Brussels, 16 Oct 2002
Launched at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, the creation of a European Research Area has become the central pillar of EU activities in the field of research and the reference framework for European research policy issues.
Thirty months after it was launched, the European Research Area initiative can be seen to have played a part in reshaping the European research policy landscape. Its implementation has raised awareness of the European dimension of research at national level. It has stimulated a process bringing the parties involved in European research closer together and launching new cooperation initiatives and has led to the definition and adoption of a substantially redefined Framework Programme for Research.
Notwithstanding the progress made in these different respects, the initiative in its current form seems to be hampered, however, by insufficient participation of the Member States. This is reducing the impact of the activities being undertaken, thereby jeopardising the chances of the project achieving its objectives: the creation of a genuine "Internal market in research" and the establishment of genuine coordination of national research policies.
This Communication is based on an assessment of the activities undertaken and the developments which have occurred in different areas, in the process "revisiting" the various dimensions of the initiative. The Communication seeks to identify what should be done to give new momentum to the European Research Area initiative by strengthening efforts where necessary and defining new perspectives which will provide the initiative with more effective means of implementation.