Brussels, 28 November 2005
2694th Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research) Council meeting
Brussels, 28 and 29 November 2005
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. RECALLING the relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy by the Spring European Council 2005, and notably the conclusions concerning the central role of research and innovation for sustainable long-term growth and employment (1), which endorsed the Council conclusions on these key issues for European competitiveness (2);
2. NOTING the recent Commission communications relating to the implementation of the Lisbon strategy (3), in particular "More Research and Innovation - Investing for Growth and Employment: A Common Approach (2005-2007)" (4); and taking into account the Council Resolution of 22 September 2003 on "Investing in research for European growth and competitiveness" (5)
3. UNDERLINES the critical importance of improving Europe's research, technology transfer and innovation performance in the interests of global competitiveness, increased growth and employment, in particular by mobilising the potential for scientific, technological and innovative excellence throughout the European Union;
4. STRESSES the need, at all levels, Community, national and regional, to mobilise more public and private sector funds to achieve the Barcelona investment target of 3% of Community GDP for research, with two thirds of the investment to come from the business sector, as well as to support an improved performance in innovation, particularly amongst SMEs;
5. STRESSES the need for improving interaction between policy areas and for more transnational cooperation, which is the key to better exploiting the European research and innovation potential by allowing to team up the best talents, facilitating policy design by learning from good practice and creating synergies and critical mass among national and regional efforts for more research and innovation;
TO SUPPORT THESE EFFORTS, THE COUNCIL:
6. WELCOMES the integrated approach to research and innovation proposed by the Commission, drawing on a broad range of policy areas and instruments;
7. RECOGNIZES the need for a coherent approach on the European and national level for policies to address, on a voluntary basis, issues of common interest while respecting the specific priorities of Member States;
8. ACKNOWLEDGES the potential of the proposed multi-annual EC support programmes, in particular the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (FP7) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), to foster research and innovation, notably through leveraging public and private resources;
9. STRESSES the need to improve the access of enterprises to finance, especially that of SMEs, using a range of instruments, including cooperation with the European Investment Bank Group;
10. NOTES THE COMMISSION'S INTENTION TO:
- Provide guidance to promote an optimal use of R&D tax incentives;
- Develop the information system on national research policies (ERAWATCH) and the European Trend Chart on Innovation as well as to establish a European Industrial Research and Innovation Monitoring System;
- Issue a "handbook" for better use of public procurement to stimulate the development and deployment of new technologies;
- Analyse National Reform Programmes from the angle of research investment targets and research and innovation policy developments.
- Encourage the creation of a new European innovation prize.
11. INVITES MEMBER STATES AND THE COMMISSION TO
- Intensify their efforts to identify and address regulatory obstacles to new technologies and innovation. A useful input to these efforts could be provided by the INNOVA initiative, the European Technology Platforms and EUREKA;
- Strengthen information and support services on intellectual property, especially for SMEs, support patent authorities increasing their cooperation across borders and pursue work to improve the accessibility and efficiency of Europe's patent system;
- Explore ways to develop the potential of philanthropy as a source of funding for research.
- Improve the mobility and the career perspectives for researchers across the EU;
12. INVITES MEMBER STATES TO
- Develop and implement initiatives to stimulate research and innovation as part of the National Reform Programmes;
- Participate in the open coordination of research and innovation policies and make use of these processes to enhance the quality and consistency of their actions, particularly on issues of common European interest, making optimal use of CREST as a policy learning platform for research policy;
- Make use of the opportunities provided by the "OMC Net" and "INNO Net" schemes to develop joint policy initiatives;
- Promote cooperation among national and other research and innovation programmes and agencies, for example through the use of the ERA-NET and PRO INNO schemes;
- Make use of the structural funds, where appropriate, to support the development of research and innovation in their regions;
- Further re-deploy State Aid towards research and innovation;
13. INVITES THE COMMISSION TO
- Pursue its integrated approach to research and innovation policies from the perspective of identifying efficient policy-mixes;
- Facilitate the structural funds' financing of the development of research and innovation in the regions, where appropriate;
- Review the Community Framework for State Aid for Research and Development to better reflect the Community's policy priorities and the need for a more research and innovation- friendly system;
- Propose voluntary guidelines for improving co-operation between public research organisations and industry;
- Propose a strategy for the promotion of innovative services;
- Report to the Council and the European Parliament by the end of 2007 on the outcome of the efforts undertaken at both EU and national levels."
(1) Presidency conclusions, European Council Brussels, 22 and 23 March 2005, Doc. 7619/1/05 REV 1 CONCL 1.
(2) Contribution of the Council to the Spring European Council 2005, Doc. 7134/05 POLGEN 12 COMPET 42 RECH 50.
(3) Commission Communications: "Common Actions for Growth and Employment: the Community Lisbon Programme", Doc. 11618/05 - COM(2005) 330 final; "Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: A Policy framework to strengthen EU manufacturing - Towards a more integrated approach for industrial policy" Doc. 13143/05 - COM(2005) 474 final + ADD 1 + ADD 2 + ADD 3; "Consultation document on State Aid for Innovation", Doc. 12695/05 - COM(2005) 436 final.
(4) Commission Communication: "More Research and Innovation - Investing for Growth and Employment: A Common Approach (2005-2007)", Doc. 13606/05 - COM(2005) 488 final + ADD 1.
(5) OJ C 250 (18.10.2003); p.2-3.