Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Melanie Johnson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Competition, Consumers and Markets, Department of Trade and Industry

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated 28 January which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 10 February.

  Industrial Policy is the responsibility of Member States. The Commission's Communication provides an interesting backdrop to domestic policy.

  Because the Communication has no legal or financial implications, we have no difficulty in lifting the Scrutiny on this document. We note, however, that the Commission intends a further report at the end of 2003, and we look forward to receiving that report in due course.

  We have been struck, however, by the importance that the Commission attaches to the EU's poor productivity in comparison of that of the USA and Japan, which again is mirrored in research investment as a proportion of GDP. We note that the objectives of the Lisbon Council have been reiterated, as have those of the Gothenburg Council for sustainable development. But perhaps most important of all, the Commission has pointed up the central role that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) play as the major driver of the European economy. We have, therefore, decided to subject the Commission's Green Paper on Entrepreneurship to fuller Scrutiny.

12 February 2003

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