Brussels, 04 Mar 2003
Seeking guidance on how to increase research spending to achieve the 3 per cent of GDP target by 2010, ministers at the Competitiveness Council on 3 March invited the Commission to present an action plan on the issue before their next meeting.
The action plan should comprise both policies and incentives corresponding to individual Member States' structural characteristics, and should be aimed at encouraging the private sector to invest more in research and development (R&D), agreed the Council.
Ministers agreed that the coordinating tool of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) will be a valuable asset in both creating the European research and innovation area and working towards the 3 per cent target. The Council would also like to see FP6 used to optimise human resources and researcher mobility, improve dialogue between science and society, network and open up national research programmes and promote cooperation on R&D infrastructures. The Council invited the Commission to present a report on cooperation with European intergovernmental research organisations
Ministers emphasised that particular attention should be paid to activities enhancing the participation of small and medium sized enterprises in research and innovation. Such activities should include initiatives to disseminate and commercialise R&D results, to facilitate collaboration with universities and to create new technology-based firms.
The Council called for a common agenda for frontier and leading edge technologies and technologies of a strategic nature, as well as the creation of European technology platforms and clusters.
Ministers welcomed the Green Paper on European space policy and called for a framework for a joint EC-European Space Agency space strategy to be adopted by the end of 2003. The Council repeated its wish to see the Galileo project implemented as soon as possible.
To see the Council conclusions, please consult the following web address: