Brussels, 21 Feb 2003
Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin met with Claudie Haigneré, French Minister for Research and New Technologies on 19 February to discuss several European research issues of high priority, including the international thermonuclear experimental reactor project (ITER).
ITER will examine the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. Both Ms Haigneré and Mr Busquin agreed that ITER, being the first fusion device to produce thermal energy at the level of an electricity producing power station, is of significant value to the European objective of developing sustainable forms of energy.
The necessity to explore all possible avenues with a view to bringing about a successful European proposal for the location of the ITER reactor was also addressed: The French Prime Minister, Jean Pierre Raffarin, recently proposed a location in the Bouches du Rhône for the ITER reactor. Spain, Japan and Canada have also suggested possible sites in their respective countries.
Opinions also converged on the great strategical importance of a European space policy and the necessity of better coordination by all actors at European level.
The meeting concluded with Ms Haigneré and Mr Busquin reaffirming their commitment to reaching the target fixed at the Barcelona European Council of increasing research and development (R&D) spending to 3 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) by 2010.