Modernization of public administration will encourage EU business competitiveness

23 July 2013, Last updated at, 15:37 EEST
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Informal meeting of ministers of the EU Competitiveness Council (Internal Market and Industry) | author: eu2013.lt

Modernization of public administration, especially – digitalizing of public procurement, can become a tool to foster competitiveness in Europe, stressed the EU Internal Market and Industry ministers during the Informal meeting of ministers of the EU Competitiveness Council (Internal Market and Industry) in Vilnius on 22–23 July.

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Economy of Lithuania Evaldas Gustas. European Commission was represented by the Vice-President and Commissioner in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani, and Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier.

The EU Internal Market and Industry ministers discussed during the informal meeting smart procurement, transparency and accountability of state-owned enterprises, public administration responsive to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Ministers decided to encourage the member states to push forward the transition to end-to-end e-procurement and ensure that it is implemented smoothly and in a coordinated manner.

‘The digitalizing all procurement processes can maximize benefits. End-to-end e-procurement integrates all phases of procurement from the electronic publication of notices to electronic payment. It can maximize the efficiency of public expenditure and become a new source of economic growth’, ¬- said Minister of Economy of Lithuania Evaldas Gustas.

The procurement of innovative products and services can be a key driver of the modernization of public sector. Also it can accelerate the market uptake of innovative products and services.

During the discussion on state-owned enterprises (SOEs), ministers stressed the importance of SOEs for the member states economy and competitiveness. Ministers encourage the member states to share the recent experience of SOE reform, especially within aggregate reporting and performance monitoring of the SOEs.

According to the Minister of Economy, The citizens and decision makers need aggregate information about SOEs. Transparency and accountability of SOEs is important for ensuring the effective management of state assets and the maximum benefit to society.

During the discussion on SMEs ministers underlined that public administration has to be responsive to the needs of SMEs. Member states are invited to assure the application of the SME Test in legislation and simplify business licensing procedures.

‘SMEs have substantial impact on the economic development and job creation. The administrative services for SMEs supposed to be improved and administrative costs reduced by better application of “Think Small First” principle’, - said Gustas.

Ministers discussed the female entrepreneurship as source of entrepreneurship, which has a great potential and positive social aspect. Ministers stressed, that women encounter more difficulties than men by starting and running business. The member states must take the measures to promote women’s entrepreneurship, creativity and innovative capacity.

Outcomes of the Informal meeting of ministers of the EU Competitiveness Council (Internal Market and Industry) will be summarized by the Presidency and will contribute by preparing the Competitiveness Council conclusions.

On 24 July ministers of education will continue the Competitiveness Council discussions in the area of research and innovation.

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