Tag Archives: Knowledge

Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth

Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth


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

Education training youth sport > Youth

Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 30 April 2004 — Follow-up to the White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”. Proposed common objectives for a greater understanding and knowledge of youth, in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 336 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission proposes four common objectives based on the responses from the Member States to the questionnaire on their own situations and their expectations at national level. In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission presents lines of action at national and European levels for each of them.

Objective 1 – Identify knowledge relating to priority themes

This involves identifying and organising existing knowledge relating to priority themes in the youth field (i.e. participation, information and voluntary activities) and implementing measures to supplement, update and facilitate access to that knowledge.

Objective 2 – Identify existing knowledge relating to other areas

The aim here is to identify and organise existing knowledge relating to other priority areas of relevance to the youth field and to implement measures to supplement, update and facilitate access to that knowledge.

These other themes of direct interest to the youth field include autonomy, non-formal learning, the fight against discrimination, education and training, employment, transition from education to employment, social inclusion and health.

The lines of action at national level for objectives 1 and 2 are as follows:

  • to identify and organise existing knowledge;
  • to undertake further studies, collect statistical data and gather practical knowledge of NGOs, youth organisations and young people themselves;
  • to facilitate access to knowledge by compiling and disseminating documents, also electronically.

At European level, the Commission proposes exploiting the Youth programm e and making maximum use of any other relevant instruments available at European level, such as Eurobarometer surveys, Eurostat and framework research programmes, as well as any other tools being developed, such as the Online European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKC).

Objective 3 – Knowledge quality

Ensuring quality, comparability and relevance of knowledge in the youth field by using appropriate methods and tools remains one of the Commission’s priorities.

The lines of action at national level are:

  • to implement and further develop appropriate tools and methods;
  • to promote education and training of researchers and experts, especially younger ones, working in the youth field.

At European level the Commission proposes:

  • cooperation to identify and define common concepts and a minimum core content;
  • cooperation to identify quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods with a view to exploiting and comparing results;
  • cooperation to better identify the indicators which will enable the impact of the current Youth programmes to be evaluated.

Objective 4 – Dialogue and networks

This objective consists in facilitating and promoting exchange, dialogue and creation of networks to ensure the visibility of knowledge in the youth field and anticipate future needs.

The lines of action at national level are:

  • to encourage and develop exchanges, structured dialogue and national networks between policy makers, researchers, young people and their organisations;
  • to discuss future needs and identify new priority themes to be explored through the networks;
  • to promote cross-sectoral cooperation through conferences, seminars and events focusing on themes of common interest.

At European level, the Commission proposes coordinating the national networks by setting up a European network of youth knowledge, in cooperation with its partners in this field.

Implementing and monitoring mechanisms

The Member States must submit reports on their national contributions to the concrete achievements relating to the first priorities (“participation and information”) by the end of 2005 and the “voluntary activities” priority by the end of 2006. In these reports the Member States must also describe the steps taken in order to fulfil the first, third and fourth common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth.

The Member States must subsequently report on the concrete achievements resulting from implementation of the second common objective by the end of 2008. At the same time they must inform the Commission of the further steps taken in order to fulfil the third and fourth common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth.

Related Acts

Analysis of Member States’ and acceding countries’ replies to the Commission questionnaire on a greater understanding and knowledge of youth [SEC(2004) 627 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field[Official Journal C 168 of 13.07.2002].

Commission White Paper of 21 November 2001 ” A new impetus for European youth” [COM(2001) 681 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century


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

External relations > Industrialised countries

A stronger economic and political partnership for the 21st century

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 May 2005: A stronger EU-US partnership and a more open market for the 21st century [COM(2005) 196 – Not published in the Official Journal]


The European Commission wants to give new quality to the economic partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United States. In this initial stage of reviewing a global partnership, which is designed to include a barrier-free market, the proposals in question focus mainly on trade and investment, the highest volume of which worldwide is generated as a result of the relationship between the EU and the United States. In 2003, trade in goods and services came to almost EUR 600 billion and related principally to foreign direct investment (FDI).

The Commission’s proposals form the basis for boosting growth and employment while respecting sustainable development and removing the barriers to trade and investment. They also seek to provide a new framework which can be used to meet common challenges such as international competition.

Improving the functioning of the transatlantic partnership

The Commission is proposing a number of initiatives in order to improve the functioning of the transatlantic partnership in three areas: regulation, knowledge and innovation, and border control.

The initiatives relating to regulation are based principally on policy cooperation, which is to be extended to a greater number of sectors in order to promote the transatlantic market. Policy cooperation within a well-defined regulatory framework is designed to guarantee fair competition in a situation in which the volume of trade is high, and forms part of the efforts to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

However, a certain degree of flexibility is needed in view of the difficulty of using the same model for all the sectors concerned. Cooperation can also vary in intensity, ranging from the exchange of information to the adoption of binding standards and including the establishment of ties on a formal or informal basis.

