Brussels, 28 June 2002
The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) can be compared to the European research area (ERA) for its role in encouraging collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the area of coal and steel research, according to EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.
Speaking at an international steel research conference in Luxembourg on 26 June, Commissioner Busquin said the ECSC Treaty, which laid the foundations for the development of the European Union, recognised the strategic importance of collaborative research and of sharing the results of European research within the Community.
He said the ECSC, which comes to a formal end on 26 July this year, helped to put Europe at the forefront of the global iron and steel industry by reducing the dispersion and duplication of research and gathering critical mass for large-scale projects.
'Three generations of researchers and engineers involved in innovation have learned to work together and collaborate more and more closely in a real European spirit, whilst at the same time working for the competitiveness of their respective enterprises,' he said.
Mr Busquin said the founders of the ECSC were visionaries in two ways - they recognised the importance of European collaboration for reinforcing the competitiveness of the coal and steel industry and the importance of research for the sustainable development of these industrial sectors.
He added: 'In developing the coordination and strategic content of research work, the ECSC Treaty prefigures in a certain way the idea of a European research area for the coal and steel sectors.'
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