Brussels, 19 Sep 2003
Delegations will find attached a note from the French authorities concerning this other business item for the Competitiveness Council meeting on 22 September 2003.
Subject: Other business item requested by France for the Competitiveness Council meeting on 22 September 2003 concerning the establishment of a European Research Council: the place of basic research and scientific excellence in the European research area
Growth and competitiveness in Europe call for a long-term approach. While the immediate requirements of boosting the economy have to be addressed by means of short-term initiatives in strategic areas, the need to engage in long-term investment in knowledge and hence in basic research and scientific training is now universally acknowledged. Such striving for scientific excellence provides the key to sustainability of growth and development, as widely pointed out by the European scientific community at a conference, entitled "Do we need a European Research Council?", held during the Danish Presidency. The scientific community believes that Europe must step up its efforts in research and higher education and be able to attract the best researchers from all over the world. Some scientists have called for the establishment of a science and research agency along the lines of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States of America.
Looking ahead to future discussions on the European research area, France would like to sound out the Commission about the idea of submitting a communication to identify needs and put forward proposals for meeting them.