ERA, innovation and enlargement to be Greek priorities

November 20, 2002

Brussels, 19 Nov 2002

The European Research and Innovation Area and enlargement will be two of Greece's priorities when it takes over the Presidency of the EU on 1 January 2003.

'Greece wants to contribute to the analysis of the place of research in the future European landscape,' Greek Secretary General for Research and Technology Dimitris Deniozos said in Brussels on 13 November.

Greece is also planning to address linkages between procurement and research and development (R&D) at a European level and to create stronger links with a number of regions, namely the western Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea countries.

Other priorities include encouraging higher research spending in the Member States and the opening up of national research programmes, the implementation of Article 169, which provides a legal basis for cooperation between Member States and the EU, and closer links between EUREKA and the EU's Framework Programmes.

The future of European R&D and innovation depends on the effectiveness of measures taken to overcome the European paradox - that Europe leads in scientific research but trails behind in innovation, claimed Mr Deniozos.

'Would just increasing spending make us more innovative?' asked Mr Deniozos. 'Probably not,' he concluded, saying that Europe needs better infrastructures, more attractive fiscal conditions and more venture capital.

The EU must also focus on encouraging an entrepreneurial mentality among highly educated people, protecting intellectual property rights and supporting new ventures, said the Secretary General.

There are a number of threats to Europe, Mr Deniozos warned. First, if Europe is unable to make use of new knowledge, third parties will exploit it, meaning a lost investment. He also pointed to technophobia as a danger for Europe, warning that if the assimilation of knowledge is slower than the production of knowledge, this phenomenon could develop.

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CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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