Brussels, 14 May 2003
The Council took note of information given by Commissioner Liikanen in his introduction to the Commission's communication "Life sciences and biotechnology - a strategy for Europe: progress report and future lines of approach" and of the comments from Commissioner Busquin on research aspects relating to this strategy.
In the ensuing exchange of views, Member States took the opportunity of indicating priority actions being taken by them, as the strategy is put into place.
In its 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 adopted in January 2002. Where further action is needed, the report provides guidelines, makes appropriate recommendations or announces new initiatives. The progress report is a response to a request from the Barcelona European Council in March 2002.
The EU has supported the approach proposed by the Commission as a means of attaining to the Lisbon objective of promoting this high-technology industry because of its potential to create growth and new jobs and benefit a wide range of sectors, while at the same time contributing to sustainable development. On 26 November 2002, 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 framework for developing biotechnology policy Europe-wide. On 21 November 2002, the European Parliament gave positive support to the development of biotechnology in Europe when it adopted, by a large majority, a resolution endorsing the Commission's biotechnology strategy.