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Irish Presidency positive on prospects for June agreement on major EU research investment programme

30.05.2013, 17:00 GMT


Productive discussions among EU Ministers on Horizon 2020

The prospects for securing agreement on the EU’s multi-billion research investment programme Horizon 2020 remain good, according to Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD.

Minister Sherlock today chaired a meeting of EU Research Ministers, on the second day of the final Competitiveness Council meeting of the Irish Presidency. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was also in attendance. Yesterday, Minister Richard Bruton chaired a meeting of Industry Ministers where agreement was reached with Member States on EU state aid rules and Ministers discussed recent agreement of the Union Customs Code.

At today’s Competitiveness Council, Ministers discussed the Horizon 2020 research investment programme, progress on creating a European Research Area, alignment of research funding among Member States and the EU’s Space Industrial Policy. 

Minister Sherlock commented: “The Irish Presidency is firmly committed to reaching agreement on the Horizon 2020 research investment programme by the end of June. This work continued today and I chaired very productive discussions on the funding model and the budget line for Horizon 2020. With a budget of roughly €70bn, the programme has the potential to significantly boost research in the EU, helping to drive economic growth and create jobs. There was a strong endorsement today for the funding model agreed by the Competitiveness Council last October along with flexibility on other aspects of importance to the Parliament ”

Minister Sherlock - "With a budget of roughly €70bn, the programme has the potential to significantly boost research in the EU, helping to drive economic growth and create jobs.”

“We have been working hard with the Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament towards finalising agreement during our Presidency and this work will continue for the remainder of our term. It is a very challenging process to reconcile the interests and the perspectives of all the parties involved.”

“I welcome the shared commitment to advancing these negotiations.  It is vital that we demonstrate to the citizens of the EU that we are representing their interests efficiently and effectively.  And it is vital, therefore, that we make progress as speedily as possible to ensure that there will be sufficient time to give effect to the necessary legislative procedures to implement Horizon 2020 from the start of 2014.”

Commenting on today’s Research Council, Minister Sherlock continued, “Another priority of the Irish Presidency has been the development of the European Research Area. An important part of this is ensuring coordinated public investment in research and innovation across Europe through Joint Programming.”

“I chaired a productive debate around Joint Programming. Ministers affirmed the importance of ensuring progress. They also recognised the importance of involving the scientific community and other relevant stakeholders directly in this process, in order to maximise societal benefits. Ministers also acknowledged the central role of the High-Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC) in monitoring the Joint Programming process and that the GPC should promote the alignment of national research agendas.”

“There was Council support for a package of measures to boost the EU’s space industry.

Minister Sherlock - "These included promoting the participation of SMEs in the supply chain and the development of critical technologies, ensuring the availability of necessary skills and supporting European access to space."

“Ministers received a presentation from Vice President Tajani on the Commission’s earth observation programme, Copernicus. The programme will provide precise and reliable information about the environment and citizens’ security using satellites and terrestrial sensors."

He concluded “Other areas discussed by Ministers today included the promotion of high-performance computing within the EU and the enhancement of international co-operation on science and technology research.”

Yesterday, Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton chaired a meeting of Industry Ministers where agreement was reached with Member States on EU state aid rules and Ministers discussed recent agreement of the Union Customs Code.


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Read factsheet on what the Irish EU Presidency has achieved for competitiveness.

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