Brussels, 06 Aug 2004
The conference of peripheral maritime regions (CPMR), an association representing geographically remote areas of Europe, has expressed its surprise at the 'unambitious' regional dimension of the Commission's recent communication on EU research policy.
In its reactions to the Commission proposals, the CPMR says that while it welcomes them and shares their main concerns, it is 'surprised that the regional dimension contained in the communication does not really reflect the more ambitious dimensions outlined in the communication of 18 February 2004 on financial perspectives.' The body therefore feels the need to make some 'remarks and proposals' concerning the plans.
First, the association notes that the communication places a greater emphasis on research than on innovation. It argues that 'particular attention must be paid to innovation in order to attain the Lisbon objectives since innovation often has a greater immediate impact on companies, industrial competitiveness and, therefore, regional development.' The CPMR calls for greater precision from the Commission in its forthcoming action plan, particularly with regard to support for the development of venture capital, science parks, business incubators and regional innovation policies.
In light of the increasing numbers of technology platforms being established in different sectors, the CPMR asks what role will be given to regional players in the creation and development of such platforms, given that the present communication 'makes no mention of involvement by regional authorities'.
The proposed development of research infrastructures of European benefit is described in the CPMR reactions as a very good idea, but they warn of the need to avoid concentrating these infrastructures solely around capital cities or in regions that are already very competitive. The association also stresses the importance of offering access to infrastructures in one region to researchers based in others.
On the subject of maximising the potential of the EU as a whole, the document states that: 'It is absolutely clear that the regions must make an active, useful contribution to the Lisbon agenda by playing an active part in the construction of the European Research Area [...].' The CPMR wants the Commission to propose specific measures designed to guide those regions that are least competitive in the area of research and innovation 'along the path to excellence'.
Finally, the CPMR, which was founded by 30 peripheral maritime regions in 1973, argues that the maritime sector should be considered a priority area for EU research policy, in much the same way that space research is already. Maritime activities cover many sectors that are particularly important for the future of the EU, it argues, such as transport, marine research and ocean resources, coastal zone management, and marine pollution.
For further information on CPMR, please consult the following web address:
To read the Commission's communication on future EU research policy, please visit: