Investment in Research - 3% of GDP by 2010

November 19, 2003

Strasbourg, 18 Nov 2003

Rolf LINKOHR (PES, D)

Report on Investing in research: an action plan for Europe

Doc.: A5-0389/2003 [may not be available yet]

Procedure: Own-initiative report

Debate: 17.11.2003

Vote: 18.11.2003

Vote

MEPs call on the Member States to increase their expenditure on research to 3% of GDP by 2010 in adopting an own-initiative resolution relating to the Commission communication on the action plan for investing in research in Europe. The House generally endorses the recommendations that the Commission has put forward in its communication and underlines that science and technology have been an intrinsic element of Europe's identity.

Yet, MEPs are critical of the Council for not following up its words with deeds and of the Member States for making little or no effort to increase their R&D expenditure, some of them, indeed, reducing theirs.

Parliament wants the Member States and private investors to increase their R&D expenditure, the required increase being 6% for public investment and 9% for private investment, to reach the average of 8% needed to achieve the target figure of 3% of GDP overall by 2010. To this end, the House calls for an increase also in the European research framework programme, and therefore calls for an increase in the seventh research framework programme budget to €30 billion for the whole period of the programme, to include allowing for enlargement to 25 and more Member States. MEP also call for, in the context of the 6th Research Framework Programme, for the ideas of 'networks of excellence' and 'integrated projects' to be geared more closely to the guiding notion of the European Research Area, and therefore for adjustments to be made, particularly in relation to the size of projects, in terms both of the number of project partners and of the financial volumes involved. Parliament supports the creation of regional networks of SMEs and calls on the Member States and the Commission to support such initiatives as a priority.

Lastly, MEPs call for the establishment of a European Research Council with the purpose of strengthening the world-wide position of basic research carried out in Europe at the highest scientific level by offering long-term funding for that purpose. The body should: primarily be a funding rather than an advisory body; follow a bottom-up approach in stimulating proposals for funding; cover all fields of science, including the natural sciences and engineering, the humanities and the social sciences, using a flexible approach; base its decisions on scientific criteria and have a rigorous and transparent peer review process; be accountable to its funders, but autonomous in its operations and run by highly respected scientists and focus on financing bottom-up academic research. The Commission has put forward a package of measures on ways of enabling the EU to raise its research expenditure to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP), on the understanding that one third is to be accounted for by public funds and two thirds provided by the private sector. According to the Commission's calculations, as set out in the communication, the EU spends, all told, 1.9% of its GDP on research, whereas the US spends about 2.7% and Japan 3%. In absolute terms, the US spends €125 bn a year more on research than the EU, which has a larger population.

Press enquiries: Richard Freedman (Strasbourg)  tel.(33-3) 881 73785 (Brussels)   tel.(32-2) 28 41448 e-mail:    indu-press@europarl.eu.intIndustry

European Parliament Daily Notebook 2003-11-18

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