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Preparation of the Competitiveness Council of Ministers, Brussels, 25 June 2007

European Commission - MEMO/07/249   22/06/2007

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MEMO/07/249

Brussels, 22June 2007

Preparation of the Competitiveness Council of Ministers, Brussels, 25 June 2007

The EU Competitiveness Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 25 June under the chairmanship of Dr Annette Schavan, German Federal Minister of Education and Research. The European Commission will be represented by Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research and Jan Figel', Commissioner for Education and Culture. This Council will also formally adopt the text of the EU Roaming Regulation, already agreed upon earlier this month (see IP/07/696 and MEMO/07/233). After the Council meeting, there will be a short ceremony marking the association of Switzerland to the 7th Research Framework Programme.

Commission proposal for European Institute of Technology (FV)

Background

On 18 October 2006 the Commission adopted a proposal, to the European Parliament and the Council, for a regulation to establish a European Institute of Technology (EIT) (see IP/06/1416).

The EIT will contribute to bridging the innovation gap between the EU and its major competitors by further promoting the integration of the three sides of the knowledge triangle made up of research, education and innovation. To achieve its mission the EIT will set up excellence-driven strategic long-term partnerships in critical areas among all actors involved in the knowledge triangle. Such an initiative will offer European companies a new relationship with education and research.

At this Council

During the Council meeting, the Council is expected to reach an agreement on the functioning of the EIT, pending an agreement on the budgetary arrangements which will follow later. The final agreement is expected after the European Parliament's first reading in September.

Communication from the Commission "Improving knowledge transfer between research institutions and industry across Europe: embracing open innovation" and Presidency initiative for Charter for the management of intellectual property from public research institutions and universities (AM)

Background

On 4 April the Commission published a communication on knowledge transfer (see MEMO/07/127). The communication focuses on three main issues: the need to create a European framework for knowledge transfer; the need to train knowledge transfer professionals; and the need for good management of intellectual property in universities as well as improved links between the university sector and industry.

To reinforce the key message in the Commission communication on knowledge transfer, the German Presidency will also propose a charter for the management of intellectual property from public research institutions and universities, to the Council. Comments from the major stakeholders in the field of research and industry, will be taken into account by the Commission as work on the Charter proceeds.

Knowledge Transfer is an important pillar of the European Research Area. It is crucial that the European research institutions be part of a wider environment in which knowledge circulates easily and is used and valued by enterprises, policy makers and civil society. To improve knowledge sharing across Europe, it is necessary to formulate policies and practices that can improve access to scientific publications and raw data from publicly-funded research results.

At this Council

The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions on the issue of knowledge transfer.

Report from CREST: "How to make better coordinated use of Structural Funds and the Framework Programme to support R&D"(AM)

Background

The Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST) is an advisory body made up of senior officials from all countries that participate in the EU's Research Framework Programme. The 25 June Competitiveness Council will discuss their recent report on better coordination of Structural Funds with funds from the Framework Programme, to further promote research and science development projects in EU member states. The link between FP7 and the Structural Funds is an important part of the EU contribution to the strengthening and development of research and science in Europe.

The main message of the CREST report is that by working together, the Framework Programme and the Structural Funds can help to mobilise R&D potential at regional, national and European level, and in this way contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Lisbon Strategy.

The CREST report includes guidelines that provide 14 recommendations in the six priority domains: the development of R&D strategies, the R&D base, research excellence, international cooperation; the exploitation of R&D results and the improvement of communication.

The Guidelines in the CREST report are voluntary and should be implemented according to national and regional needs. The work has been carried out in the context of Open Method of Coordination in support of the 3% objective.

During 2007, The European Commission will adopt a Communication on "Competitive European regions through research and innovation" and also provide more examples of good practices in this field by the end of the year.

At this Council

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions, which recognise CREST's work and the six priority domains identified in the guidelines, inviting the Member States to implement these guidelines at the national and regional level on a voluntary basis.

Green Paper on the future of the European Research Area - Exchange of views (AM)

Background

The Commission published its consultative Green paper on the European Research Area on 4 April (see IP/07/469, MEMO/07/128). Ministers had a first discussion at the informal Competitiveness Council, hosted by the German Presidency in Wurzburg, followed by a more detail examination of some of the points raised at its May meeting.

