Brussels, 07 Apr 2004
EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin has appeared for the last time in front of the European Parliament's Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy Committee before the European elections, in order to provide a review of where the Commission currently is with regard to its research priorities.
Priorities for the future remain the development of a European Research Area (ERA), increasing research investment to three per cent of GDP and strengthening European scientific and technological effort, said Mr Busquin. Claiming that 'the debate on the future research initiatives of the Union has only just begun,' the Commissioner also announced the forthcoming publication of a communication aimed at launching a debate on future principles and strategies.
Looking back at achievements over the last five years, Mr Busquin spoke first of ERA, which he believes has now been largely accepted by all stakeholders. Complete realisation demands a better coordination of national policies, as well as between the public and private sectors, he said.
Mr Busquin spoke of a positive response to the launch of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) and its new funding instruments. Some 92 calls for proposals have now been launched, and around 28,000 proposals have been received by the Commission. The proposals involve more than 150,000 participants from more than 50 countries.
Progress has been made towards the three per cent objective, but not enough, said Mr Busquin. He noted the implementation of fiscal incentives in several Member States for encouraging investment.
Other notable areas include space, security research, clinical trials and international cooperation, said the Commissioner.
Mr Busquin finished by thanking the committee for nearly five years of fruitful collaboration.