Future of the European Research Area
During a public session, the Council will proceed to an exchange of views on the long-term vision for the completion of the European research area (the so-called "Ljubljana process).
Building on the work carried out by French and Slovenian presidencies, and taking into account the
conclusions adopted by the Council on 2 December 2008 on the definition of a "2020 Vision for the
European Research Area (ERA)" (16767/08), the Czech presidency will conduct a debate with the
purpose to pave the way for further work.
In order to structure the discussion, EU research ministers will be invited to express views on the
basis of the following questions:
• In time of economic recession it is important to focus not only on the level of research and
development (R&D) investment, which should be still growing, but also on the effectiveness
and efficiency of these investments. Do the Member States consider the evaluation of R&D
results and the reinforcement of the interactions within the knowledge triangle appropriate
tools for the strengthening of R&D investments?
• The first important output of the Ljubljana process has been the ERA Vision for 2020 adopted
by the Council in December 2008. The Council should now start planning the implementation
of this shared vision as called for in the Key Issues Paper. To help the current and future
Presidencies to identify the most pressing priorities, notably in the context of the global
economic crisis, Ministers are invited to express which objectives of the ERA 2020 vision and
which related initiatives they consider should be addressed in priority.
The "key issues paper" on competitiveness and innovation to be adopted by the Council, will
encourage member states and the Commission to take the necessary steps in order to ensure
effective governance of ERA and fulfil its vision for 2020.
The Ljubljana process, which aims at a full realisation of ERA, is a central element of the
implementation of the Lisbon agenda in order to achieve more and better coordinated investments
in knowledge leading to improved European competitiveness.
The five current ERA initiatives (research infrastructures, joint programming, researchers’
partnership, international science and technology cooperation and knowledge-sharing) should now
be further developed in governance and implementation.
The launch of the "Ljubljana Process - towards full realisation of ERA" started in May 2008 with
the determination to develop a long-term vision of European research by strengthening governance
of the ERA (9076/08). The process is based in particular on the Lisbon agenda's objectives and the
promotion of free movement of knowledge.
This process should alleviate the current fragmentation of research in Europe and promote
coordination in academic and industrial spheres.
The Ljubljana process was directly inspired by the "Green Paper on the ERA: new perspectives",
presented by the Commission on 4 April 2007, which proposed a vision of the ERA based on six
dimensions, namely: realising a single labour market for researchers; developing world-class
research infrastructures; strengthening research institutions; sharing knowledge; optimising research
programmes and priorities; and international cooperation.
European Research Infrastructures
In its conclusions of 30 May 2008 on "European Research Infrastructures and their regional
dimension" (doc. 10220/08) the Council emphasized that "research infrastructures play a key role in
the development of the European Research Area (ERA)".
During the French Presidency the Council managed to define the "2020 Vision for the European
Research Area" which refers to research infrastructures as follows: "As part of the diversified and
rich landscape of top-level scientific institutions, major research infrastructures in the ERA promote
excellence in science on a globally competitive basis and are jointly funded at EU level where
appropriate, with rapid development of new distributed infrastructures. They offer equitable access
to world-class modern research facilities and technology demonstrators."
The Council will proceed to an exchange of views on European Research Infrastructures on the
basis of the following questions:
• In which ways would research infrastructures improve promoting the collaboration within the
knowledge triangle, and thus contribute to the competitiveness of Europe?
• What contribution do you think the development of research infrastructures can make to the
European industry in the context of the Recovery Plan? What could be the implications to the
implementation of the ESFRI roadmap?
• What kind of policy measures do Member States consider essential for achieving optimal
distribution of research infrastructures throughout the ERA?
This debate will also serve as an input to the further examination of the matter on which the Council
is envisaged to adopt conclusions at its forthcoming session on 28-29 May 2009.
Spokesperson of the MEYS for CZ PRES
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