Other regulatory initiatives to strengthen cooperation between the two parties should also be envisaged in order to eliminate barriers to trade and thus promote competitiveness. They include the following:

  • facilitation of investment, in particular by eliminating ownership restrictions in the United States;
  • competition policy for those concerned based on the coordination of enforcement activities and the exchange of non-confidential information in an appropriate framework;
  • the opening-up of procurement markets between the United States and the EU despite the barriers which EU companies still face when trying to access the American market; this calls for the deepening of relations between the two partners at bilateral level and the definition of a clear framework at multilateral level, such as within the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on aviation services between the EU and the United States, which are currently confined within a regulatory framework reflecting the political and technological landscape of the 1940s; an agreement of this kind would provide a sound economic and legal basis for transatlantic air services;
  • maritime transport, which carries 90% of all international trade: cooperation in this field should be strengthened and could include issues such as the law of the sea, data exchange, maritime security and environmental protection;
  • financial markets: access to capital is fundamental to investment and innovation, which is why functional equivalence should be encouraged in various financial areas, such as accounting standards and insurance, and should be promoted and strengthened in order to achieve true integration of the European and US financial markets;
  • the free movement of persons is essential: it has not been fully achieved for nationals of certain Member States or for companies and their affiliates; the possibility of granting affiliates the special status of “trusted persons” should be examined in order to facilitate international movement of travellers while bearing in mind security procedures;
  • the mutual recognition of professional qualifications should be encouraged, particularly in economic sectors.

Initiatives relating to knowledge and innovation will contribute fully to the growth and integration of the European and US economies. They relate to the following:

  • new technologies. as regards information and communication technologies (ICT) between the EU and the United States, coordination of the regulators, going beyond EU-US dialogue on the information society, should be strengthened in order to prevent the emergence of new obstacles in a rapidly evolving area; with regard to space, a structured dialogue should take place covering key areas such as Galileo and GPS, and the elimination of barriers to the creation of a properly functioning transatlantic market for the space industry;
  • the protection of intellectual property rights as a fundamental economic objective shared by both the EU and the US: the strengthening of cooperation in this area involves efforts at domestic and international level to combat counterfeiting and piracy; it also involves observance of the standards established by the WTO;
  • research and development: as these are key elements of the renewed Lisbon programme and generate growth, they will be the subject of greater cooperation between the two partners under the 7th framework programme for research and development (7th FPRD) in areas such as industrial materials, fuel cells and biotechnology;
  • energy: the EU and the US should work together more closely by means of policy dialogues in order to face new challenges and find alternatives to traditional energy sources, such as by developing clean technologies and renewable energies;
  • higher education and vocational training: as the current agreement on higher education and vocational training expires at the end of 2005, it should be renewed and reinforced in order to promote exchanges of university teachers, researchers and students and develop measures on issues concerning the quality and compatibility of education and training systems.

New security measures for border controls were imposed in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. The Commission feels that the right balance must be struck between heightened security requirements and the continuation of open and secure trade and passenger transport.

While reconciling trade and security requirements, the transatlantic market will be based mainly on the principles of reciprocity and mutual recognition. These principles will apply to the following areas:

  • implementing the agreement on enhanced customs cooperation in the area of transport security, for example with regard to the concept of single points of access and e-customs;
  • exchanging best practice in order to achieve equivalence between the European concept of “authorised economic operator” (AEO) and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT);
  • avoiding duplications of controls which arise from the application of parallel sets of – sometimes contradictory – existing standards;
  • reducing the risk of trade barriers associated with the implementation of the new US law to combat bioterrorism;
  • developing global security standards, notably by promoting the security standards agreed between the EU and the US through the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • combating corporate fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and the financing of terrorism.

Political involvement essential

The New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA), which was established in 1995, should be renewed. Its most important goals have been achieved regarding the intensity of exchanges between the EU and the United States on a vast range of subjects. Regular dialogue has been established between interlocutors who previously had very little contact. There has also been increased cooperation on foreign policy issues.

However, economic cooperation has had a limited impact, particularly with regard to the legislative and regulatory involvement of the stakeholders. In the same way, the EU-US dialogue has suffered from a relative lack of political commitment, with the EU sometimes being poorly understood.

This is why none of the economic initiatives presented in this communication can be successful without real political intent translated into practical action. This could include the following, for example:

  • a high-level regulatory cooperation forum, which would meet before EU-US Summits and submit an annual roadmap with appropriate objectives and priorities;
  • a dialogue between European and US legislators on the priorities for regulatory cooperation;
  • cooperation to address joint concerns regarding international policy or even to advance bilateral proposals in international fora;
  • the conclusion of binding sectoral agreements.

For them to have a full impact on dialogue, transatlantic relations should be more strategic and effective in order to realise a shared vision of a more democratic, peaceful and prosperous international order. A new transatlantic declaration could be drawn up underlining the values and developing the priorities of joint action based on the recognition of the economic interdependence of the United States and the EU.


This communication is in line with the “EU-US Declaration on Strengthening our Economic Partnership” (PDF ), which was adopted at the EU-US Summit at Dromoland Castle (Ireland) in 2004, during which the parties concerned put forward ideas on how to strengthen transatlantic economic integration. Reviewing and strengthening the partnership in this way can lend new impetus to relations between the EU and the United States.

The Commission is proposing that an economic declaration be adopted and that political oversight be put in place to ensure that these commitments are effective, particularly through the adoption of binding agreements.

