions supporting the development of an EU Action Plan were adopted without debate.
The UK voted in favour of political agreement on the public procurement directive and fertilisers regulation as well as the updating of the First Company Law Directive and the modernisation of the EU Accounting Directives. The UK was also in favour regarding the adoption of the five specific programmes of the sixth R&D Framework programme and the Council conclusions, on the Commission's Action Plan on Better Regulation and on the development of an EU Action Plan on corporate governance.