Report on Policies for Promoting Research and Development (Provisional Version 2405th Council meeting - ECOFIN)

January 23, 2002

Brussels, 22 January 2002

The Council, after a brief debate, endorsed a report from the Economic Policy Committee on Research and Development 1 and underlined the importance of R&D in improving EU competitiveness and dynamism in the framework of the Lisbon process.

The report identifies a number of areas that may warrant further attention both at Member State and EU level. In particular, it underlines that the European Union and its Member States should ensure that the appropriate framework conditions are in place to foster innovation. This should be pursued through further implementation of structural reforms in product, capital and labour markets with a view to promoting a growth and stability oriented macroeconomic environment, creating a competitive environment and fostering investment in human capital. At the EU level, the report recommends that:

• The EU should develop a full range of intellectual property protection at the Community level, including copyrights and design rights, and take measures to promote their use more widely.

• The review of the Community State Aid Framework for R&D needs to ensure that aid can meet specific market failures across innovation systems, while ensuring that it does not distort the single market.

• The implementation of the 6th Framework Programme should contribute more to improving networking and knowledge flows across Europe by promoting researcher mobility and networking of industry and academia.

At the national level, despite significant progress achieved in this area over recent years, a number of market shortcomings were highlighted and the report accordingly recommends:

• Member States ought to look further at ways of addressing identified market failures by stimulating early stage investment through creating an adequate financial and regulatory framework.

• Member States should do more to provide information, advice and guidance to SMEs on the value and nature of intellectual property rights available.

• Member States could look further at a mix of direct instruments and market based incentives to stimulate private R&D, as no single mechanism is able to provide a full range of incentives.

• Member States should aim to improve the effectiveness of public research.

• Member States should strengthen knowledge transfers between the research base and industry.

Council Press Release 5523/02 (Presse 12 - G) 1


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