Brussels, 21 Oct 2003
Academia Europaea, an academy of individual scientists from across Europe, has issued a statement calling for a reference to basic science in the European Constitution, currently being debated at the level of Heads of State and Government.
The draft treaty currently reads: 'The Union shall aim to strengthen the scientific and technological bases of Union industry and encourage it to become more competitive at international level, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other chapters of the Constitution.'
Academia Europaea finds the text 'unsatisfactory', however: 'There is no clear recognition of the role that basic science has in underpinning the technological bases of the Union. Nor is any clear linkage made between the role of science and scholarship in European cultural development and the promotion of our collective quality of life.' The statement goes on to say that recognition of the roles of the basic sciences and scholarship are essential if the treaty is to be balanced in both aims and approach.
Academia Europaea also questions the effectiveness of including the statement in the treaty, saying that 'the development of a common scientific and technological culture amongst the citizens of a democratic Europe is already a core policy goal.' More important, suggests the statement, is a European Research Council, which, along with other European and national actions, is the cornerstone to creating of a 'Europe of knowledge'.
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