Category Archives: Growth and jobs

The aim of the Lisbon Strategy, launched in 2000, was to make Europe “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. According to the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy, the results are, at best, mixed. The gap in terms of productivity and growth between Europe and its economic partners has continued to widen, and the ageing population represents a further challenge.

The European Council has therefore decided to relaunch the Lisbon Strategy through a partnership for growth and jobs. The objective of this partnership will remain firmly anchored in sustainable development. However, in order to achieve it, Europe needs to focus on a more restricted number of priorities. Indeed, the achievement of stronger, lasting growth and the creation of more and better jobs would unblock the resources needed to realise our more general economic, social and environmental ambitions.

The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010

The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010

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Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010

The Commission intends to strengthen the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP) and is proposing ten objectives for the period 2008-2010. In order to ensure optimum implementation of the CLP, it is counting on effective collaboration between the various European institutions, and on close monitoring.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 December 2007 – Proposal for a Community Lisbon Programme 2008–2010 [COM(2007) 804 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Lisbon Strategy has proved its worth. Since its relaunch in 2005, more than 6.5 million jobs have been created in Europe and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level for 25 years. Growth has also been sustained.
However, given that Europe is now confronted by a worldwide economic slowdown and must face unprecedented long-term challenges (ageing of the population, globalisation, climate change, dependence on energy imports, etc.), the second phase (2008-2010) of the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP) would appear to be crucial.
Against this backdrop, the Commission means to draw lessons from the 2005-2008 phase, particularly as regards the implementation of the strategy.

Strengthening and renewing the CLP

In order to complement the CLP, the Commission is pinpointing ten objectives which offer either genuine Community-level added value or show significant impacts on growth and jobs within the European Union (EU). The selection of the objectives is on the basis of sound economic analyses and policy priorities.

These objectives are based on the integrated guidelines and rest fully on the four priority areas of the Lisbon strategy, namely:

  • investing in people and modernising labour markets;
  • energy and climate change;
  • strengthening economic competitiveness;
  • promoting knowledge and innovation.

Investing in people and modernising labour markets

Human resources which are better adapted to the needs of labour markets are both the key to European competitiveness worldwide and the basis for more independent living. This will require:

  • a renewal of the Social Agenda;
  • improved coordination of instruments to better anticipate EU-wide labour market developments and needs;
  • greater comparability and recognition of qualifications;
  • development of a common policy on immigration, with the introduction of a “blue card” scheme for highly qualified migrants representing a first step in this direction.

Unlocking business potential, especially of SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up more than 99% of all businesses and employ 67% of the EU’s total workforce. The potential for growth and jobs in SMEs is still not being fully exploited. In order to support SMEs throughout their life-cycle, the Commission plans to:

  • adopt a European Small Business Act for the benefit of small-scale enterprises;
  • undertake a specific screening of the acquis communautaire from an SME perspective and introduce exemptions from administrative requirements of EU legislation wherever possible;
  • ensure the implementation of the various European programmes to reduce administrative burdens, with the aim of a 25% reduction by 2012.

The Commission is also proposing new measures for the financial services market. In particular, it plans to implement the services Directive and, more specifically, to establish the Single Euro Payments Area. SMEs will be the first to benefit from this removal of barriers to market access, for example by being allowed to choose an EU-wide tax base.

Investing in knowledge and innovation

The Commission is introducing a new dimension: the creation of a fifth freedom on the single market – based on the three components of the knowledge triangle, i.e. research, innovation and education – for the purpose of setting up a European research area. This will require a concentration and a more effective use of R&D resources and common calls for projects. Finally, it is crucial that the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) be made operational.

The Commission is also proposing to create more favourable conditions for the financing of innovation and to improve SMEs’ access to finance for new technologies. In this connection, the creation of a Community patent would not only improve the current patent litigation system but would also increase legal certainty, leading to a greater investment readiness among SMEs.

Energy and climate change

Among the objectives identified by the Commission, Nos 8 and 9 are concerned with energy policy and climate change in the context of the Community Lisbon Programme. The internal market for electricity and gas must be completed by introducing an emissions trading scheme. It is therefore crucial that legislation be passed in order to meet the EU’s targets of achieving at least a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 20% renewable energy share by 2020.

In addition, industrial policy must be geared to sustainable consumption. The Commission is thus proposing to establish an internal market for environmental technologies and promote the development of European lead markets for energy-efficient technologies. To this end, Community funds must be used to develop a market in low-carbon products and technologies. The Commission also plans to review the energy taxation Directive in order that other fiscal instruments can be used to promote low-energy products.

As regards the external agenda, where the opening-up of Europe and the defence of its legitimate interests go hand in hand, bilateral negotiations with the main trading partners are the main concern of the foreign-policy element of the Community Lisbon Programme.

The Commission should also work to conclude the Doha multilateral trade negotiations. In order to make for a more coordinated approach by the EU, the Commission is proposing to introduce annual reports on countries and sectors in which barriers to trade still exist. Improving the framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights against counterfeiting is also a priority which can be achieved through more effective cooperation between customs authorities.

Implementation of the CLP

The ten priority objectives need to be closely monitored by means of annual reports. This would allow a systematic assessment of progress made, which would form the basis for the Commission’s annual autumn reports. The Spring European Council must take stock and provide further direction as part of its annual overall assessment of the Lisbon Strategy on Growth and Jobs. The programme will also be subject to a mid-term review to enable any adjustments to be made to the ten priority objectives.

The Community’s financial resources for improving growth and economic adjustment derive from cohesion policy programmes of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Lifelong Learning Programme and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. It is estimated that two million additional jobs will be generated by these funds by 2015. The Communication also proposes that a close follow-up be undertaken by each of the institutions and all the Member States in order to achieve the ten objectives.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 16 December 2008 – Implementation Report for the Community Lisbon Programme 2008 – 2010 [COM(2008) 881 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission presented the first annual report on the outcomes of the Community Lisbon Programme 2008 – 2010. This report evaluates the outcomes of the first year the programme has been implemented. It proposes new objectives in-line with the priorities of the European Economic Recovery Plan and complementing the reforms being carried out by Member States.

Thus it concerns:

  • improving the skills of workers, modernising the labour market and social protection systems, according to the terms of the renewed Social Agenda. Further efforts are needed to assess the needs of the labour market, as well as to remove the regulatory constraints which act as a barrier to mobility, recognition of qualifications and access to pension and social protection systems. The Commission will make proposals for an immigration strategy, aimed at placing value on the abilities of migrants;
  • increasing the development potential of enterprises, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EU shall guarantee SMEs have access to finance and shall reduce Community administrative burdens by 25% by 2012. Enterprises will benefit from the strengthening of the single market for financial services;
  • making Europe a leading knowledge and innovation economy and society through the creation of the European Research Area, open and competitive on an international level. Also by improving conditions for innovation (finance, investment and legal certainty);
  • finalising the energy market and combating climate change. With the aim of making the energy supply secure, the EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. Industrial production must be aimed at achieving objectives related to energy efficiency and sustainability;
  • opening up new opportunities for trade, market access and international investment. The Community is working to conclude the Doha negotiations under the framework of the WHO, and to lead bilateral negotiations with its commercial partners. The Community promotes the improvement of international standards and regulatory cooperation, particularly with regard to combating counterfeiting.

European Job Mobility Action Plan

European Job Mobility Action Plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Job Mobility Action Plan

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Internal market > Living and working in the internal market

European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 December 2007 – Mobility, an instrument for more and better jobs: The European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010) [COM(2007) 773 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Although European workers seem more willing to be mobile than before, job mobility rates are increasing relatively slowly in the European Union (EU). Uncertainty as to the advantages of mobility and the numerous administrative and legal barriers present are among the reasons for this. It is thus essential to implement new actions to encourage mobility. This is why the Commission proposes, with a view to tackling the new challenges of mobility, an action plan consisting of four strands.

Action Plan 2007-2010

Improving existing legislation and administrative practices is the first objective. Four actions are proposed in this field:

  • examining whether Community legislation needs to be amended to allow workers to move freely, according to the new mobility patterns, without losing their social protection;
  • legally strengthening the role of the TRESS network of independent experts in the area of social security coordination at European level (dissemination of knowledge, reports and expert advice). Consultation with stakeholders and an impact assessment should determine whether administrative practices or regulatory provisions need to be amended;
  • further simplifying national cooperation and administration practices (exchange and consultation of information electronically, launching an electronic version of the European health insurance card, etc.) in order to accelerate and facilitate the reimbursement of migrant workers’ social security expenditure;
  • concluding the proposals on the portability of supplementary pension rights in order to improve the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights.

Moreover, combining flexibility and mobility (flexicurity ()) should contribute to the Lisbon Strategy, by making it possible for more workers to find more and better jobs.