Moreover, prior to the drawing up of a joint economic declaration, a public consultation was launched by the Commission in 2004 in order to identify the areas with which the present communication deals.

Related Acts

EU-US Declaration, of 20 June 2005, at the Washington Summit: “Initiative to Enhance Transatlantic Economic Integration and Growth” (PDF )

The EU and the United States declared that they wished to remove the impediments to trade and investment and enhance growth and innovation with a view to making further progress towards integration of the transatlantic market and providing more opportunities for businesses.
In the Declaration, the two partners listed ten points covering areas in which action should be taken and which are dealt with in greater detail in the Initiative annexed to the Declaration:

  • promoting regulatory cooperation and standards by identifying cooperation and coordination mechanisms in order to improve regulatory quality and reduce divergences; exchanges of experience and the sharing of knowledge are encouraged through a high-level dialogue in accordance with the roadmap for EU-US regulatory cooperation (PDF )and through a high-level forum bringing together regulators representing both partners;
  • stimulation of open and competitive capital markets in order to ensure that transatlantic financial markets operate seamlessly; the main areas for action include efforts to combat financial fraud and money laundering, the reform of financial markets and the improvement of dialogue on macroeconomic and structural issues of common interest;
  • spurring innovation and technological development, which are a source of growth and prosperity, by promoting cooperation, for example, in basic research, space research, nanotechnologies, transport, cyber-security and IT; the initiatives would affect sectors relating to higher education and vocational training, commerce, information and even medicine;
  • enhancing trade, development and security by strengthening customs cooperation in order to ensure the security of persons and goods in transit; in this regard, the WCO already offers a framework of standards on the security of world trade; cooperation between the two partners should also be strengthened by adopting security standards, particularly as regards air cargo traffic, improved cooperation in research and development of security-related technologies, better compatibility of the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator concept and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), measures to facilitate business and tourist travel (“trusted persons” initiative) and a policy of reciprocal visa exempt travel for short-term stays;
  • promoting energy efficiency, energy security, renewable energies and economic development and encouraging new clean energy technologies for sustainable and coordinated policies; the two partners also stated that they would support developing countries in this area;
  • protecting intellectual property rights by actively combating piracy and counterfeiting, applying international standards and ensuring the efficient application of standards on patents;
  • facilitating investment by providing efficient, comprehensive and easily accessible information on investment regimes and policies and by removing existing obstacles;
  • improving coordination on competition policy and the enforcement of competition rules, in particular by exploring ways of exchanging confidential information, which does not currently take place;
  • strengthening coordination and cooperation on procurement;
  • encouraging cooperation in the field of services, in particular with regard to aviation services and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

Responsibility for implementing these initiatives and establishing the work programmes lies with the senior levels of EU and US government, with progress to be reviewed at the EU-US Summits. At the same time, cooperation between legislators and stakeholder consultation will also be encouraged in order to help strengthen the partnership.

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


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].


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.


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


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].


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).


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].

Specific programme Cooperation

Specific programme Cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Specific programme Cooperation


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

Research and innovation > General framework

Specific programme Cooperation

Last updated: 15.01.2010

Seventh Framework Programme: activities of the Joint Research Centre

Seventh Framework Programme: activities of the Joint Research Centre

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Seventh Framework Programme: activities of the Joint Research Centre


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

Research and innovation > General framework

Seventh Framework Programme: activities of the Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/975/EC of 19 December 2006 concerning the Specific Programme to be carried out by means of direct actions by the Joint Research Centre under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006].


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) carries out fundamental research and provides know-how and scientific and technical support for the policies of the European Union. An important function is to promote technology transfer of the results of research, both to create industrial added value and to support the Community’s innovation policies. Set up 43 years ago to provide European expertise in the nuclear power field, over time it has become a vast, diverse and multi-purpose research institution that is completely integrated into the Commission.


The task of the JRC under this Specific Programme will be to give users a greater role in drafting, implementing and following up Community policies, supporting and facilitating this process, but also reacting to new requests.

In terms of approach, the emphasis will be placed on both the “better regulation” requirement as defined in the new Lisbon Strategy and on developing the means and capabilities to deal with emerging challenges. In addition, it will strengthen scientific community networking by:

  • flexibly responding to the developing needs and requirements of the EU policy makers;
  • focusing on important challenges facing society that contain both a scientific and a Community dimension;
  • developing partnerships with research centres, universities, industry, public authorities, regulatory bodies in the Member States and with third countries and international bodies;
  • expanding its skills and improving its facilities;
  • collaborating with EU agencies, other EU institutions and the competent authorities in the Member States.

One of the particular features of this Specific Programme lies in its integrated approach to providing scientific and technological support for policies. This should contribute to a better understanding, in a number of fields, of the interactions between developments in technology and science, innovation and competitiveness on the one hand, and different regulatory and policy approaches on the other.

The Board of Governors will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the JRC work programme on an annual basis. Every year, the JRC will assess the results and impact of the actions implemented. Meanwhile, user satisfaction surveys, which until now have been carried out every two years, will most likely be replaced with a system for the continuous collection of comments. In addition, in line with the Commission’s rules and good practices concerning its evaluation activities, there will be a mid-term review (3½ years after the start of the Research Framework Programme). This review will be carried out by external experts and will be chiefly based on information gathered during each annual review. Lastly, a general assessment will be carried out at the end of the seven-year Framework Programme.

