Brussels, 01 Feb 2006
A 'European Petition for Research and Innovation', signed by over 50 senior figures from politics, industry and academia, has urged the European Council to rethink its December 2005 agreement on the long-term EU budget for competitiveness and innovation support. MEPs Jerzy Buzek and Jorgo Chatzimarkakis delivered the petition to the current President of the European Council, Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, at the European Parliament on 31 January 2006.
According to the petitioners, the European Council's agreement on the Financial Perspectives 2007-2013 under the UK Presidency would result in cuts of around 28 per cent in the proposed budget for the EU's research programme over the period, and over half in the proposed funding for its competitiveness programme.
Dr Chatzimarkakis, the European Parliament's rapporteur for the proposed Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), said 'the EU risks being a poor region by 2030 if it fails to invest more in research and innovation today'.
The signatories urge the Austrian Presidency and EU Member States to review the low budget agreed for the competitiveness and innovation chapter of the EU Financial Perspectives on 19 December 2005. The European Parliament has already rejected the funding proposals as 'unacceptably low'.
Professor Buzek, the Parliament's rapporteur on the proposals for the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (FP7), said: 'research and innovation are crucial for Europe's future and must receive strong and coordinated support both at EU and Member State levels'. The signatories call for the European Council to accept the Commission's budget proposals for FP7 and the CIP without cuts.
The petition was initiated by the EUREC Agency group of renewable energy research centres, with the support of the PAXIS Regions of Excellence and the Fraunhofer Group. Roger Kaliff, Member of the Committee of Regions and Chairman of the PAXIS Region Sydsam-South Sweden said: 'the CIP needs adequate resources to support better innovation policy and practice'.
This demand follows a previous petition in July 2005, now signed by over 19,000 researchers, calling for a 'very significant' increase in EU funding for research. It was organised by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the European Life Sciences Forum (ELSF) in order to reflect scientists' concern over cuts to the proposed FP7 budget.