At this Council

This June meeting of Ministers will discuss three aspects of the Green paper: research institutions; the international dimension of the ERA; and knowledge sharing.

Modernised Community Customs Code (A point) (MA)

Background

In the framework of its strategies for "better regulation" and e-Government, the Commission proposed in 2005 to modernise the Community Customs Code which is applicable everywhere in the Customs Union.

At this council

After long negotiations and thanks to the Austrian, Finnish and German Presidencies, the Council is expected to reach a political agreement on the proposal. This agreement would constitute the end of the first reading phase and should need to be confirmed in the coming months in a second reading by the European Parliament.

Supporting Commission's full membership to the World Customs Organisation (A point) (MA)

In order to reinforce the role of European Community in Customs matters, the Council is expected to support its full membership to the World Customs Organisation.

Any Other Business

(a) Proposal for Council Regulations on Joint Technology Initiatives

In May this year, the European Commission, on the initiative of Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media and Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research, made proposals to launch the first ever Europe-wide public-private R&D partnerships in the fields of Embedded Computing systems and Innovative Medicines (see IP/07/668). Such Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) pool industry, Member States and Commission resources into targeted research programmes. The Commission has now proposed two more JTIs, which are presented to the Council.

"Clean Sky" JTI Presentation by the Commission (AM)

The European Commission will present to Member States its proposal for a Council Regulation creating the "Clean Sky" Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) for greening the aviation industry, presented at the "Paris Air Show" on 20 June (see IP/07/854, MEMO/07/243). This public/private partnership for research will pool industry and EU resources in a targeted research programme, with the objective of the reduction of CO2 emissions by around 40%, NOx emissions by 60% and noise by 50%. It is hoped that the Council will be able to adopt the Regulation by the end of 2007, so that work can begin in 2008

ENIAC (Nanoelectronics) JTI -Presentation by the Commission (MS)

The Commission will present its proposal for the Joint Technology Initiative in nanoelectronics (ENIAC). This JTI on nanoelectronics will have an expected overall budget of €3bn. This will help sustain a strong nanoelectronics research and manufacturing sector in Europe and drive new breakthroughs in various fields, from communication and computing to transport, healthcare, energy or security and safety (see IP/07/864). The ENIAC initiative will be run through a Joint Undertaking to be established by Council Regulation later this year and is expected to begin its work at the start of 2008.

(b) Future Commission proposal on Article 169 Initiative "AAL" -Information on the state of play (MS)

Responding to the needs of Europe's growing ageing population in June this year, the European Commission, on the initiative of Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, adopted its Action Plan for "Ageing well in the Information Society" (see IP/07/831). This Action Plan is accompanied by a proposal for the participation by the Community in a new joint European research programme between several Member States. Together with relevant research activities within the 7th Framework Programme, this will raise to over €1bn the funding for information and communications technologies related research in support of the elderly. Known as the "Ambient Assisted Living" programme, this new initiative should lead to improved quality of life and social participation for older people in Europe, new business opportunities for Europe's industries and more efficient, and more personalised health and social services.

The Commission will present its "Ambient Assisted Living" proposal for participation in the Joint Research Programme by Member States.

(c) Future Commission proposals on Article 169 Initiative Euro STARS - Information on the state of play (AM)

The Commission will inform on progress in proposing "Eurostars", a joint research project to support small and medium-sized companies involved in SMEs, with contributions from 27 countries as well as the EU Research Framework Programme. It is hoped that the proposal will be made by the Commission in the next few months.

(d) Euro-Med Education and Research Ministers Conference (Cairo-Egypt, 18 June) - Information from the Presidency (AM)

Presidency will inform the Council about the 18 June meeting of Euro-Med Education and Research Ministers, at which a declaration was signed "Towards a Euro-Mediterranean Higher Education and Research Area.

(e) Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and Council amending Council Directive 76/769 EEC relating to restrictions on the marketing of certain measuring devices containing mercury Information from the Presidency (TvL)

(f) Work programme of the incoming Presidency Information from the Portuguese delegation


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