Ensuring that the national, regional and local authorities promote mobility at their respective levels is the second objective. In this respect, the Member States should:

  • make mobility a priority objective of their national strategy for employment and lifelong learning ;
  • learn from best practices through mutual learning programmes which may receive EU Cohesion Policy funding. In this context, an inventory of such programmes will be carried out and the possibility of developing European mobility programmes will be examined;
  • use the European Qualifications Framework, promote Europass and develop the European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

In addition, regional and local authorities, education and training centres and civil society will be encouraged to remove practical obstacles and to promote ‘fair mobility’, which respects labour standards and legal provisions.

Moreover, several actions are proposed to extend the scope and quality of the services provided byEURES in the area of worker mobility, namely:

  • increasing the provision of information and raising awareness on the principle of equal treatment and respect for labour standards within European markets;
  • stepping up the collection of strategic information in order to strengthen its analytical capacity;
  • enhancing the assistance provided to mobile workers in the EU, in particular with regard to specific categories of workers;
  • extending, in certain cases, some of these services to third-country nationals.

Action is planned on three fronts in order to increase citizens’ awareness on mobility:

  • organising annual ‘European Job Days’ not only to better inform citizens about their rights and the benefits of mobility but also to step up exchanges among the different stakeholders;
  • launching a ‘European Job Mobility Partnership’, and setting up a network to promote mobility;
  • incorporating into the PROGRESS programme support for the funding of pilot activities, the exchange of best practice, the dissemination of results on new developments and the emergence of innovative programmes.

Background

Job mobility must make it possible to confront the new challenges related to an ageing society and a constantly changing market, all the more so if one considers the new opportunities for both workers and employers following EU enlargement. The Lisbon Strategy and the European Employment Strategy have, furthermore, officially recognised increased geographical and occupational mobility as essential means of adapting in the context of rapidly changing labour markets. This Communication is intended to build on the series of initiatives to promote mobility. The Commission wishes to learn from the experience gained through the 2002 Action Plan for Skills and Mobility and the 2006 European Year of Workers’ Mobility.


Another Normative about European Job Mobility Action Plan

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Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 December 2007 – Mobility, an instrument for more and better jobs: The European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010) [COM(2007) 773 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Although European workers seem more willing to be mobile than before, job mobility rates are increasing relatively slowly in the European Union (EU). Uncertainty as to the advantages of mobility and the numerous administrative and legal barriers present are among the reasons for this. It is thus essential to implement new actions to encourage mobility. This is why the Commission proposes, with a view to tackling the new challenges of mobility, an action plan consisting of four strands.

Action Plan 2007-2010

Improving existing legislation and administrative practices is the first objective. Four actions are proposed in this field:

  • examining whether Community legislation needs to be amended to allow workers to move freely, according to the new mobility patterns, without losing their social protection;
  • legally strengthening the role of the TRESS network of independent experts in the area of social security coordination at European level (dissemination of knowledge, reports and expert advice). Consultation with stakeholders and an impact assessment should determine whether administrative practices or regulatory provisions need to be amended;
  • further simplifying national cooperation and administration practices (exchange and consultation of information electronically, launching an electronic version of the European health insurance card, etc.) in order to accelerate and facilitate the reimbursement of migrant workers’ social security expenditure;
  • concluding the proposals on the portability of supplementary pension rights in order to improve the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights.

Moreover, combining flexibility and mobility (flexicurity ( src=”../../../../scadplus/images/lang_high_es.gif” alt=”castellano” height=”13″ lang=”es” width=”18/”>

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)) should contribute to the Lisbon Strategy, by making it possible for more workers to find more and better jobs.

Ensuring that the national, regional and local authorities promote mobility at their respective levels is the second objective. In this respect, the Member States should:

  • make mobility a priority objective of their national strategy for employment and lifelong learning ;
  • learn from best practices through mutual learning programmes which may receive EU Cohesion Policy funding. In this context, an inventory of such programmes will be carried out and the possibility of developing European mobility programmes will be examined;
  • use the European Qualifications Framework, promote Europass and develop the European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

In addition, regional and local authorities, education and training centres and civil society will be encouraged to remove practical obstacles and to promote ‘fair mobility’, which respects labour standards and legal provisions.

Moreover, several actions are proposed to extend the scope and quality of the services provided by

EURES
in the area of worker mobility, namely:

  • increasing the provision of information and raising awareness on the principle of equal treatment and respect for labour standards within European markets;
  • stepping up the collection of strategic information in order to strengthen its analytical capacity;
  • enhancing the assistance provided to mobile workers in the EU, in particular with regard to specific categories of workers;
  • extending, in certain cases, some of these services to third-country nationals.

Action is planned on three fronts in order to increase citizens’ awareness on mobility:

  • organising annual ‘European Job Days’ not only to better inform citizens about their rights and the benefits of mobility but also to step up exchanges among the different stakeholders;
  • launching a ‘European Job Mobility Partnership’, and setting up a network to promote mobility;
  • incorporating into the PROGRESS programme support for the funding of pilot activities, the exchange of best practice, the dissemination of results on new developments and the emergence of innovative programmes.

Background

Job mobility must make it possible to confront the new challenges related to an ageing society and a constantly changing market, all the more so if one considers the new opportunities for both workers and employers following EU enlargement. The Lisbon Strategy and the European Employment Strategy have, furthermore, officially recognised increased geographical and occupational mobility as essential means of adapting in the context of rapidly changing labour markets. This Communication is intended to build on the series of initiatives to promote mobility. The Commission wishes to learn from the experience gained through the 2002 Action Plan for Skills and Mobility and the 2006 European Year of Workers’ Mobility.

Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: new cycle 2008-2010

Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: new cycle 2008-2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: new cycle 2008-2010

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Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: new cycle 2008-2010

The Commission is presenting a series of actions with a view to launching the second cycle (2008-2010) of reforms under the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, and to achieving the strategy’s objectives. To this end, the action of the European Union and the Member States must be strengthened in four priority areas: unlocking business potential; investing in people and modernising labour markets; knowledge and innovation; and energy-efficiency and combating climate change.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 11 December 2007 – Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: launching the new cycle (2008-2010) Part I [COM(2007) 803 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This document presents the launch of the second cycle of actions relating to growth and jobs with a view to enabling the Member States to fully achieve the objectives laid down in the renewed Lisbon strategy. Even though overall progress with structural reforms during the first cycle (2005-2008) has been positive, these reforms must be intensified.

Further efforts are essential, particularly with a view to:

  • increasing investments in information and communication technologies;
  • allowing effective operation of the internal market, in which delays are occurring particularly as regards the implementation of the rules on intellectual and industrial property rights;
  • creating a genuine entrepreneurial culture;
  • putting in place education systems which allow for lifelong learning.

The report states that although the principle of “flexicurity” had been applied to the social security reforms in most Member States, it had not achieved the desired results, principally because of a lack of supporting measures.

In view of these problems and the risk of financial turmoil, particularly as a result of increased prices for raw materials, the Lisbon strategy should be deepened by:

  • pressing ahead with reforms in order to maximise the impact of the new generation of EU cohesion policy programmes on growth and jobs. Around € 70 billion will be mobilised annually up to 2013, mostly in support of the National Reform Programmes (NRPs);
  • widening stakeholder involvement in the Lisbon strategy;
  • strengthening economic policy coordination, with an emphasis on partnership between the Member States and the EU when updating and implementing the integrated guidelines;
  • undertaking the reforms needed at Community level, especially under the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP);
  • shaping the external agenda through the securing of access to third country markets for European companies, and matched by the EU maintaining its openness and intensifying the strategic dialogue with these third countries;
  • integrating national, Community and international action into an effective strategy based on a partnership centred around the four priority areas agreed by the 2006 Spring European Council, namely knowledge and innovation, unlocking business potential, investing in people and modernising labour markets, and energy-efficiency and combating climate change.

Actions in the four priority areas

As part of the second cycle (2008-2010) of reforms under the Lisbon strategy, the Commission is proposing the implementation of a number of actions at Community and national level. These measures focus on the four priority areas specified by the Commission.

Investing in people and modernising labour markets, particularly in the context of flexicurity, is intended to help employees and employers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation. To this end, the Commission is proposing the following measures to be implemented by the Community:

  • a renewed Social Agenda taking account of Europe’s new realities;
  • evaluation and assessment of skills and needs on the jobs market, drawing mainly on the Council’s initiative on new skills for new jobs [PDF ];
  • measures for a common immigration policy.

Certain steps must also be taken by the Member States to:

  • define national pathways within their NRPs;
  • improve childcare services (in terms of cost, quality and availability);
  • tackle early school-leaving and improve basic reading skills;
  • increase the number of international exchanges;
  • draw up, by 2010, national qualification frameworks aligned with the European framework.

