Brussels, 06 Apr 2005
1.4.2005 Type of Procedure:
REPORT 1. on the proposal for a Council directive on a specific procedure for admitting third-country nationals for purposes of scientific research 2. on the proposal for a Council recommendation to facilitate the admission of third-country nationals to carry out scientific research in the European Community 3. on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council recommendation to facilitate the issue by the Member States of uniform short-stay visas for researchers from third countries travelling within the European Community for the purpose of carrying out scientific research
II. Draftsman's comments
Your draftsman welcomes the Commission's proposal and believes that the proposed instrument can be one of the means to attract and maintain researchers in Europe.
a. Your draftsman stresses that the proposed legal instrument should be the means for attracting mainly two categories of researchers in the EU: 1) highly qualified and world-wide renowned researchers working currently in other parts of the world, and 2) young talented researchers from developing countries who will be given an opportunity to carry out research in Europe before returning to their home countries, so that Europe becomes the reference point for their further research work.
b. Your draftsman points out that the present proposal should fully trust the research organisations and the research community in general and therefore adopt, as far as possible, a "facilitating" approach towards them and their work instead of the "tentative" approach characterising immigration policy.
Public & private sector: It is important that the concept of "research organisation" covers not only the public, but also the private sector, since there is currently a lack of measures facilitating research by the latter despite the Barcelona target of 2% of GDP private spending on R&D. At this point, the special needs of SMEs should be given thorough consideration.
Research organisations: Research organisations play a central role in the whole admission procedure, thus easing the role of the immigration authorities. Your draftsman welcomes the proposed legal instrument as a step towards the creation of an ideal environment for research in the EU, and especially towards conditions of complete autonomy for research organisations to select research teams and set up laboratories or research centres. In return for these prerogatives, research organisations remain the financially responsible party.
Enhancing Europe's attractiveness to third-country researchers: It is of particular importance that admitted researchers enjoy special status in the hosting country and in the EU in general. Thus:
- It is vital that the admission of such researchers is independent of the requirement for a work permit.
- Mobility of such researchers within the European Research Area is instrumental to the success of the latter and must be given due consideration.
- Family members of the researcher should be granted a residence permit for the same period of time as that for which the researcher is admitted.
Bureaucracy & national impediments: Your draftsman fears that the proposed mechanism will be hampered by existing bureaucratic procedures relating, e.g., to recognition of diplomas, health and social security arrangements, tax measures etc. He draws the attention of the Member States to such complexities and to the fact that measures need to be taken in order to minimise the negative impact of such requirements on third-country researchers.
Financial support: Your draftsman feels that, in order to give real incentives for the attraction of distinguished researchers from third countries, such a proposal needs to be combined with adequate financing measures linking it to the Community research policy (e.g. both the current 6th Framework Program and the future 7th Framework Program).
Urgency for action: Given the Lisbon commitments and the limited time available, adoption of the legislative package must take place as soon as possible. If it acts quickly, Europe can also profit from the currently restrictive immigration policy of the USA.
Your draftsman regrets that the Council has already reached a political agreement on the present proposal disregarding effectively the Parliament's role in the consultation process.