Brussels, 30 Jun 2004
The Netherlands is to prioritise sustainable technologies, researcher mobility and fundamental research during its six month presidency of the EU.
Indicating the importance that the Netherlands awards research, the country will kick off its presidency with an informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council on 1 July. The first day of the presidency will also see a conference in Maastricht on universities in the knowledge-based economy, the Lisbon strategy and globalisation.
The informal council will have the theme 'Fostering excellence: challenges for productivity growth in Europe' and shall focus on the bottlenecks in the generation and use of knowledge. Ministers will draft an inventory of the policy options for improving the business climate for knowledge-intensive companies.
Economic growth is a theme running throughout the Dutch government's 34 page list of priorities. Investing in human capital is highlighted as critical to growth, as is the development of sustainable technologies: 'The Netherlands feels that, [...] within the measures to stimulate growth, more attention should be devoted to the development and application of sustainable technologies, including as an additional stimulus to competitiveness within the European Union.'
'Knowledge workers' will receive 'special attention' from the Dutch Presidency, as will the Commission's recommendations on the admission of researchers from third countries to the EU and fundamental research. The government promised to examine the possibility of establishing a European Research Council, which would be dedicated to fundamental research.
The Dutch propose to stimulate researcher mobility through exchange programmes and student mobility, and pledge to focus on the portability of student finance in this context.
On the European Union's research framework programmes, the Dutch Presidency will both evaluate the new instruments used in the current programme and launch preparations for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The Dutch do not hold out much hope for reaching an agreement on the proposed Community patent during their presidency, and therefore state that 'The issue will only be placed on the Council's agenda if the member states opposing the plan are willing to contribute in a constructive manner to breaking the impasse.' To access the Dutch Presidency's priorities, please http://www.eu2004.nl/default.asp?CMS_ITE M=9C8F8BA2A8E046EF8D888DEA255B99B2X1X486 X09 click here
The CORDIS Dutch Presidency service will be available at the following address from the beginning of July: http:///www.cordis.lu/netherlands