Unlocking business potential, especially of SMEs, is also a priority. To this end, a number of actions are proposed at Community level:

  • adoption of a measure in favour of small businesses;
  • reduction of administrative burdens and implementation of an ambitious simplification programme;
  • strengthening of the single market, especially in the field of services.

Action by the Member States is also required to:

  • implement the services Directive by 2009;
  • set and announce administrative burden reduction targets;
  • continue modernising public administrations.

Investing in knowledge and innovation is intended to spur the EU’s transition to a knowledge-based and creative economy. The “fifth freedom” – the free movement of knowledge – should thus be established. To this end, the Commission must:

  • improve the framework conditions for innovation;
  • remove obstacles to the cross-border mobility of researchers (on the basis of a European “passport”);
  • manage more effectively the pooling of the EU’s and the Member States’ R&D resources;
  • launch a new generation of world-class research facilities and improve competition for high-speed Internet.

Action should also be taken by the Member States to:

  • coordinate efforts to improve framework conditions for innovation;
  • indicate how national R&D investment targets for 2010 will be met and how the creation of a European research area is to be achieved;
  • facilitate the mobility of researchers (between public and private research centres);
  • draw up strategies identifying the new generation of world-class research facilities;
  • set targets aiming at a 30% rate of high-speed Internet usage.

The creation of a low-carbon and energy-efficient economy is also a priority. The Commission therefore proposes that the EU should lead the way by:

  • seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 % and achieve a renewable energy share of 20% by 2020. In addition, the Commission must promote more sustainable production and consumption;
  • review the taxation of energy in the light of energy and environmental objectives;
  • strengthen the requirements regarding the energy performance of buildings.

Action should also be taken by the Member States to:

  • review their economic instruments in the ongoing fight against climate change;
  • ensure that energy-efficiency is used as one of the award criteria for public procurement;
  • set mandatory energy reduction targets for government buildings;
  • improve interconnection of energy grids.

Context

Since the relaunch of the Lisbon strategy in 2005, the EU and the Member States have formed a new partnership to ensure sustainable growth and employment. Following the first cycle (2005-2008), tangible results have been achieved as regards the rate of growth (especially as a result of the structural reforms), job creation and the rates of employment and unemployment. The key role played by the renewed Lisbon strategy was confirmed at the informal European summit held in Lisbon in October 2007, which also advocated a deepening of the strategy during the next cycle. Part II of the Communication describes the progress achieved in the different Member States. The Lisbon “package” also contains a Part IV setting out the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs (2008-2010). All these documents enabled the 2008 Spring European Council to launch a further, ambitious cycle by adopting, in particular, the actions being proposed by the Commission.

Related Acts

Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 13 and 14 March 2008 [Not published in the Official Journal].
On the basis of the documents submitted by the Commission, and in the light of the work carried out by the relevant formations of the Council, the European Council has launched the second three-year cycle (2008–2010) of the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs. In this connection, the European Council confirmed the integrated guidelines, endorsed the country-specific recommendations, and confirmed the four priority areas under the renewed Lisbon strategy. Taking as its basis the actions proposed by the Commission and the work undertaken by the European Parliament, the Council also approved a number of specific measures.

Life sciences and biotechnology

Life sciences and biotechnology

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Life sciences and biotechnology

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Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Life sciences and biotechnology

Helping the European Union to harness the life sciences and biotechnology in many areas such as health care, agriculture, food, industrial uses and the environment in order to create a sustainable, knowledge-based economy. This is the aim of the various acts in this field adopted by the European Commission over the last few years. For Europe, life sciences and biotechnology represent both a challenge and a major potential to be harnessed. A potential which the Commission aims to develop by means of a European strategy. This document summarises the main aspects of that strategy (the basic idea, the challenges, the action planned, ethical aspects, etc).

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 January 2002: “Life sciences and biotechnology – A Strategy for Europe” [COM(2002) 27 final – Official Journal C 55 of 2.3.2002].

Summary

Biotechnology is a technique which, by means of genetic manipulation, produces biological molecules or transgenic organisms for industrial, agricultural, pharmaceutical or chemical applications, etc.

The life sciences raise important policy and social issues and have prompted wide public debate. A revolution is taking place in the biotechnology knowledge-base, opening the way to new applications in the areas of health care, agriculture, food production and environmental protection.

Major scientific and technological advances have been made in life sciences and biotechnology over the last few years. In response, in January 2002 the European Commission adopted a strategy for Europe to devise sustainable and responsible policies to deal with the following three major issues:

  • life sciences and biotechnology offer opportunities to address many of the world’s needs as regards health, ageing, food, the environment and sustainable development;
  • broad public support is essential, and ethical and social implications and concerns must be addressed;
  • the scientific and technological revolution is a global reality which creates new opportunities and challenges for all countries of the world.

The strategy is divided into two sections:

  • general policy outlines;
  • a thirty-point plan to flesh out these outlines and measures.

It reflects the importance which the European Council attaches to the life sciences. It proposes a comprehensive roadmap up to 2010 and puts the sector at the forefront of those frontier technologies which are helping the European Union to meet the Lisbon objectives.

The potential of life sciences and biotechnology

Life sciences and biotechnology are widely regarded as being among the most promising frontier technologies for the coming decades.

In the health care sector, biotechnology already permits safer and more ethical production of an increasing number of drugs and medical services. Stem cell research offers the prospect of replacement tissues and organs to treat degenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, etc. It also opens up prospects for quality-of-life improvement through innovative medical applications.

In the agri-food sector, biotechnology has the potential to improve the quality of foodstuffs and animal feed to help prevent disease and reduce health risks. Plant genome research is a key area. In this context, the size of the world’s area under genetically modified crops (GMOs) has nearly doubled.

In the case of non-food uses for crops, biotechnology helps to improve the use of industrial raw materials for the energy transformation industry and the pharmaceutical industry. The modifications under development include alterations to carbohydrates, oils, fats, proteins and fibres. Similarly, biomass could provide alternative sources of energy, with both liquid and solid biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol.

From an environmental point of view, biotechnology offers new ways to protect and improve the environment, especially air, soil, water and waste. Research focuses on the development of cleaner industrial products and processes and on more sustainable agricultural practices.

In the context of the revised Lisbon strategy, the life sciences and biotechnology sector should have a role to play. As the latest progress report points out, over the coming decades it should:

  • strengthen Europe’s position on the world high-technology market;
  • become a leading area of science, industry and employment;
  • increase prosperity by creating higher-quality jobs;
  • contribute to the modernisation of European industry.

Harnessing the potential

The European strategy for the life sciences and biotechnology identifies the following strategic priorities:

  • launching a knowledge-based economy by means of greater investment in research and development and education and training;
  • translating that knowledge into concrete scientific and technological applications (new products, processes and services);
  • strengthening governance in terms of drafting and implementing policies and actions;
  • widening Europe’s international dimension;
  • promoting dialogue, coherence and cooperation as regards the implementation of current and future action.

Europe’s competitiveness should be enhanced through three main pillars for action:

  • Strengthening the resource base
    The objective is to place the emphasis on life science education (lifelong learning for scientists, general awareness of the public, etc.). The key to advances in biotechnology is access to detailed and up-to-date bioinformatics databases.
  • Networking Europe’s biotechnology communities
    There is a need to facilitate open access to knowledge, skills and best practice and to create a close community of the people and institutions involved in biotechnology.
  • A proactive role for public authorities
    The aim is to anticipate emerging issues and proactively adapt policies.

Biotechnology focuses on solving specific problems. The strategy pays special attention to building up the competitiveness of European industry by improving the potential to create small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose activity is based on research and the spirit of enterprise. These new industries, founded on scientific knowledge, are a source of industrial competitiveness, technological innovation, investment opportunities and job creation.

Ethical and social implications

The development and application of life sciences and biotechnology raise fundamental ethical questions such as the definition and the nature of human beings and the use and supervision of genetic information.

In addition, the life sciences and biotechnology have attracted much attention from the general public and prompted serious debate. The dialogue should be open, in-depth, well-informed and structured in order to provide better information and promote mutual understanding. It is therefore of key importance to promote information and dialogue to help the public and stakeholders to better understand and appreciate these complex issues and to develop methods and criteria for weighing the benefits against disadvantages or risks.

The public authorities, economic operators and the scientific community should strive to communicate the relevant facts and facilitate an understanding of the key questions in a context of international cooperation.

Steps to be taken: action plan

The objective of the action plan is to set up a coherent policy framework aimed at promoting the creation of conditions favourable to the development of biotechnology in Europe and to collaboration between the Member States and private individuals or organisations. There are four types of action:

  • action intended to support research, to establish a European intellectual property system, etc.;
  • action aimed at establishing dialogue on the ethical, legal and social implications;
  • action in the area of international cooperation, particularly with the developing countries;
  • action to pursue the development of a European biotechnology policy.

