Tagged: CohesionPolicy

Para uma União da Inovação mais forte, coesa e aberta – Working for a Strong, Cohesive and Open Innovation Union

Comissão europeia

[Só faz fé o texto proferido]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

Presidente da Comissão Europeia

Para uma União da Inovação mais forte, coesa e aberta – Working for a Strong, Cohesive and Open Innovation Union

O futuro da Europa é a ciência

Lisboa, 6 outubro 2014

Sua Excelência o Senhor Presidente da República,

Senhora Secretária de Estado,

Senhora Presidente do Conselho de Administração da Fundação Champalimaud, cara Dra. Leonor Beleza,

Senhora Comissária, Dear Máire Geoghegan-Quinn,

Senhor Comissário indigitado, meu caro Eng. Carlos Moedas,

Minhas Senhoras e meus Senhores,

Ilustres convidados,

Caros amigos,

Tenho muito prazer em estar aqui hoje convosco para vos falar do papel da ciência no futuro da Europa. Gostaria de começar por agradecer à Senhora Presidente da Fundação Champalimaud, Dra. Leonor Beleza, por nos acolher nesta impressionante sede de uma instituição que em relativamente pouco tempo já ganhou reconhecimento nacional e internacional pelo seu trabalho ao serviço da ciência. Quero de modo muito especial agradecer ao Senhor Presidente da República pela honra que nos dá ao ter dito sim quando o convidei para presidir à abertura desta conferência.

De fato, não poderíamos ter escolhido um sítio melhor do que Lisboa para realizar a conferência. A sensibilidade para a descoberta e para a abertura a novos horizontes faz parte do ADN de Portugal!

E as novas gerações têm honrado esse legado, como foi brilhantemente demonstrado pelos jovens João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo, Mariana de Pinho Garcia e Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva, que há menos de duas semanas foram reconhecidos entre os melhores jovens cientistas da Europa por ocasião do 26.º Concurso da União Europeia para Jovens Cientistas realizado em Varsóvia.

E também não teria sido possível escolher melhor sítio que a Fundação Champalimaud, que não só é um centro de excelência em investigação sobre a saúde, como também uma instituição muito empenhada em divulgar a educação científica junto do público em Portugal. A atitude dos cidadãos em relação à ciência é, sem dúvida, um aspeto crucial que importa ter em consideração. O progresso científico deve ser devidamente explicado para poder ser bem recebido, em vez de ser encarado, com muitas vezes acontece, com injustiçadas dúvidas ou até perniciosas resistências.

Esta conferência não poderia ocorrer em melhor altura, pois é precisamente nesta semana que se procede a entrega dos Prémios Nobel, que se iniciou esta manhã com o Prémio Nobel da Medicina de 2014 – cujos vencedores, como já foi dito, foram John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser e Edvard Moser, que felicito muito sinceramente. E é com grande orgulho que o faço, pois estes últimos dois neurocientistas, apesar de trabalharem na Noruega, foram ambos bolseiros do Conselho Europeu de Investigação (ERC).

Quero também agradecer muito a presença entre nós do Prémio Nobel da Física, Serge Haroche, que participará logo a seguir numa das mesas redondas, e a todos os outros eminentes cientistas, empresários e membros da sociedade civil que quiseram juntar-se a nós nestes dois dias de importantes reflexões.

A Comissão Europeia tem vindo a colocar a ciência, a investigação e a inovação no centro da agenda europeia. Para construir uma Europa forte, unida e aberta neste domínio, a Comissão tem desempenhado um importante papel procurando soluções para os problemas, estabelecendo pontes e promovendo os nossos princípios fundamentais.

A ciência, a investigação e a inovação são áreas a que tenho dedicado especial atenção desde o início do meu mandato de dez anos como Presidente da Comissão Europeia. Os alicerces foram criados ao longo dos anos: desde a criação do Instituto Europeu de Inovação e Tecnologia (EIT) e do altamente reputado Conselho Europeu de Investigação – European Research Council -, à participação da Europa em grandes projetos científicos como por exemplo – um dos maiores em curso no mundo – o Reator Termonuclear Experimental Internacional (ITER), cujos progressos constatei pessoalmente durante a visita que efetuei em julho a Cadarache, em França, na sede do projeto.

A razão pela qual dedico uma atenção especial a este setor está relacionada com a grande esperança na ciência, na grande confiança que tenho nas capacidades da mente humana e numa sociedade criativa para solucionar os seus problemas. O mundo está a mudar drasticamente, a uma velocidade nunca vista. Acredito que muitas das soluções, na Europa e fora dela, virão de novos estudos científicos e das novas tecnologias. Gostaria de ver a Europa a liderar esse esforço a nível global, o que será determinante para o futuro bem-estar e a prosperidade das nossas sociedades e para a influência europeia a nível global.

A verdade é que foi possível, mesmo em momentos de grandes dificuldades financeiras, colocar a investigação no centro da estratégia para o crescimento e para o emprego – a Estratégia Europa 2020: com o objetivo de criar condições favoráveis à inovação; promover o dinamismo da União da Inovação; lutar por um maior investimento na inovação, na tecnologia e no papel da ciência.

