At their last meeting under the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, European research ministers set the course for research and innovation to support Europe’s economic recovery.
Today, EU research ministers met in an informal video conference to agree on the future direction of European research and innovation policy. After discussions on the renewed focus of the European Research Area, German Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek looked back on the activities of the German Presidency in the domain of research and innovation.
Ms Karliczek said about the meeting:
I am very pleased about the adoption of Council Conclusions in the Permanent Representatives Committee as an important step towards an ambitious refocusing of the European Research Area. Today’s debate on possible new investment targets as proposed by the European Commission in its Communication on the European Research Area underlined the dynamic nature of recent developments and the will to breathe life into the European Research Area.
I am committed to ensuring that we will be able to reach a political agreement with the European Parliament on the EU’s spending programmes, including Horizon Europe, before the end of the German Council Presidency. We have made good progress in the sectoral negotiations with the European Parliament. We, the European Council of member states, and the European Parliament share the joint responsibility to do our very best to ensure the timely start of Horizon Europe at the beginning of 2021.
The conclusion of the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework is, however, an essential precondition for reaching an agreement on Horizon Europe. We, the research ministers, expressly welcome the plans to boost Horizon Europe as part of the preliminary agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework. This is setting the right course for maintaining our international competitiveness in science, research and development and strengthening Europe’s technological sovereignty.
Today, we also presented a declaration on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) aimed at facilitating the access, analysis and re-use of research data and findings. The European Commission and the member states support the EOSC strategic partnership within the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation ‘Horizon Europe’.
The past months under the German Council Presidency have drawn a positive picture. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to launch promising initiatives in cooperation with our European partners. Green hydrogen is one such initiative, for which the member states are now drafting a joint research agenda. What great success! The ‘Plastic Pirates - Go Europe!’ campaign is another good example. This project aimed at protecting our water bodies has been the first-ever citizen science initiative of a Trio Presidency, implemented together with Portugal and Slovenia. Together with the European Commission, we want to continue this work and take the campaign to the European level in a next step.