Progress reports and outlook

To take stock of the progress being made under this strategy at regular intervals, the Commission has adopted three progress reports since 2002. In these, the Commission reviews not just the progress made but also the hold-ups encountered in some areas. The three reports set out the results achieved in terms of policy development and implementation on the ground, and address new emerging issues. Where possible, they also look into the areas covered by the roadmap.

For the mid-term review of current strategy (at the European Council meeting in spring 2007), the European Commission has made an in-depth evaluation of the progress achieved since 2002 and looked at the overall role of life sciences and biotechnology in European society. These two initiatives are based in particular on:

  • public consultation;
  • an independent study carried out by the Joint Research Centre (JRC);
  • a report on the competitiveness of European industry and research in the field of biotechnology.

Background

The EU has a substantial research potential in the area of biotechnology. Society needs to reap the expected benefits in terms of growth and job creation. The Fifth (1998-2002) and Sixth (2002-2006) Framework Programmes provided researchers, businessmen, industrialists and financiers with the means. Life sciences and biotechnology are also a global reality and are vital for generating knowledge-based dynamic and innovative economies. The success of any knowledge-based economy also rests upon the generation, dissemination and application of new knowledge. However, European investment in research and development is lagging behind that of the United States. The Commission aims to restore European leadership in the life sciences and biotechnology. The Sixth Framework Programme for research (2002-2006) makes this area a priority, providing a solid platform for constructing a European research area in collaboration with the Member States.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the mid-term review of the Strategy on Life Sciences and Biotechnology [COM(2007) 175 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this document the Commission underlines the effectiveness of the life science and biotechnology strategy, which it intends to complete as scheduled (2011).

The main results highlighted for the period ended (2002-2006) are:

  • the regional integration of clusters;
  • inspiring national action plans;
  • the adoption of a new legal framework on GMOs.

By contrast, the results as regards promotion and development of innovation in biotechnology are less striking. In this sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are still suffering from the lack of a Community framework (patents), low investment levels and poor cooperation between the academic world and finance.

The Commission identifies five priority areas of action for the strategy:

  • promoting research and market development for life science and biotechnology applications;
  • fostering competitiveness, knowledge transfer and innovation from the science base to industry;
  • encouraging debate on the benefits and risks of life sciences and biotechnology;
  • improving implementation of the legislation and optimising its impact on competitiveness;
  • ensuring a sustainable contribution of modern biotechnology to agriculture.

The document also describes a number of modern life science and biotechnology applications, with information on their impact in areas such as industry, the economy, the environment and healthcare.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee of 29 June 2005 “Life sciences and biotechnology – A strategy for Europe” Third progress report and future orientations [COM(2005) 286 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 7 April 2004 “Life sciences and biotechnology – A strategy for Europe” Second progress report and future orientations [COM(2004) 250 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 5 March 2003 “Life sciences and biotechnology – A strategy for Europe” Progress report and future orientations [COM(2003) 96 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 December 2001 “Science and Society – Action Plan” [COM(2001) 714 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 4 September 2001 “Towards a strategic vision of life sciences and biotechnology – Consultation document” [COM(2001) 454 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

The Commission is committed to promoting innovation and research in Europe based on future strategic technologies, closer collaboration between universities, researchers and business, and the creation of European Technology Platforms and a European Institute for Technology. The European Union (EU) also intends to take steps to encourage private investment and ensure better protection of intellectual property.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Council of 12 October 2006 – An innovation-friendly, modern Europe [COM(2006) 589 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

As the Indian and Chinese economies move into high-added-value technologies, the European Union (EU) will need to increase its potential for innovation *, research and technology. Innovation is the key to the success of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs.

Where does Europe stand?

The EU seems to be confronted with a number of paradoxes which prevent it from realising its full potential, namely an inability to convert inventions into new products, patents and jobs, and a large number of innovative small businesses which find it difficult to grow into globally successful companies.

In order to come to terms with these paradoxes, the Commission has arrived at the following conclusions:

  • The EU must provide high-quality education in the form of initial and continuing training. The problem is that the average European adult is less well educated than adults in other industrialised countries. Consequently, a considerable investment is needed in higher education and lifelong learning to enable people to update their qualifications frequently. This investment will be all the more useful because the working-age population will fall by 6.8% between now and 2030 as a result of demographic change, leading to a shortage of skilled staff in engineering.
  • Europe must review and reorganise its education system in order to improve synergies between its universities.
  • To increase economic dynamism, obstacles such as “red tape” and the scarcity of venture capital must be eliminated.

The Commission stresses the importance for research and development (R&D) of radically reorganising the education system. The EU would like to see closer collaboration between the universities and the business world. The investment target for research is 2.6% of GDP by 2010 for Europe as a whole, which would put Europe on a par with its Asian and American competitors.

Unlocking Europe’s innovation potential

The keys to unlocking Europe’s innovation potential are:

  • The establishment of European leadership in future strategic technologies by creating networks of excellence, such as the European Technology Platforms * (ETPs). The success of these platforms will also lead to better public-private partnerships through Joint Technology Initiatives * (JTIs), which will make it possible to invest in promising areas, such as nanoelectronics, fuel cells, innovative medicines, aeronautics, embedded computing systems and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). European industry is ready to invest in these projects provided that their investments are complemented by EU funding through the 7th Framework Programme and individual Member States’ contributions.
  • The forging of stronger links between universities, research and business. For far too long, universities have been too remote from the business world. The development of regional clusters fostering cooperation between universities, large and small companies, research institutes, investors and associations would make a major contribution to innovation policy. Furthermore, making better use of knowledge by setting up a European Institute of Technology (EIT) to create synergies between innovators would optimise Member States’ competitiveness.

The Commission would also like to improve the framework conditions for investment in R&D and reap commercial benefits from innovation by:

  • Creating a genuinely integrated single market. Real competition and a fully functioning internal market (with free movement of researchers, technologies and knowledge) are prerequisites for developing innovation and enabling SMEs to compete.
  • Encouraging innovation funding. Innovative SMEs are sometimes unable to find the necessary financial impetus to fund their projects, and there is a risk that they will go elsewhere (to America). Tax incentives offered by Member States may provide a solution.
  • Drawing up an intellectual property policy for the 21st century. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) must provide legal protection of user rights. They must also guarantee high-quality assessment of novelty, affordable patent procedures for SMEs, convergence and unification of laws and proceedings, and a balance between allowing new ideas to circulate within the EU and rewarding creativity. The Commission is keen to adopt a cost-effective Community patent to make the patent system more efficient, and will propose concrete steps towards a modern and affordable framework before the 2007 Spring European Council.
  • Setting open and interoperable standards more quickly to enable new products to be put onto the market immediately within a single framework, as was the case with the GSM standard.

Creating sector-specific conditions to help companies to innovate is also a priority. With this in mind, the EU is calling on Member States to encourage innovative solutions when awarding public service contracts and to modernise their public administrations (e-government).

Background

Since 1984, the EU’s research and technological development policy has been based on multiannual framework programmes. Research, innovation and education policies remain at the heart of the knowledge triangle promoted by the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. The communication is therefore part of the Lisbon Strategy. The Spring European Council will undertake regular monitoring of progress made in implementing these measures.

Key terms used in the act
  • Innovation: renewing and extending the range of products and services; establishing new methods of design, production, supply and distribution; and changing management and work organisation, as well as the working conditions and skills of the workforce.
  • European Technology Platforms (ETPs): the European Technology Platforms are designed to develop strategies where Europe’s growth, competitiveness and sustainable development depends on major technological advances. They bring stakeholders together to define medium-term and long-term objectives and the stages of scientific and technological development, with the aim of significantly improving the daily lives of Europeans in many different fields. The Technology Platforms will also endeavour to bring European research priorities into line with the needs of industry. They cover the entire economic chain, ensuring that the knowledge generated by research is converted into technologies and processes and then into saleable products and services.
  • Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs): the creation, in some key economic sectors, of large-scale European research programmes lasting between 5 and 10 years and focusing the resources of industry, national governments and the EU on those aspects of a particular field of research that can generate economic growth and improve coherence across Europe. JTIs will be run by industry and will develop new forms of public-private partnerships. They will be set up on the basis of the research agendas prepared by the Technology Platforms.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 15 November 2006 – Annual Report on research and technological development activities of the European Union in 2005 [COM(2006) 685 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 16 October 2002 – The European Research Area: Providing new momentum – Strengthening – Reorienting – Opening up new perspectives [COM(2002) 565 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 11 September 2002 – More research for Europe – Towards 3% of GDP [COM(2002) 499 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 25 June 2001 – The international dimension of the European Research Area [COM(2001) 346 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 April 2001 – Fulfilling the JRC’s mission in the European Research Area [COM(2001) 215 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

In response to a request from the European Council, this Communication sets out a broad-based innovation strategy for Europe, following on from the Communication “More Research and Innovation – Investing for growth and employment” and the recommendations in the report “Creating an Innovative Europe”. The Commission says the European Union (EU) must become an innovation-based society. The main objective is to lay down a framework for promoting all types of innovation and encouraging the development of innovation-friendly lead markets. The EU has exceptional innovation potential, however this potential is under-exploited and the European regulatory and economic framework is not conducive enough to innovation.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 September 2006 “Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU” [COM(2006) 502 final Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

To be able to compete, Europe must become more inventive, innovate more and react better to consumers’ needs and preferences. A comprehensive strategy is proposed to achieve this.

