Brussels, 15 December 2004
I am pleased to welcome you to this seminar today.
As new Commissioner for Research, it gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to address this first-ever gathering of the industrial leaders of European technology platforms.
These platforms can only succeed if industry takes the lead in setting them up and driving them forward. Your participation today demonstrates industry’s active commitment to technology platforms and I would like to acknowledge this.
I am fully behind the development technology platforms. I see them as a key component of future European research policy.
I would like to share some reflections with you on our efforts to become a dynamic knowledge-based society and on the role I see technology platforms play in these efforts.
Knowledge for Growth
If we are to stand a chance of meeting the Lisbon goals, determined action must be taken at European level to put knowledge at the heart of Europe’s policy for competitiveness.
Our main, if not only, factor of competitiveness in a globalising economy is knowledge. Not knowledge for the sake of knowing. But putting knowledge to work to create economic success and address societal challenges.
In Europe, we must become better at creating knowledge through research, at diffusing knowledge through education and at applying knowledge through innovation.
And we can reinforce this knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation by creating the adequate regulatory, financial and other conditions that promote the knowledge economy.
This is why I am advocating, as part of the Commission’s proposals fro reinvigorating the Lisbon strategy, that we launch a “Knowledge for Growth Pact”.
We already have a “Stability and Growth Pact”. This ensures fiscal discipline, which is indispensable for stable, long term growth.
The “Knowledge for Growth Pact” could complement this and ensure a disciplined focus on micro-economic policies and investments that are productive for the future.
I would see such a pact organised around a limited number of quantitative objectives that the EU and the Member Sates would commit themselves to achieve.
In research, we have the target of spending 3% of our GDP on research and development, which our political leaders have committed to achieve by 2010. A Knowledge for Growth initiative would surely give new impetus to efforts for reaching this target.
But realising the knowledge society is a broad project that requires the joint commitment of many policy areas: education, employment and social policies, enterprise, internal market, competition, information society, justice and home affairs, environment, cohesion policy, and others.