The budget required for carrying out this Specific Programme is estimated at 1 751 million for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

It is worth noting that the Seventh Framework Programme, including the various Specific Programmes and the research activities they give rise to, should respect fundamental ethical principles and give consideration to social, legal, socio-economic, cultural and gender mainstreaming aspects.


JRC actions will focus chiefly on the following policy themes:

  • prosperity in a highly knowledge-based society;
  • solidarity and the responsible management of resources;
  • security and freedom;
  • Europe as world partner.

Prosperity in a highly knowledge-based society

This field breaks down into five distinct agendas relating to:

  • competitiveness and innovation;
  • the European Research Area;
  • energy and transport;
  • information society;
  • life sciences and biotechnology.

Competitiveness and innovation will be promoted in a number of ways:

  • the production and dissemination of internationally accepted references;
  • the implementation of a common European measurement system;
  • support for the drafting of EU policy on international trade (assessing the impact of trade policy on sustainable development and competitiveness);
  • improving understanding of the relationship between education provision and the needs of the scientific community, of factors affecting equity in education, and how efficient use of educational resources can be achieved;
  • the identification and assessment of eco-efficient technologies and the study of the conditions under which they are developed.

The JRC will contribute directly to the European Research Area through:

  • scientific networking, training and mobility for researchers;
  • enhancing access to research infrastructures;
  • developing collaborative research;
  • supporting the implementation of the research policy;
  • technology assessments of research priorities in individual thematic areas *;
  • creating and using science and technology foresight methods.

In the energy field, the JRC has three main objectives:

  • to provide a sustainable energy reference system;
  • to act as reference centre (validation of results, certification of technologies, etc.);
  • to provide information on the reliability of energy supply in Europe.

In the transport field, the JRC’s activities will focus on:

  • the balance between the development of sustainable transport and the protection of the environment;
  • the technical and economical dimension of new fuels and engines;
  • the social dimension (spatial planning, health, etc.), plus aspects relating to the security and safety of air, land and maritime transport.

The JRC will also contribute to the creation of policies and instruments for information society technologies. It will also participate in the implementation of EU policies that are affected by developments in these technologies (e.g. e-business, personal security, e-governance, etc.) or linked to overall European strategies relating to growth, social inclusion and quality of life. Lastly, the JRC will concentrate its efforts on the “convergence” of applications in the fields of health, security and the environment. The aim is to assess the potential impact of science and information technology on society in terms of competitiveness, privacy, ownership and social inclusion.

The JRC will also expand its skills in the field of life sciences and biotechnology by carrying out socio-economic impact studies and by implementing new strategies and processes. Activities will also be carried out in the field of biotechnology, in connection with health and agriculture (including the food industry).

Solidarity and the responsible management of resources

This field breaks down into four distinct agendas relating to:

  • rural development, agriculture and fisheries;
  • natural resources;
  • environment and health;
  • climate change.

The JRC will support rural development, agriculture and fisheries policies on three levels, relating to production, environmental aspects and relations between producers and consumers. The Specific Programme is also intended to improve the quality and accessibility of scientific data and to develop processes for assessing the economic and social impact of policy management options.

As regards natural resources, JRC activities will focus on:

  • water management (ecological quality of Europe’s inland and coastal waters, pollutant cycles, etc.);
  • soil protection and monitoring;
  • analysis of the life cycle of resources from extraction through use, recycling and ultimate disposal of materials;
  • sustainable production and consumption of natural resources and materials;
  • the environmental impact and sustainability of products under different technology and policy scenarios;
  • forestry (biodiversity, forest fires, resources, climate change, etc.);
  • technical support for the EU shared environment information system in the context of the development of INSPIRE;
  • analysis of the impact of structural and cohesion programmes and support for regional policies.

In addition, the JRC will contribute to making the link between the environment and health via:

  • the development and validation of methods for monitoring different pathways of exposure for humans (air, water, foodstuffs, chemical substances);
  • the assessment of the effects on health of the different forms of exposure;
  • the creation of an integrated environmental system.

As regards climate change, JRC action will focus on the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. It will also have the task of assessing the impact of climate (flooding, drought, forest fires, storms, etc.) on the most vulnerable sectors of Europe’s economy (agriculture and forestry in particular). Lastly, the JRC will tackle the question of integrating climate-related policies into other sectoral policies in the context of analysing the different options for the post-Kyoto period.

Security and freedom

This section breaks down into three distinct agendas relating to:

  • internal security;
  • disasters and response;
  • food and feed safety and quality.

JRC support for EU policies relating to internal security consists in particular in the application of systems analysis competencies in the following areas:

  • the fight against criminality, fraud and trafficking;
  • the protection of critical infrastructures;
  • anti-terrorism measures;
  • border security and migration management.

The JRC will also intervene on the ground in the event of natural disasters and technological accidents. In particular, it will contribute to improving the EU response capacity and to optimising crisis management in terms of rapidity of response, monitoring and damage assessment.

As regards the food industry, JRC actions will be based around the Fork to Farm concept. More specifically, it will validate methods and harmonised procedures for a broad range of food and feed types. In addition, it will develop its capacity for managing food crises.