The European Union has already taken significant steps:

  • the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs of 2005 sets out policies and reforms to make Europe’s regulatory and economic framework more innovation-friendly;
  • the Commission Communication of October 2005 “More Research and Innovation” sets out a programme of 19 fields of action for the EU and the Member States;
  • the National Reform Programmes, based on the Integrated Guidelines of the 2005 Lisbon Strategy, encourage the Member States to take targeted measures to promote innovation, using the Structural Funds.

In spite of these initiatives, the EU economy is still not the innovative world economy that it should be. The report “Creating an Innovative Europe” (the Aho report) recommends urgent action to better exploit the EU’s innovation potential. According to the report, the business environment must be made more innovation-friendly. The Commission also thinks that innovation must be part of the core societal values and that citizens should not fear it but understand that it works for the benefit of all of society.

Against this background, the Communication is designed to:

  • provide a framework for discussions on innovation at national and European level;
  • identify new areas for action;
  • introduce a strategy to facilitate the creation and marketing of new innovative products and services in promising areas.

A more innovative European Union

Education is essential for the creation of an innovation-oriented society. The EU and its Member States must therefore facilitate the modernisation and restructuring of their education systems so that they can provide the skills required for innovation, in particular entrepreneurial skills as well as literacy, scientific and mathematical competence, languages and digital literacy.

The EU lacks appropriate skills, in particular in the field of science and engineering, and the absolute number of science and technology graduates is falling. This must therefore be rectified so as not to undermine the future capacity of Europe to innovate.

Transnational and structural mobility (between universities and industry) is also important to enable researchers to acquire new knowledge and find new applications. An open and competitive labour market for researchers must therefore be created.

Barriers hampering the EU’s innovation potential persist in the internal market. They affect:

  • goods and services;
  • consumers seeking access to them;
  • the mobility of workers; and
  • the availability of venture capital.

The service sector offers a major opportunity for innovation which must be exploited (the sector accounts for more than two thirds of GDP and employment). The creation of a real internal market for services and support for the funding and creation of innovative SMEs in the service sector should enable this opportunity to be seized.

The regulatory environment must be improved. Innovation calls for predictable, flexible, simple and effective regulation that reinforces consumer confidence, protects intellectual property and provides open and interoperable standards. The worldwide success of European business depends on the rapid adoption of such standards. As regards the protection of intellectual property, the Commission sees the adoption of a Community patent which is effective and affordable for business as the most important step. In the meantime, implementation of the London Protocol will help to improve the situation for business as regards intellectual property rights (IPRs). Better enforcement of IPRs on foreign markets is also crucial.

All the public and private stakeholders (business, the public sector and consumers) must be involved in the innovation process. Cooperation between them must be encouraged, in particular in the following forms:

  • clusters* in which businesses form part of a whole and interact with one another. Among other things they enhance productivity, promote research and become a focus for developing skills. The Community instruments support cluster policy because they promote innovation. Major transnational European cooperation, across national borders, should help to generate world-class European clusters;
  • knowledge transfer between the public research base and industry must be improved;
  • strategic partnerships between business and universities. These partnerships must be strengthened to bridge the cultural gap between university research and business needs;
  • the European Institute of Technology (EIT), which the Commission would like to see set up to form an integrated partnership of science, business and education for developing a new model for innovation. Students, researchers and businesses will work together in knowledge and innovation communities, in particular to develop know-how in key areas and enhance research and innovation management skills.

Innovation and research require major financial support. The national targets for research could raise the level of research and development investment across the EU if met. Some Community measures are also designed to provide better funding for research and innovation:

  • the Seventh Framework Programme which will boost the funding for collaborative research in the period 2007-2013;
  • Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), which will provide a new funding framework for implementing RTD (research and technological development) agendas in those sectors determining industrial competitiveness;
  • earmarking a large proportion of the EUR 308 billion from the Structural Funds for investment in knowledge and innovation;
  • the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), providing in particular for an increase of 60% in the financial instruments to support entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • the Risk-Sharing Financial Facility (RSFF), which will support private investment in high-risk RTD and demonstration projects by means of loans and guarantees;
  • the JEREMIE Initiative (Joint European Resources for Micro-to-Medium Enterprises), which will help the Member States to develop financial instruments in favour of SMEs;
  • the new state aid guidelines for venture capital, which will enable the Member States to better target state aid on market deficiencies which hamper the provision of venture capital and prevent sufficient funding for research and innovation activities;
  • the new framework for state aid for R&D (research and development) and innovation, which will, in particular, enable the Member States to channel their spending into aid for young innovative businesses, innovation advisory and support services, the loan of qualified personnel, process and organisational innovation, and clusters;
  • tax incentives for R&D and innovation.

The public sector itself must adopt innovative approaches and exploit new technologies in public administration, to lead the way in creating a more innovative society.

Lead markets

The EU must promote the emergence of lead markets to facilitate the marketing of innovative products and services in promising areas. The emergence of such markets is fuelled by the strong consumer demand for innovative products and services. The idea is to identify those sectors in which the removal of barriers will promote the creation of new markets. The stakeholders, in particular the European Initiative INNOVA and the Technology Platforms, will help to identify and remove specific obstacles to the emergence of innovation-friendly markets. Various areas are conducive to the emergence of lead markets, for example eco-innovation and construction, internal security and defence, transport, space applications and health.

Better European governance for innovation

Structural change to promote innovation must be managed by political leadership. The Member States must continue to recognise and support innovation as a key priority within the Partnership for Growth and Jobs. The Competitiveness Council is requested to regularly assess the impact of national innovation policies on competitiveness.

An improved governance structure for innovation is required to put in place the policies recommended in this Communication. It is essential to establish strong innovation systems in all Member States, building on innovation drivers such as education and knowledge transfer. National coordinating mechanisms established under the Lisbon process should be used by the Member States to monitor effective implementation of their innovation strategies. In the context of the Treaty-based multilateral surveillance, the governance structure of the renewed Lisbon Strategy provides a forum for policy discussions and the exchange of innovation best practice at Community level. The Commission’s 2007 annual report will outline the progress achieved, based on the various thematic discussions on innovation in the Council in 2006. Lastly, integrated guidelines should be adopted to guide the process over a three-year cycle, and the Commission will assess the Member States’ reforms and policies in the field of innovation.

Roadmap

Ten actions are prioritised under the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs:

  • an increase in the Member States’ public spending on education and innovation promotion via the education system and the modernisation of universities;
  • setting up a European Institute of Technology, to be operational by 2009;
  • development and implementation of a strategy by the Community and the Member States to create an open European labour market for researchers;
  • promotion of knowledge transfer between universities, public research organisations and industry;
  • mobilisation of the EU’s cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013 in support of innovation, including the earmarking of an ambitious proportion of the available funding;
  • adoption by the Commission of a new framework for state aid for research, development and innovation by the end of 2006, enabling state aid to be re-oriented and targeted at these objectives;
  • presentation by the Commission of a new patent strategy and preparation of a more comprehensive IPR (intellectual property rights) strategy;
  • development of an initiative on “copyright levies” to provide a legal framework for copyright which is more conducive to the development of new products and services;
  • introduction of a strategy in 2007 to facilitate the emergence of lead markets;
  • publication by the end of 2006 of a handbook on how public procurement can stimulate innovation.
Key terms used in the act
  • Clusters: business groupings in the same sector of activity.

 

The European Research Area : new perspectives

The European Research Area : new perspectives

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The European Research Area : new perspectives

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

The European Research Area (ERA): new perspectives

In January 2000, the European Commission launched the idea of a European Research Area, combining a European “internal market” for research, truly coordinated activities, programmes and national and regional policies at European level, and initiatives designed and funded by the Union. This provided the basis for a genuine European knowledge society. Seven years later, the time has come to inject a new dynamic into the project. With this green paper, the first stage of the relaunch, the Commission is submitting its new ideas for meeting the challenges and problems still posed by the fragmentation of research, the weakness of investments and the progressive internationalisation of science and technology.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 4 April 2007 on “The European Research Area: New Perspectives” [COM(2007) 161 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Without better production and better use of knowledge, the European Union (EU) will be unable to achieve its economic, social and environmental objectives, which would signal a serious failure of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs.

Seven years after launching the concept of a “European Research Area”, the Commission aims to open up new perspectives to build on the progress achieved thus far.

