Brussels, 22 January 2002
In an interview with CORDIS, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, the Greek Minister of Development, stressed that Greece is investing a lot of time and money in new technologies in order to catch up with the rest of the EU.
Greece is now entering a new period, according to Mr Tsohatzopoulos, which will be characterised by the restructuring of all the cutting edge sectors of Greece's production industry. He is confident that research and development (R&D) will play a decisive role in achieving the economic, social and environmental goals that Greece has set itself.
The Minister acknowledges that Greece still has a lot to do, particularly with regard to private R&D funding, which has affected the extent to which businesses make use of new technology and operate in an innovative manner.
'Right now we are attempting to capitalise on our efforts of the last 15 years and to reinforce our positive experiences, and eliminate anything that fails to produce results or that may be holding us back. I stress that we are encouraging businesses to take greater funding initiatives in the area of new technologies,' Mr Tsohatzopoulos told CORDIS.
The Minister praises many of the research programmes carried out under the EU Framework programmes, which have encouraged businesses to invest in research and to collaborate with universities and research centres. Research centres' missions have also been extended to include responsibility for the commercialisation of their research results. Smaller research institutes are also being encouraged to merge in order to create critical mass and to facilitate the construction of an international presence.
Mr Tsohatzopoulos is very optimistic about the forthcoming Sixth Framework programme (FP6), and particularly its recognition of the importance of supporting SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and the development of an infrastructure for supplying high speed Internet services.
The Minister is also positive about the Commission proposal to strengthen the EU's space policy. 'In this whirlwind of change, which is bringing rapid technological developments, we should not underestimate decisions promoting a European space policy, endorsing the cooperative relationship between the European Commission and the European space agency [ESA] and increasing the mobility of European researchers.'
To see the full interview and for more information on R&D in Greece, please consult the CORDIS Greek Member State service at the following web address: http://www.cordis.lu/greece