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Brussels, 25th May 2010

Joint Statement by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business

The UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, and the Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, met today during Mr. Cable's first visit to Brussels since taking up his new post.

They agreed that research and innovation are central to boosting growth and jobs in Europe, to ensuring a sustainable recovery and to establishing a green social market economy, as set out in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Looking ahead to the special informal European Council in October, devoted to research and innovation, Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn underlined the EU's role in adding value to national research and innovation policies and in helping ensure overall European research and innovation investment is coordinated and coherent, especially to tackle the "grand challenges" – such as climate change - facing European and global society.

Mr. Cable underlined UK support for the continuation of research and development as a major priority for the EU.

Mr. Cable and Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn agreed on the need further to cut red tape in EU research funding, under the current Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and its successor (FP8). Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn brought forward proposals to achieve this on 29 April. At a time when fiscal consolidation is needed, it is essential to achieve maximum value from every euro spent.

Completing and consolidating the European Research Area is a priority. Mr. Cable underlined UK support for mobility among researchers which enables cross-fertilisation of ideas, methods and techniques.

The Commissioner and the Secretary of State also discussed the EU Research and Innovation Strategy that she will announce in the autumn, and its intended focus on translating more of the bright ideas generated in Europe's universities and research institutes into world beating products and services.

They identified a series of priorities on which there is an emerging consensus EU-wide:

  • making sure that collaborating on research and innovation is as easy and as mutually rewarding as possible for universities and businesses;

  • new financing options for high-tech companies, small businesses and new start-ups;

  • using the billions of euro spent annually on public procurement as a lever to encourage innovation;

  • re-focusing research and innovation policy on major societal challenges, such as climate change, which offer major opportunities for EU business.

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