Keen to involve all European research contributors, it is submitting its ideas for public consultation via this Green Paper.

The European Research Area (ERA)

The ERA combines three concepts:

  • a European “internal market” for research where researchers, technologies and knowledge circulate freely;
  • effective European-level coordination of national and regional research activities, programmes and policies;
  • initiatives implemented and funded at European level.

The ERA should have the following features:

  • an adequate flow of competent researchers with high levels of mobility between institutions, disciplines, sectors and countries;
  • world-class research infrastructures, integrated, networked and accessible to research teams from across Europe and the world through new generations of electronic communications infrastructures;
  • excellent research institutions engaged in effective public-private cooperation and partnerships through “virtual research communities”;
  • effective knowledge-sharing, notably between public research, industry and the general public;
  • well-coordinated research programmes and priorities;
  • a wide opening to the world, with special emphasis on neighbouring countries and a strong commitment to addressing global challenges with Europe’s partners.

Principles of the ERA

Three main principles cut across all dimensions of the ERA:

  • European research policy should be deeply rooted in European society;
  • the right balance must be found between competition and cooperation;
  • full benefit should be derived from Europe’s diversity which has been enriched by successive EU enlargements.

Achievements of the ERA thus far

Since its inception at the European Council of Lisbon in March 2000, the concept of the ERA has become a reference for European research policy, generating a number of initiatives.

Successive EU Research Framework Programmes have actively supported the creation of the ERA. The current (7th) programme has laid the foundations for two important projects: the creation of the European Research Council and a European Institute of Technology.

The European Technology Platforms (pdf ) and the “ERA-NET” scheme have helped to improve the coordination of research activities and programmes.

The “open method of coordination” and the use of guidelines and recommendations stimulate debate and reform in all the Member States.

The EU has also adopted:

  • a “broad-based innovation strategy” which will improve the framework conditions for research and innovation;

  • a new Community framework for state aid for research, development and innovation;
  • guidance for a more effective use of tax incentives for R&D.

A European patent strategy is being proposed to overcome the deadlock on the Community patent.

Initiatives have been launched to stimulate the emergence of pilot markets in growth sectors from a technological standpoint.

EU cohesion policy and its financial instruments – the Structural Funds – give strong priority to the development of research and innovation capacities, particularly in less developed regions.

Towards making the ERA a reality

Building on the progress made thus far, there is still work to be done to achieve a fully-fledged ERA:

  • pursuing a career as a researcher in Europe remains something of an assault course: researchers must overcome numerous legal and practical obstacles which still hinder professional development, particularly in terms of mobility between institutions, sectors and countries;
  • companies are still finding it difficult to establish partnerships with universities, particularly foreign establishments;
  • national and regional funding lacks coordination and will remain broadly ineffective without a genuine European perspective and transnational coherence;
  • the results of research could be used far more effectively;
  • the fragmentation of public research continues to render Europe unattractive to investors (the private sector is supposed to contribute up to two thirds of the objective of 3% of GDP set aside for research).

Background

This Green Paper launched a wide consultation which closed in December 2007. The information collected was used to launch concrete actions to develop the ERA the implementation of which started in 2008.

Related Acts

Results of the public consultation on the Green Paper “The European research Area : New perspectives” of 2 April 2008 (pdf ).
This report highlights the necessity to undertake new action at national and/or European level in order to fully exploit Europe’s potential research capacity and to make the ERA a reality. Respondents consider that the sharing of knowledge, research infrastructures, international cooperation, programming and the mobility of researchers should be among the priorities of the EU. They also consider that the role of the private sector should be taken into account even further due to its links with innovation and education policy. Even if few request strict legislation, many are favourable to the idea of legislative action to improve the careers and mobility of researchers or to establish a legal framework for European research infrastructures. Respondents approve Community instruments aimed at promoting the ERA, such as financial incentives, budgetary increases (the 7th Framework Programme has a total budget of EUR 54 billion), guidelines, etc.

Following this consultation, five initiatives concerning the ERA came to fruition in 2008:

  • a Recommendation for the management of intellectual property by public research organisations;
  • a Partnership for researchers;
  • a legal framework applicable to pan-European research infrastructures;
  • Joint Programming in Research;
  • a strategic framework for international science and technology cooperation.

In addition to the above initiatives, the Council has decided to reinforce the dimension of the ERA through the launch of the new cycle (2008-2010) of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. In their programmes for national reform, the Member States are invited to define policies which will contribute to the development of the ERA.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, to the European Parliament, to the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 18 January 2000: “Towards a European Research Area” [COM(2000) 6 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Consistency in the use of the various sources of European funding is a key component of the support given by the European Union (EU) to the social and economic development of its Member States. In this Communication, the Commission formulates a number of guidelines for the national authorities and regions to enable them to combine the cohesion policy programmes more effectively with the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th RTD Framework Programme) and the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation. Furthermore, more effective use of European funds by the Member States and the regions is also advocated.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 16 August 2007 entitled “Competitive European Regions through Research and Innovation – A contribution to more growth and more and better jobs” [COM(2007) 474 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The development of a knowledge economy is one of the key challenges of the renewed Partnership for Growth and Jobs.

The European Union (EU) possesses three key support instruments to respond to this:

  • cohesion policy via the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund;
  • the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th RTD Framework Programme);
  • the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP).

The Commission aims through this Communication:

  • to bring out the synergies of design of the European funding instruments dedicated to research, innovation and cohesion;
  • to promote the translation of these synergies of design into synergies of action in relation to national and regional authorities and local actors;
  • to provide an overview of the use made of the research, innovation and cohesion policies and instruments by the Member States and the regions;
  • to open up pathways in order to optimise this use.

Respecting differences while achieving synergies

The European research, innovation and cohesion policies pursue a common goal: to combine growth with more and better jobs.

The means to achieve this are nevertheless different:

  • research policy is centred on promoting excellence internationally;
  • innovation policy promotes turning knowledge into business opportunities and new solutions for societal needs;
  • cohesion policy focuses on promoting regional excellence.

In so doing, the Commission guarantees that, beyond legal differences in approach (geographical scope or thematic scope) and methodological differences (funding through calls for tender or selection by open call for expression of interest, etc.), the various programmes can be used so as to converge towards this common objective.

The measures facilitating interaction between the programmes include harmonisation of the periods of cover (2007-2013).

Towards more synergies between research, innovation and cohesion policies

The Council of the EU (“Competitiveness” Council) and various advisory groups, such as CREST (Scientific and Technical Research Committee of the EU), EURAB (European Research Advisory Board), ESFRI (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures) and the ITRE committee of the European Parliament, have recently issued recommendations to strengthen the synergies between the research, innovation and cohesion policies:

  • it would be to the advantage of national and regional authorities to develop a specific strategy for coordinated use of the framework programmes and the cohesion policy programmes as part of their research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) strategy;
  • cohesion policy and the framework programmes offer opportunities to strengthen the governance of RTDI strategies through exchange and networking;
  • consideration should be given to effective synergies, including strengthening RTDI capacity, developing excellence, paying due attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), building cooperation at European and international level and strengthening the economic exploitation of R&D;
  • optimisation of communication and collaboration between the national and regional actors seems necessary;
  • the complementarity between the “Capacities” specific programme (7th RTD Framework Programme) and the cohesion policy programmes should be given greater prominence;
  • it seems obvious that there is a need for greater synergies between cohesion policy and the 7th RTD Framework Programme on research infrastructures and that it is important to involve the “newer” Member States in the implementation of the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in a meaningful way.

Better use of European funding

Several measures are considered by the Commission to achieve better use of European funding by the various actors involved in research, innovation and cohesion:

  • a practical guide to facilitate access by research institutions or companies to EU funding sources;
  • introduction of mechanisms facilitating the sharing of ideas and the exchange of best practice, support and advice;
  • improvement of the exchange of information with national and regional authorities on the organisations which have benefited from grants under the 7th RTD Framework Programme or the CIP, in the event of complementary assistance from national, regional and European funds.

The Commission plans to take stock of the progress made at national and regional level in spring 2009.

Background

Research and innovation offer possibilities both to respond to the many challenges currently facing the EU and to boost economic growth, social responsibility and sustainable development. These two fields are suffering from a shortage of human capital.

Research and innovation are also key instruments for the sustainable management of resources (energy, in particular), to address climate change, and to deal with demographic change. Under globalisation, competitiveness of businesses depends largely on the value added to their goods and services. With this in view, European innovation-based growth has become a top priority under the renewed Lisbon agenda.

Action in favour of innovation is more effective at regional level, as physical proximity fosters the partnerships between actors. The regional clusters play a key role in the promotion of research, technological development and innovation. Regional decision-makers and entrepreneurs are best able to turn knowledge, skills and competencies into sustainable competitive advantage. However, there are significant disparities in means and performance from one region to another. There is therefore a very real risk of a divide.