Europe as a world partner

The theme of EU external relations comprises two distinct agendas: global security and development cooperation.

As regards global security, the JRC will provide technological support for, among others, the following:

  • identifying forgotten crises;
  • early warning of potential crises;
  • humanitarian needs assessment and relief;
  • integrated crisis response;
  • post-crisis damage assessment;
  • creation of a rapid mapping database;
  • cross-border stability (non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against trafficking and terrorism).

In terms of development cooperation, the JRC will play a role in setting up and operating an Observatory for Sustainable Development and Environment. This will be set up initially in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. At the heart of the observatory will be an information gathering and communication system. The system will focus essentially on the three following aspects:

  • environmental diagnostics and country profiles;
  • scenario building;
  • cross-policy interactions.

The work of the observatory will focus above all on responding to existing needs. It will be designed in such a way that it can be managed by developing countries.


Since 1984, the research and technological development policy of the European Union has been founded on multiannual framework programmes. The Seventh Framework Programme is the second programme since the launch of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and will be crucially important for growth and employment in Europe over the coming years. The Commission wishes to advance the “knowledge triangle” of research, education and innovation so that knowledge is used to promote economic dynamism as well as social and environmental progress.

Key terms used in the act
  • Thematic areas: health; food, agriculture and biotechnology; information and communication technologies; nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies; energy; environment (including climate change); transport (including aeronautics); socio-economic sciences and humanities; security and space.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2006/975/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 400 of 30.12.06

Related Acts

Council Decision 2006/977/Euratom of 19 December 2006 concerning the Specific Programme to be carried out by means of direct actions by the Joint Research Centre under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006].

This Decision concerns the objectives and activities of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) under the Euratom Specific Programme. These are linked mainly to training, knowledge management, nuclear safety, waste management and the impact of nuclear activity on the environment.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology

European Institute of Innovation and Technology

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Institute of Innovation and Technology


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

Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 establishing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.


With the creation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the European Union is a step closer to creating a knowledge economy.

More specifically, setting up the EIT must:

  • buffer the effects of fragmentation of the European knowledge sector;
  • create new reference models based on excellence;
  • integrate the economic and innovative dimension into research and education;
  • address the innovation gap *.

In other words, the EIT must make it possible to unite the three sides of the knowledge triangle (education, research and innovation) by attracting the best and most talented players in these fields and developing its many networks.

Objectives and missions

The EIT is a body dedicated to (higher) education, research and innovation. It will be primarily engaged in focusing the three sides of the knowledge triangle on a single, common goal: enhance European economic growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the EU and its Member States.

It will serve as a flagship of excellence as it will be structured in such a way as to bring together these three different sectors. Its principal task will be to:

  • identify its priority fields;
  • promote the dissemination of good practices for the integration of the knowledge triangle;
  • become a world class body for excellence;
  • inform potential partner organisations*;
  • ensure complementarity and synergy between its activities and other Community programmes;
  • select, designate and coordinate Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs – see below) in the priority areas;
  • mobilise the necessary funds from public and private sources and manage those funds;
  • promote the recognition of EIT degrees and diplomas in the Member States.

The EIT will also be able to initiate the creation of a foundation (the ‘EIT Foundation’) to promote and support its activities.


The EIT is intended to be autonomous. This will be reflected in its management, in its selection, monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as in its funding.

The EIT must be coherent in its actions, policies and initiatives, which will be carried out on a Community, national and intergovernmental level in its different areas of activity.

Structure and governance

In terms of structure and governance, the EIT has the following features:

  • a Governing Board;
  • an Executive Committee;
  • a Director;
  • an Internal Auditing Function;
  • KICs – integrated partnerships (can include third countries) made up of teams comprising universities, research bodies and industry.

The Governing Board will be composed of high-level members from the worlds of higher education, science and business. Its main tasks will entail:

  • managing EIT activities;
  • selecting, designating and evaluating KICs;
  • setting strategic EIT priorities in addition to the main thematic areas with which it will be involved.

The Executive Committee will oversee the running of the EIT and take decisions in the periods between meetings of the Governing Board.

The Director will be the legal representative of the Institute, responsible to the Governing Board for its administrative and financial management.

The Internal Audit advises the Governing Board and the Director on the financial and administrative management of the EIT, on the organisation of financial links with KICs and on any other subject requested by the Governing Board.

The role of the KICs will consist mainly of:

  • implementing innovation and investment activities focusing on research and education in interdisciplinary areas, stimulating the dissemination and utilisation of the results;
  • conducting cutting-edge research in the areas which are of greatest socioeconomic interest to the Community and show real potential for innovation;
  • organising education and training activities;
  • spreading best practice as regards governance and cooperation.

These communities will be composed of departments and partnership teams from universities, research centres and businesses. They will bring together different types of resources such as infrastructure, staff and public as well as private finance. They will use these resources to create high-level critical mass and to pool education, research and innovation excellence in their own field. While the physical resources will be geographically dispersed, each community will operate as an integrated whole. They should also benefit from complete autonomy and flexibility at the level of their internal organisation as well as for their resource management. These communities will be selected through a competitive process by the EIT and will be accountable to it. Going beyond mere cooperation, they will provide resources (infrastructure, staff, equipment) to the EIT.

