Research ministers discuss EU strategy on sustainable growth
On 27 September 2019, Research ministers met in Brussels to discuss the EU vision for a long-term strategy for sustainable growth. The discussion was based on a paper prepared by the Finnish Presidency. Ministers emphasised the central role of R&I for the transformation towards a sustainable economy and society. At the same time, they underlined the importance of using and applying research results more effectively. They stressed the need for close collaboration with sectoral policies. Several ministers mentioned the crucial role of education in this process, as well as the importance of increased support for disruptive technologies and innovations. Ministers also referred to the role of Horizon Europe, the R&I partnerships and the imminent relaunch of the European Research Area which shall have sustainable growth as a main objective.
A second exchange of views was dedicated to synergies of Horizon Europe with other MFF programmes. In his introductory statement, Commissioner Moedas announced a change of the block exemption regulation with the aim of exempting complementary funding for R&I partnerships and “seal of excellence” projects from the restrictions imposed by the state aid rules. Ministers welcomed this announcement and unanimously argued in favour of strengthening the synergies with other programmes. Ministers also supported an integrated ‘whole of government approach” in order to increase the impact of R&I funding. Synergies with the structural funds and the need to further improve their compatibility with the Framework Programme were mentioned most frequently during the discussion.
During lunch, ministers discussed the role of R&I for the transformation towards a climate neutral economy. Several Member States presented their national strategies. As in the exchange of views on sustainable growth, they highlighted the central role of R&I. Ministers agreed that Horizon Europe will be an important instrument for the Green Deal for Europe.
This meeting was the last meeting for Commissioner Carlos Moedas in his role as Commissioner for Research and Innovation. He presented a booklet containing a summary of the achievements of his five-year term entitled “Open Europe”. Commissioner Moedas thanked ministers for their constructive collaboration. Ministers unanimously congratulated and thanked the Commissioner for his ambitious and dedicated way of handling R&I throughout his term.