The common or complementary priorities of the research, innovation and cohesion policies in the context of the Lisbon strategy are:

  • to build a European Research Area (ERA);
  • to improve results in R&D and innovation;
  • to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and regions;
  • to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the enlarged EU;
  • to promote national, regional and interregional innovation strategies;
  • to encourage innovation and innovative clusters.

Growth and jobs

Growth and jobs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Growth and jobs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Growth and jobs

“Employment and social policy” >

The aim of the Lisbon Strategy, launched in 2000, was to make Europe “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. According to the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy, the results are, at best, mixed. The gap in terms of productivity and growth between Europe and its economic partners has continued to widen, and the ageing population represents a further challenge.

The European Council has therefore decided to relaunch the Lisbon Strategy through a partnership for growth and jobs. The objective of this partnership will remain firmly anchored in sustainable development. However, in order to achieve it, Europe needs to focus on a more restricted number of priorities. Indeed, the achievement of stronger, lasting growth and the creation of more and better jobs would unblock the resources needed to realise our more general economic, social and environmental ambitions.

  • A new start for the Lisbon Strategy (2005)
  • The Community Lisbon Programme
  • The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010
  • Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: new cycle 2008-2010
  • Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

MAKING EUROPE A MORE ATTRACTIVE PLACE IN WHICH TO INVEST
In order to boost growth and employment, Europe needs to become more attractive as a place in which to invest. Given the significant contribution made by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to creating jobs and growth, Europe must first combat the obstacles to the creation of SMEs and stimulate entrepreneurship. Furthermore, in spite of the progress achieved since the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, there is still not enough available risk capital to launch young businesses, and the current tax provisions discourage the retention of profits to build up equity.

  • Financing SME Growth
  • The contribution of taxation and customs policies to the Lisbon Strategy

Ensuring open and competitive markets inside and outside Europe
Competition on the internal market stimulates productivity and innovation. European competition policy plays a key role in shaping competitive markets. It must be continued within an enlarged Europe and in certain markets which have not revealed all their potential. This involves the elimination of barriers to competition and the rechannelling of State aid into innovation, research and development, and risk capital. Outside the EU, commercial policy must ensure that European businesses have access to the markets of third countries and comply with the rules guaranteeing fair competition.

  • A proactive competition policy for a competitive Europe
  • State Aid Action Plan
  • A stronger partnership to deliver market access

Improving European and national legislation
Simplifying legislation helps business and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by eliminating unnecessary administrative formalities. The European Commission and the Member States have already launched initiatives to reduce administrative costs. This would benefit European businesses in terms of the productivity and competitiveness, and increase their ability to adapt, innovate and create jobs. It would also make it easier to set up new businesses.

  • Fewer administrative formalities for more growth
  • Simplifying the regulatory environment

Expanding and improving European infrastructure
Investment in transport must respond to the economic, social and environmental needs of society. A modern infrastructure is an important factor in competitiveness when it comes to attracting businesses in that it facilitates exchanges and mobility. In addition, climate change highlights the need for more sustainable mobility. The aim of intermodality is to channel traffic into more environmentally-friendly means of transport which are safer and more energy-efficient. Alongside this, new technologies make for a more efficient transport system.

  • Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper

KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION FOR GROWTH
Knowledge and innovation are essential for the growth of productivity. Productivity growth is a critical factor for Europe, because in the context of global competition it must contend with competitors benefiting from cheap labour and natural resources.
Increasing and improving investment in research and development

  • The European Research Area (ERA): new perspectives
  • An innovation-friendly, modern Europe
  • A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU
  • Placing taxation at the service of research and development

Facilitating innovation and the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT)
In order for research to lead to growth, research results must be used for the purpose of innovation. More cooperation between universities and businesses makes for a better transfer of ideas in return for increased participation on the part of businesses in the financing of universities. The result is higher quality, more profitable research. The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme supports actions which promote the use of information technologies, environmental technologies and renewable energy sources.

  • Challenges for the European Information Society beyond 2005

Innovation serving sustainable development
Innovation and technological development are key factors for environmentally friendly economic growth and for ensuring the sustainability of resources (particularly energy resources). The development of environmental technologies can also open up new markets, which will boost the competitiveness of businesses and create jobs.

  • Strategy for sustainable development
  • Action plan in favour of environmental technologies
  • Life sciences and biotechnology
  • Green Paper: A European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy

Contributing to the creation of a strong European industrial base
The technological potential of European industry is still not being fully exploited. A common European approach to challenges in the field of research, regulation and financing can create synergies which make it possible to achieve large-scale progress and provide a more appropriate response to the needs of society. Furthermore, a financial contribution from the public sector can foster the sustainable development of specific products and services while improving European competitiveness on an international level. The Galileo project and mobile telephony are good examples of partnerships.

  • European industrial policy

CREATING MORE AND BETTER JOBS
Europe needs more and better jobs. Demographic change, which is exerting increased pressure in terms of employment needs, makes this an absolute necessity from an economic and social viewpoint.

  • Promoting solidarity between the generations
  • The demographic future of Europe – from challenge to opportunity
  • Green Paper “Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations”
  • Promoting young people’s full participation in education, employment and society

Attracting more people to the labour market and modernising social protection systems
The Member States are being called upon to set employment rates for 2008 and 2010 and adopt the measures to be implemented in their national reform programmes. The integrated guidelines for employment help them to select the most effective instruments. The challenge lies in attracting more people to the labour market and in keeping them there: particular attention is focused on the unemployed, young people and older workers. In this context, there is also a need to reform the pension and healthcare systems in order to ensure their viability and provide reliable social protection.

  • European values in a globalised world

Increasing the adaptability of workers and businesses and the flexibility of the labour markets
Rapidly changing economies need highly adaptable workers who must be capable of developing their skills to meet the needs of high-growth sectors. However, such flexibility must be accompanied by social security provision which also covers periods of change. Social security systems must be modernised in order to cope with these new challenges. In order to meet market needs more effectively, it is essential that obstacles to labour mobility be removed.

  • Green Paper on Modernising Labour Law
  • Workers’ mobility: facilitating the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights

Investing more in human capital through better education and skills
Education and training play an essential role in a knowledge-based economy in that they support growth and employment by providing highly qualified and adaptable labour. They also strengthen social cohesion and active citizenship. Access for everyone to education and training should be ensured through the European area of lifelong learning, which should become a world reference by 2010.

  • European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

The EU Cohesion policy for 2007-2013 and the role of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund
The Community strategic guidelines lay down priorities for cohesion policy. These guidelines identify the fields in which cohesion policy can help to achieve the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and of the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs. The programmes and national projects under the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund therefore target growth, employment, innovation and the knowledge-based economy, as well as the creation of physical infrastructure.

  • Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper

Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper

This Communication draws up a mid-term review of European transport strategy, set out in the 2001 White Paper. The Commission reaffirms the main principles that guide its policy. It draws attention to the changes in the context since 2001 and the need to find new solutions to problems encountered within this new framework. Enlargement, the acceleration of globalisation, international commitments on global warming, the geopolitical context of the growth in oil prices and security fears have influenced the sector and resulted in calls for new solutions

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 22 June 2006 on the mid-term review of the Transport White Paper, “Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent, published in 2001. Mid-term review of the Transport White Paper, published in 2001 by the European Commission” [COM(2006) 314 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The 2001 White Paper proposed almost 60 measures designed to implement a transport system capable of restoring the balance between different modes, revitalising the railways, promoting sea and waterway transport and controlling the increase in air transport. The White Paper was providing a response to the sustainable development strategy adopted by the Göteborg European Council in June 2001.

This communication reaffirms the principles of 2001, which guide European transport policy by responding to the economic, social and environmental needs of society. This sector provides 7% of GDP in the EU and 5% of jobs. The mobility of goods and citizens, apart from being a right, also creates cohesion and is an essential element of the competitiveness of European industry and services.

Transport policy objectives

This communication provides an opportunity for an overview of the different sectors, in order to identify new solutions in a changing context.

Transport policy is at the heart of the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs. The policy therefore has long term objectives which seek to balance economic growth, social welfare and environmental protection in all policy choices. It is therefore necessary to:

  • divorce mobility from its side effects, which are congestion, accidents and pollution;
  • optimise the potential of each mode of transport. Some modes, including waterborne transport, do not reach their full capacity;
  • promote green propulsion and encourage the use of more environmentally friendly, energy efficient and safer transport;
  • promote co-modality, i.e. the efficient use of different modes of transport on their own and in combinations, resulting in an optimal use of resources.

The Commission also wishes to adapt rail and waterborne transport in line with the principles of the internal market. Efficiency gains supported by EU policies should therefore make these modes of transport more competitive, particularly with regard to road transport.