Whether a particular KIC is selected or not depends on several criteria relating to its technological and innovation potential, its funding and its management and operational capabilities.

The Regulation also provides for the Commission to appoint observers. They may participate in meetings of the three EIT committees.

More information on EIT bodies can be found in the Annex to the Regulation.

Degrees and diplomas

To strengthen the EIT ‘brand’, as well as its identity, reputation and visibility, participating higher education institutes are especially encouraged to award joint or multiple degrees and diplomas, reflecting the integrated nature of the KICs.

In accordance with Articles 149 and 150 of the EC Treaty, the Member States will in particular facilitate recognition of EIT degrees and diplomas.


Being a Community agency, the EIT has legal personality and enjoys the privileges and immunities which apply to the European Communities.

The EIT is solely responsible for meeting its obligations. The Court of Justice of the European Communities has jurisdiction in any dispute.


In accordance with Decision 2008/634/EC, the seat of the EIT is located in Budapest.

Financial aspects

The EIT’s resources comprise:

  • contributions from the EU budget;
  • statutory or voluntary contributions from participating States, third countries or public authorities within them;
  • contributions from businesses or private organisations;
  • bequests, donations and contributions from individuals, institutions, foundations or any other national body;
  • the EIT’s income;
  • revenue generated by the KICs’ own activities and royalties from intellectual property rights;
  • contributions from international bodies or institutions;
  • revenue generated by the EIT’s activities, results or capital endowments;
  • loans and contributions from the European Investment Bank.

The Institute’s initial budget for the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2013 is set at EUR 308.7 million.

The Institute’s expenditure includes staff, administrative, infrastructure and operational expenses.

General aspects

The EIT is to carry out its activities independently and in a manner consistent with other actions, policies, initiatives and instruments implemented at different levels of governance.

The EIT will act in accordance with the principles of intellectual property and transparency.

The EIT will adopt a three-year work programme, based on a Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA)*, incorporating its main initiatives and priorities, as well as an estimate of its financial requirements and sources of funding. It will also adopt an evaluation report every year. Both documents will be published.

The EIT will be subject to continuous monitoring, as well as periodic independent evaluations.

Finally, from now until June 2011 and every five years after the entry into force of a new financial framework, the Commission will publish an evaluation of the EIT.


In recent years, various initiatives have been taken, both by the European Union (EU) and by the Member States, in the areas of education, research and innovation, in order to link them more effectively and to make a stronger contribution to economic growth, employment and social cohesion, but no real success has been achieved.

The Commission therefore proposed, in its spring 2005 report, the creation of a ‘European Institute of Technology’ (EIT), as a major contribution to Europe’s growth and competitiveness.

Key terms used in the act
  • Innovation: the process – and the results – by which new ideas respond to the demands of society or the economy and new products, services or business models are produced which are successfully introduced to an existing market or which have the potential to create new markets.
  • Partner organisation: any organisation which is a member of a KIC; in particular this can apply to universities, research institutes, public or private businesses, financial institutions, regional and local authorities or foundations.
  • Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA): policy document outlining the priority fields of the EIT for future initiatives, including an overview of the planned higher education, research and innovation activities, for a period of seven years.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 294/2008


OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008

Related Acts

Decision 2008/634/EC taken by common agreement between the Representatives of the Governments of Member States of 18 June 2008 on the location of the seat of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) [Journal Official L 206 of 2.8.2008].

Communication from the Commission to the European Council of 8 June 2006, ‘European Institute of Technology: further steps towards its creation’ [COM(2006) 276 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission communication of 22 February 2006, ‘Implementing the renewed partnership for growth and jobs – Developing a knowledge flagship: the European Institute of Technology’ [COM(2006) 77 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Both communications seek mainly to bring into being a European Institute of Technology (EIT), which was first proposed in 2005 by the European Commission. They describe the approach to be followed for setting up the Institute and the way in which it might operate as regards its structure and financing. Emphasis is also placed on the various benefits which such an initiative could bring, both for the individual participants and for the ‘Europe of Knowledge’ as a whole.

Investing in people

Investing in people

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Investing in people


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

Development > General development framework

Investing in people

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 January 2006, “Investing in people” [COM(2006) 18 – not published in the Official Journal].


The current legislative framework governing external action has to be simplified. To this end, within the financial perspectives 2007-2013, the Commission is proposing six new instruments to meet two main objectives:

  • horizontal instruments to respond to particular needs and circumstances;
  • instruments designed to implement particular policies with specific geographical coverage (geographical programmes).

These instruments are to provide the legal basis for Community expenditure in support of external cooperation programmes and replace the existing thematic regulations.

Forming part of this new external assistance architecture, the new thematic programme “Investing in people” provides a number of advantages:

  • improved consistency among EU policies;
  • a framework for sharing know-how;
  • improved monitoring, data collection and analysis;
  • greater emphasis placed on innovation;
  • a higher international profile.

Social and human development: recent developments

In addition to the wealth of experience built up at national and international level, several assessments and evaluations have been carried out recently in the following areas:

  • poverty diseases, sexual health, gender equality;
  • education;
  • employment and social cohesion;
  • culture.

