Brussels, 29 October 2009
A "BONUS" for the Baltic - €100 million for new Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme
Today, the European Commission has adopted a proposal on a Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme ('BONUS-169'). The objective is to enhance the Baltic Sea region research capacity to ensure a more sustainable development of the region. The Commission proposes to contribute € 50 million to a joint research investment with eight EU Baltic Sea Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden). The € 100 million programme will provide a framework for the coordination of their environmental research.
The Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, said: " The Baltic Sea is facing serious natural and man-made pressures. Research not only holds a key to address ecological and socio-economic challenges, it also creates a positive agenda for the Baltic Sea countries to work together. BONUS-169 is a concrete expression of the Baltic Sea Strategy to be adopted by the European Council and of the Commission's strategy for European research to meet societal challenges. "
The sea and the coasts of the Baltic Sea are particularly affected by the combined and increasingly negative impact of pollution, climate change, acidification, overexploitation and biodiversity loss.
BONUS-169 will integrate the national research programmes and activities of the 8 Baltic Sea States into a single joint research programme, mainly focused on environmental research. The European Community will match the contribution of the Participating States up to a maximum of € 50 million, from the 7 th Framework Programme for Research. The combination of funds will create a critical mass in terms of capacity, expertise and resources and will stimulate structural changes in the Baltic Sea and related river basin and coastal zone research systems. This programme is helping Europe to respond more effectively to key challenges in the region in relation to environmental protection and sustainable development, tourism, aquaculture, food safety and maritime transport.
It will be implemented in two phases: during the initial 2 years strategic phase, a Strategic Research Agenda and implementation modalities should be defined. It would be followed by an implementation phase of 5 years, during which at least three joint calls should be launched.
The BONUS-169 programme is fully aligned with the objectives of the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. It will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the revised Lisbon Strategy by investing in knowledge for growth and jobs.
The Commission proposal will now be submitted to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
This proposal is based on Art. 169 of the EC Treaty which provides for the participation of the Community in research programmes jointly undertaken by several Member States.