In order to succeed in meeting these objectives, this communication identifies four pillars for transport policy, namely:

  • the mobility of people and businesses throughout the Union;
  • environmental protection, the security of energy supply, promoting minimum labour standards and protecting passengers and citizens;
  • innovation, which supports the implementation of the two previous objectives by making sector activity more efficient and sustainable;
  • action on the world stage so that other countries can share in these objectives.

The changing context

The text does, however, emphasise that the political context of transport in the EU has changed:

  • enlargement has given the EU a continental dimension. Europe is more diverse and each Member State finds itself in different and sometimes even contrasting situations, which include congestion in the West and accessibility problems in the East. This diversity requires differentiated solutions;
  • the transport industry has changed. Consolidation is taking place at the European level, especially in the aviation and maritime sectors. In addition, globalisation has led to the creation of large logistics companies with worldwide operations. European transport policy must take this new situation into account;
  • transport is fast becoming a high-technology industry. Research and innovation have a fundamental role to play. Some of the most pressing and promising areas include: intelligent transport systems involving communication, navigation and automation, engine technology with increased fuel efficiency and the promotion of alternative fuels;
  • international environmental commitments, including those under the Kyoto Protocol, must be integrated into transport policy;
  • transport policy must continue to attain the objectives of theEuropean energy policy: transport accounts for 30% of total energy consumption in the EU, with oil dependency reaching 98%. High oil prices influence the sector and promote improved energy efficiency;
  • the international context has changed. The threat of terrorism has impacted on the transport sector. At the same time, economic globalisation has affected trade flows and increased demand, particularly in emerging economies;
  • European governance is evolving. The basic legal framework of the internal market has largely been established, and much now rests on its effective implementation in the field. The Commission is also seeking to simplify the rules.

A new challenge

Therefore, while the most pressing challenges identified in 2001 were the imbalance between different modes of transport and congestion, the situation has developed subsequently. Road congestion has escalated and is now costing the EU 1% of GDP. There has also been a sustained increase in air traffic and its impact on the environment. Greenhouse gases and global warming are now prominent issues. Overall, domestic transport accounts for 21% of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions have risen by around 23% since 1990, threatening the achievement of Kyoto targets.

The measures envisaged by the Commission in 2001 will therefore be inadequate for achieving the objectives established at the outset, hence the need for a broader, more flexible instrument for action. In order to devise and evaluate future policies, the Commission wants to promote a debate on transport scenarios with a 20 to 40-year timescale, in order to develop a universal approach to sustainable transport.

First Pillar: Mobility

Road transport

Although international road transport has been liberalised, at national level it is still largely protected. The Commission wishes to establish common rules relating to professional qualifications and working conditions, which vary greatly by Member State. Moreover, the impact on competition regarding differences in fuel-tax levels between Member States are important factors that will influence future development. Therefore, the Commission wishes to narrow the excessive differences in fuel-tax levels.

Rail transport

After the liberalisation of freight transport, whose legal framework is due for completion in 2007, the third package has to open up international passenger transport. The Commission wishes to:

  • propose measures on access to the market and the profession;
  • address the issue of excessive differences in excise duty levels;
  • implement the acquis with the support of regulatory bodies in Member States;
  • step up efforts to remove technical and operational barriers to international traffic;
  • establish a network dedicated to rail freight within the political framework of transport logistics;
  • organise rail-market monitoring using a scoreboard mechanism.

Air transport

The restructuring and integration of the air industry’s internal market are at a very advanced stage and customers benefit from the internal market’s development. The Commission nonetheless wishes to:

  • enlarge the internal market and extend its positive contributions to external aviation relations;
  • complete the creation of the single European sky in order to increase the efficiency of EU air transport;
  • invest to increase airport capacity, whilst clarifying regulations relating to charges;
  • reduce environmental effects caused by the rapid rise in traffic.

Maritime transport

The Commission identifies the maritime sector as an alternative to overland transport, particularly because it has considerable potential over short distances, as illustrated by the concept of ” motorways of the sea “. The development of maritime transport should, however, face up to two key challenges:

  • the creation of an internal shipping space. Due to international regulations, sea journeys from one Member State to another are considered as external. Therefore, the Commission wishes to organise a consultation to draw up a strategy for the creation of a “common European maritime space”;
  • the expansion of port capacity. In order to deal with the estimated growth in maritime transport, investment in ports should increased, in order to improve and extend services, with the help of competition and the introduction of clear rules for public sector contributions.

Transport by waterway

The Commission emphasises river transport’s potential, which could be enhanced through its integration into co-modal logistics chains. The NAIADES programme sets out an action plan that promotes the sector, which the Commission wishes to implement.

Second Pillar: Protection

Employment and working conditions

Transport is a major employer, providing more than 10 million jobs in the Union. However, in some sectors, such as rail and road transport, shortages of qualified personnel have come to light. The Commission therefore wishes to focus on training and encouraging more young people to choose jobs in the transport profession.

The Commission proposes to examine rules on working conditions due to significant variations in labour costs. The Commission also wishes to establish talks with a view to applying the International Labour Organization Convention in the maritime sector.

The Commission divides the concept of protection into the following categories:

  • passenger rights: The Commission notes that passenger rights have been consolidated in recent years, but considers that national authorities have to improve their follow-up of complaints. It therefore hopes to examine ways of promoting an improved quality of service and the assurance of basic passenger rights in all modes of transport, particularly for passengers with reduced mobility;
  • safety: the Commission also emphasises the progress that has been made in this area, especially with the creation of a blacklist of dangerous airlines. The Commission wishes to finalise safety rules with the third maritime legislative package as well as road rules with the CARS 21 initiative and eSafety forum;
  • security: the Commission wishes to refine the acquis of measures established in the wake of 11 September 2001 attacks, which revealed that transport is both a target and an instrument of terrorism. It will, therefore, propose amendments and broaden the scope of safety rules to include land and intermodal transport as well as critical infrastructures;
  • urban transport is confronted with a specific problem; city dwellers suffer the consequences of their own mobility more than anyone else. The Commission announces the publication of a Green Paper on this issue.

Third Pillar: Innovation

The Commission wishes to assimilate innovation across the board in transport policy in order to hasten the development of relevant solutions. Intelligent safety features, new means of communication and traffic management could all aid the mobility and integration of European networks. EU companies could also win new markets owing to their excellence in the field of transport technologies.

Energy

The transport sector uses a great deal of energy, accounting for 71% of EU oil consumption: 60% by road transport and approximately 9% by air transport. The remaining 2% is used by rail and inland navigation. Rail transport uses 75% electricity and 25% fossil fuels. The text recommends the promotion of improved energy efficiency on a European scale as well as supporting research, demonstration and market introduction of promising new technology.

Infrastructure

Some areas in the “mid-West” of the EU are affected by congestion and pollution. By 2020, 60 big airports are expected to be over congested and a similar trend is observed in ports. It will therefore be necessary to build new infrastructures or to improve existing ones. The implementation of co-modal logistics chains is another solution.

Mobilising sources of financing

The total cost of the 30 priority trans-European transport network (TEN-T) projects, recorded in 2004, is estimated at around 250 billion. However, the public financing capacities of the Member States remain constrained. Similarly, the financial perspective for the period 2007-13 provide only a limited increase in the budget available for the TENs. The EU should therefore focus its co-financing on the critical border-crossing sections and the main bottlenecks. New types of financial engineering should also be developed.

Intelligent mobility

It is becoming increasingly common to charge for the use of transport infrastructure, as demonstrated in London or on specific motorways. The EU has adopted a Directive establishing a framework for toll motorways. These tariff systems aim to finance infrastructure, whilst helping to optimise traffic. The Commission has to propose, no later than 2008, a universal, transparent and comprehensible model for the assessment of all external costs, which must serve as the basis for calculations of infrastructure charges. The Commission also calls for a process of reflection, which encompasses the other modes of transport, in order to identify how intelligent charging can help improve the functioning of the sector.

Logistics is another issue that the Commission wishes to focus on, by drawing up a strategic framework, followed by a consultation leading to an action plan.

Furthermore, the Commission states that all modes of transport must have sophisticated means of communication, navigation and automation, relying in particular on the Galileo system. In this respect, the Intelligent Car and SESAR programmes are used for air transport, ERTMS for the rail industry and RIS for waterborne transport. In addition, the Commission wishes to develop similar initiatives in the maritime sector (e-maritime programme).

Fourth Pillar: Relations With Third Countries

The Commission would like its policy to be part of a broader relationship with non-member countries, as the transport sector is inherently connected to international issues. Furthermore, the convergence of EU and international standards opens export markets for European technology. EU transport companies are often hampered by the maintenance of import or investment barriers in non-member countries. The Commission therefore envisages developing cooperation policies and industrial dialogue with its main trading partners and regional groupings, in particular by concluding agreements. It also wishes to draw up a strategic framework for extending the main axes of the internal transport market and creating a network with neighbouring countries that so desire.