Biotechnology - Implementation of Strategy + Roadmap (Extract from: Preparation of the Competitiveness Council, 22nd September 2003)

September 22, 2003

Brussels, 19 th September 2003

The Commission will remind Ministers of the results of the first annual report on the Strategy on Life Sciences and Biotechnology (see IP/03/313 and MEMO/03/103 ) and highlight the need for action by the Member States to implement major parts of the Strategy. The Commission will provide an update of developments during the year and will ask Ministers to indicate actions at national level, which should then be covered in the next Commission report. The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions.

    Background
In its first progress report since adopting the EU strategy on life sciences and biotechnology in 2002, the European Commission indicates that the risk of diverging policies in Member States could seriously hamper the effectiveness and consistency of the EU strategy in this field.

While progress has been made in some areas, such as the adoption of the EU 6 th Research Framework Programme and the EU regulatory framework for GMOs, others are suffering from serious delays.

For instance, Member States are slow in transposing biotechnology patents legislation. Delays increase the risk of failing to meet in the area of life sciences and biotechnology the March 2000 Lisbon European Council objectives, for Europe to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. Decisive action and concrete commitments are urgent: these include in particular more research and financial resources, and completing the system for the protection of intellectual property rights.

DN: MEMO/03/179 Date: 19/09/2003

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