European Union heads of government have given their support to a plan to establish a permanent broadband transatlantic telecommunications link between research and education centres of excellence in the United States and the EU.
At last week's meeting of the European Council in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, prime ministers and presidents told the European Commission to talk with the US government about setting up such a network.
Heads of government also gave their formal political support to the aim of building the so-called European research area (see article below). In particular, the council agreed a communique welcoming:
* The drafting of criteria for benchmarking research policies
* Defining by 2001 stages for the development of European scientific excellence
* Plans to create networks between national and European research programmes
* Initiatives to connect high-speed national electronic networks for research across the EU.