Open coordination for the European Research Area (Extracted from Preparation of the Competitiveness Council)

March 3, 2003

Brussels, 28 th February 2003

Preparation of the Spring European Council (FF/JT)

The Council will endorse the Report of the Competitiveness Council to the Spring European Council. This report has been drafted by the Presidency and covers the three sections of the Competitiveness Council (Internal Market, Industry and Research). With reference to research (chapter "Building the European Knowledge-based Economy"), the Report stresses the need for increased co-ordination between Member States to create the European Research Area (ERA), a true internal market for science and knowledge.

The open method of co-ordination should firstly be applied to a number of research-related areas, such as the objective, endorsed by the March 2002 Barcelona European Council, of raising European research spending to 3% of EU average gross domestic product (GDP), up from the current 1,9%. The Council supports the Commission's efforts to help meet the 3% objective, and invites the Commission to present an Action Plan on the 3% objective. The Action Plan is due in a few weeks time.

For his part, Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein will emphasise the need to close the gap between the good intentions expressed by the European Council in Lisbon three years ago and the adoption and implementation in practice of the necessary economic reforms. He will make particular reference to the proposals on takeovers and the Community Patent (see below) where decisive political action is needed.

Extracted from DN: MEMO/03/45 Date: 28/02/2003

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