The Commission’s analysis highlighted the need for a holistic and coherent thematic approach to human and social development, which must back up the various national initiatives. The programme “Investing in people” could pave the way for the development of European-level strategies that would respond effectively to the new priorities for health, education, social policy and culture in the field of human and social development.

The thematic programme

The focus of the thematic programme is on six different areas of action: health, knowledge and skills, culture, employment and social cohesion, gender equality, youth and children.

In order to ensure access to health care for all, the programme sets out to:

  • mobilise global public goods to combat and prevent diseases;
  • support innovative health measures;
  • improve the regulatory framework;
  • increase political and public awareness and education;
  • improve technical resources.

In the field of access to knowledge and skills, the measures taken to support national programmes consist mainly in:

  • supporting low-income countries for the development of successful education policies;
  • promoting reciprocal learning via international exchanges of experience and good practice;
  • promoting transnational university cooperation and the mobility of students and researchers at international level;
  • developing a broader framework for monitoring and data assessment;
  • promoting schooling for marginalised and vulnerable children.

In the field of culture, the new thematic programme should make for:

  • the bringing together of peoples and cultures on an equal footing, while preserving diversity;
  • greater international cooperation to fully exploit the economic potential of the cultural sector.

To reduce socio-economic inequalities, the new thematic programme will focus on social cohesion and employment, and will do this in three different ways, by:

  • promoting of the “decent work for all” agenda through global and multinational initiatives;
  • supporting initiatives to promote the improvement of working conditions as well as the adjustment to trade liberalisation;
  • promoting the social dimension of globalisation and the EU’s experience.

A fundamental human right, gender equality is already the subject of country action, which the new thematic programme will complement by:

  • supporting the various programmes that contribute to achieving the objectives of the Beijing Declaration;
  • backing the efforts of civil society organisations;
  • helping to include the gender perspective in statistics.

Finally, the thematic programme will place the interests of young people and children at the centre of European action, by:

  • drawing countries’ attention to children and youth issues and enhancing their capacity to address these issues in external action;
  • supporting regional, inter-regional and global initiatives in key areas, such as preventing all forms of child labour, human trafficking and sexual violence;
  • supporting the youth employment network;
  • supporting efforts to promote young people and children in situations and regions where bilateral cooperation has limitations;
  • supporting the monitoring of data, the development of policies, the exchange of information, awareness-raising campaigns and innovative initiatives in all areas that affect young people and children.


Human and social development is part of the “European Consensus” on development policy. This statement is the cornerstone of the Union’s international commitments as set out in the Millennium Declaration, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the World Summit for Social Development, the Beijing Platform for Action on gender equality and the September 2005 UN Summit.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on “External Actions through Thematic Programmes under the Future Financial Perspectives 2007 – 2013” [COM(2005) 324 final – not published in the Official Journal]

Seventh Framework Programme

Seventh Framework Programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Seventh Framework Programme


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

Environment > Tackling climate change

Seventh Framework Programme (2007 to 2013)


Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-13).

Council Decision 969/2006/EC of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) or nuclear research and training activities (2007-11).


The 7th Framework Programme is adapted to the EU’s needs in terms of growth and employment. After wide-ranging public consultation, four main objectives have been identified, which correspond to the four specific programmes around which the European research effort is to be structured.

Four main specific programmes

The Cooperation Programme aims to stimulate cooperation and improve links between industry and research within a transnational framework. The aim is for Europe to gain and consolidate leadership in key research areas. The programme will have nine themes, which are to be managed autonomously but will be complementary in terms of implementation:

  • health;
  • food, agriculture and biotechnology;
  • information and communication technologies;
  • nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies;
  • energy;
  • environment (including climate change);
  • transport (including aeronautics);
  • socio-economic sciences and the humanities;
  • security and space.

The Ideas Programme is intended to enhance exploratory research in Europe, i.e. aimed at discovering new knowledge that fundamentally changes our vision of the world and our way of life. In order to achieve this, the new European Research Council will support the most ambitious and innovative research projects. Within this new structure, at the forefront of European research, there will be an autonomous Scientific Council, which will identify priorities and scientific strategies. The aim is to enhance European research excellence by promoting competition and risk-taking.

The People Programme will harness significant financial resources that can be used to improve the career prospects of researchers in Europe and attract more high-quality young researchers. The Commission hopes to encourage training and mobility so that European researchers can realise their full potential. The programme will reinforce the existing “Marie Curie” actions, which for several years have been offering mobility and training opportunities to European researchers.

The Capacities Programme is intended to give researchers powerful tools that will enable them to enhance the quality and competitiveness of European research. This means more investment in research infrastructure in the less successful regions, in the creation of regional research-driven clusters and in research for the benefit of SMEs. This programme also has to reflect the importance of international cooperation in research and the role of science in society.

Furthermore, the 7th Framework Programme will finance the direct actions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the actions covered by the Euratom Framework Programme in the fields of:

  • research into fusion energy;
  • nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Change in the duration of the programme

The 7th Framework Programme takes over many features from previous programmes that have had a positive effect on European research. This is the case with the projects run by European partner groups, which will continue to have a central role in the Framework Programme. Similarly, the Commission places the Framework Programme within the context of the European Research Area, which brings together all of the EU’s activities in this field. The extension of the programme from four to seven years is indicative of the EU’s sustained commitment to stimulating European research.

