Brussels, 26 Feb 2004
Ireland, which currently holds the EU Presidency, has outlined its priorities for the spring European Council, which include encouraging private investment in research.
Speaking to the European Parliament on 25 February, Dick Roche, Minister of State at Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for European affairs, lamented the fact that the EU still lags behind its major competitors 'in terms of our investment in, or the priority attached to, innovation.'
The Presidency will therefore use the impending Council to propose that Heads of State and Government consider targeted supports and incentives in order to encourage greater research investment by business.
Mr Roche also called for continued cooperation with the Parliament in order to ensure the early adoption of a forthcoming directive on the mobility of third country researchers. '[I]f we are to increase the number of researchers undertaking the work necessary to enable our economy to grow, it is important to look at how we might retain our own researchers and attract researchers from other countries into the EU.'
Other issues tabled for discussion at the summit by the Presidency include the financial services and service sectors in the context of the single market; regulations affecting business; and increasing employment, both generally and among women.
'We want the European Council to convey a message of determination and confidence, demonstrating that the requisite political will exists to enable us to step up the pace of reform,' said Mr Roche. To see Mr Roche's speech in full, please visit: http://www.eu2004.ie/templates/news.asp? sNavlocator=66&language_id=1&lis t_id=325