Life sciences and biotechnology - a strategy for Europe: progress report and future orientations (Extract from Background on the Competitiveness Council of 13 May)

May 9, 2003

Brussels, 08 May 2003

The Council will take note of information provided by Commissioner Liikanen on the Commission's progress report "Life Sciences and Biotechnology - a Strategy for Europe", submitted to the last Spring European Council. Ministers will take the opportunity to briefly comment the progress made so far with regard to the development of a biotechnology policy in Europe. An in- depth discussion is foreseen during the second semester 2003.

In the said communication, the Commission sets out the progress made and anticipates emerging issues with regard to its strategy for Europe on life sciences and biotechnology, which it has adopted in January 2002. Where further action is needed, this report contains future orientation, makes appropriate recommendation or announces new initiatives. With this progress report, the Commission is responding to a request from the Barcelona European Council.

It is recalled that the European Institutions have supported the approach proposed by the Commission as the way forward to the Lisbon objective of promoting this high-technology area because of its potential to create growth and new jobs and benefit a wide range of sectors, while at the same time contributing to a sustainable development. On 26 November, the Competitiveness Council adopted conclusions, which included a roadmap for Member States (and the Commission) identifying priority actions, responsibility and timetable for implementation. Together with the Commission's action plan these conclusions have established a sound framework for developing biotechnology policy Europe-wide. On 21 November, the European Parliament gave a strongly positive signal in support of the development of biotechnology in Europe when it adopted, by a large majority, a resolution endorsing the Commission's biotechnology strategy.

Press Release: Brussels (8/5/2003)

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