While preserving the best aspects of the previous programmes, the 7th Framework Programme introduces new measures designed to improve the coherence and effectiveness of the EU’s research policy. The main innovations introduced in this framework programme are:

  • simplification of the procedures for participation in the programme;
  • implementation of the programme and its budget by theme instead of by instrument, so that it may function more coherently and effectively;
  • creation of the European Research Council under the Ideas Programme to support exploratory research;
  • improved cooperation with industry via the Joint Technology Initiatives, which will combine private investment and public funding;
  • the support of a European research infrastructures policy;
  • creation of a Risk Sharing Finance Facility to make it easier for participants to access European Investment Bank loans.

As was the case during the Sixth Framework Programme, several research areas will not receive Community financing:

  • reproductive human cloning
  • research aiming to alter human genetic stock such that modifications become heritable;
  • research aiming to create human embryos solely for research purposes or for stem cell procurement.

A simplified Framework Programme

Since 1984, various framework programmes have increased the number of administrative and financial procedures which govern the EU’s research effort. The Commission hopes to continue the process of simplification launched under the previous framework programme, thereby making the financing and management of research projects more effective.

Specific measures designed to simplify the framework programme’s implementation include:

  • streamlining of funding schemes and a more limited choice of instruments for more coherent funding;
  • use of simpler and less bureaucratic language in order to be more comprehensible to the general public;
  • reduction in the number and size of official documents;
  • simplification of the procedures participants have to go through;
  • reduction in the number of preliminary checks prior to the adoption of a project;
  • greater autonomy for partner groups;
  • simplification of the selection procedure for projects.

A budget that is large but necessary

The Commission is proposing a budget of EUR 50 521 million for the period of 2007-13, i.e. an average of EUR 7 217 per annum. This total is in fact one and a half times that of the annual budget of the 6th Framework Programme, set at EUR 4 375 per annum, i.e. a total of EUR 17 500 million over four years). The budget will be broken down as follows:

  • Cooperation: EUR 32 413 million.
  • Ideas: EUR 7 513 million.
  • People: EUR 4 750 million.
  • Capacities: EUR 4 097 million.
  • Non-nuclear actions taken by the JRC: EUR 1 751 million.
  • Euratom: EUR 2 700 million (2007-11).

This increase reflects the importance of research in the relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy, which aims to make Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world. Recently, Europe has missed big opportunities in certain key areas due to a lack of available funds. This Framework Programme will make it possible to finance more quality projects and enhance the EU’s innovation capacity.

Knowledge and technology are Europe’s main advantages and represent the foundation for growth and employment. The Framework Programme is intended to have a leverage effect on national research spending, in order to achieve the objective of spending 3 % of GDP on research in Europe. The Commission intends to play a central role in driving and coordinating European research, so that knowledge is placed at the service of growth and employment in Europe.


Since 1984, the EU has run its research and technological development policy on the basis of multiannual framework programmes. The 7th Framework Programme is the second since the launching of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and should play a fundamental role in growth and employment in Europe in years to come. The Commission wants to develop the knowledge triangle formed by research, education and innovation policies, in order to place knowledge at the service of a dynamic economy and social and environmental progress.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision No 1982/2006/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 412 of 30.12.2006

Decision No 969/2006/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2011

OJ L 391 of 30.12.2006

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 29 April 2009 on the progress made under the Seventh European Framework Programme for Research [COM(2009) 209 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 7th Framework Programme is adapting to help the EU meet its goals of creating a low carbon, knowledge-based society. It seeks to increase public and private R&D investment and to diversify its instruments in order to maximise European added value.
FP7 is crucial in promoting scientific excellence and technological. Its role is even more important now given the current economic situation. FP7 contributes to sustained research efforts, both private and public, as exemplified in the public private partnership initiatives for green cars, energy efficient buildings and factories of the future launched as part of the European Recovery Plan.
The Commission has requested a group of experts to carry out an interim evaluation of FP7 in order to improve its impact on shaping the European Research Area. The conclusions from this evaluation will feed into the debates on the future financial frameworks of the European Union, the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy and the next Framework Programme.

Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1908/2006 of 19 December 2006 laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in action under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community and for the dissemination of research results (2007-2011).
This proposal outlines the rules of participation for businesses, research centres and universities in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2007-11). The document is divided into four parts: introductory provisions (scope, definitions and confidentiality), participation in indirect actions (conditions to participate, procedural aspects, etc.), the rules for dissemination and use and access rights (ownership, protection, publication, dissemination and use of new and existing knowledge and access to them) and the specific rules for participation in activities under the thematic area “fusion energy research”.

Regulation (EC) No 1906/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under the Seventh Framework Programme and for the dissemination of research results (2007-13) [Published in Official Journal L 391 of 30.12.2006].
Concentrating on the rules of participation for businesses, research centres and universities in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community (2007-13), this Regulation consists of four chapters: the introductory provisions, participation in indirect actions, the European Investment Bank and the rules for dissemination and use.