Gostaria de aproveitar esta oportunidade para enaltecer o trabalho incansável e muito competente da Comissária para a Investigação, a Inovação e a Ciência, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, em prol da obtenção de resultados concretos num setor com tão grandes ambições. Muito a ela se deve, nomeadamente na luta de persuasão de alguns Governos no sentido de nos apoiarem em relação a um orçamento mais ambicioso para a investigação.

Acredito igualmente – e tive experiência direta disso durante estes anos – na importância da competência científica independente e consistente. De facto, a Comissão Europeia é muitas vezes chamada a tomar decisões que são extremamente complexas do ponto de vista técnico e que têm profundas repercussões do ponto de vista social, e até, muitas vezes, implicações de um ponto de vista ético. E penso que essas decisões devem ser sustentadas numa abordagem científica.

Foi por essa razão que decidi criar o cargo de conselheiro científico principal do Presidente da Comissão Europeia, exercido pela Professora Anne Glover, e também criamos o Conselho Consultivo para a Ciência e Tecnologia (STAC), que nos aconselha e apoia nos domínios da ciência e da tecnologia.

Dado que o progresso da ciência levanta por vezes questões éticas, a Comissão Europeia é também aconselhada pelo Grupo Europeu de Ética para as Ciências e as Novas Tecnologias, um organismo independente, pluralista e pluridisciplinar, cujo papel se encontra já bem consolidado.

Dado que há muito a fazer quando se aceita a ideia de que a mudança é uma oportunidade de melhorar; e que as novas formas de pensar e os novos dados podem obrigar-nos a abandonar visões por vezes antiquadas do mundo e a aceitar algo de novo, dei também o meu pleno apoio a várias iniciativas prospetivas no âmbito da Comissão Europeia, desde o projeto ESPAS (European Strategy and Policy Analysis System) à criação de uma rede interna em matéria de prospetiva, que cobre também o domínio científico.

Penso que estes exercícios prospetivos são realmente necessários pois, embora a incerteza faça sempre parte da decisão política, a falta de antecipação política adequada pode e deve ser evitada. Os decisores políticos precisam de dispor de alternativas de políticas públicas bem informadas que lhes permitam tomar decisões claras e estratégicas a médio e longo prazo.

Por isso solicitei, portanto, ao meu Conselho Consultivo para a Ciência e Tecnologia (STAC) que se debruçasse sobre estas questões e que elaborasse um relatório sob o lema «O futuro da Europa é a ciência». É precisamente disso que se trata: identificar os desafios e as oportunidades que a ciência, a tecnologia e a inovação colocam à Europa e formular uma série de recomendações em três domínios diferentes, todos eles de importância primordial para os cidadãos europeus: o futuro da sua saúde, o futuro do trabalho e o futuro do ambiente.

Queria aproveitar esta oportunidade para agradecer publicamente aos membros do STAC. Sempre trabalhámos juntos, de uma forma aberta e construtiva. Sempre valorizei o seu aconselhamento e congratulo-me com o relatório que é hoje mesmo publicado na ocasião da realização da conferência.

Gostaria agora de vos explicar sucintamente o que significa uma Europa forte, unida e aberta do ponto de vista da Comissão Europeia no que se refere à ciência e à investigação.

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Contradicting what I call an intellectual glamour of pessimism about Europe, which unfortunately happens to be rather fashionable in some circles, we have to recognize that, when it comes to research and innovation, Europe is strong. Much stronger than what sometimes is publicly acknowledged. Europe is one of the leaders in science in the world!

We are not short of world-class researchers and innovators with the skills and ideas to drive Europe forward. And today’s audience is a perfect illustration of this. We have twice the number of science and technology graduates than in the United States; with 7% of the world’s population, we still produce roughly a third not only of the world’s GDP, but also of patents and high impact scientific publications; and despite the crisis almost all our Member States have improved their innovation performance; and we have been able to halve the innovation gap that we still have with the United States and Japan. While in science we are, in many areas, the number one in the world, in innovation we are not always in the first places.

But we cannot afford to rest on these laurels. We live in a world where scientific and technological progress is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and where South Korea is moving further ahead, with China quickly catching us up. So we need to capitalize on our strengths and to address also some of our weaknesses.

From a European Commission’s perspective, this basically means to act as a problem-solver in an environment of scarce resources and under very challenging circumstances. This is what we have been doing over these last years.

The best illustration of this is certainly the new research programme Horizon 2020. This is a large framework programme with wide-ranging objectives from supporting excellence in science – with the European Research Council now chaired by Professor Bourguignon – to developing industrial leadership and addressing key societal challenges, allowing us to focus on the big priorities relevant to our citizens.

That said, as we are all aware, money is the crux of the matter. But despite very difficult financial conditions, we have managed to get our Member States closer to our objectives for research, with an increase of 30% through the new Horizon 2020 programme – around € 80 billion for the next seven years – which makes it today one of the most important scientific funding programmes in the world.

I have to say, to be honest with our Member States, that while in some areas they were very negative when we discussed the Multiannual Financial Programme for the next seven years regarding some expenditure, when it came to science there was, generally speaking, very good opening from our Member States considering the ambitious proposals of the Commission. And this is certainly a very important progress, compared to the situation in the past.

And because entrepreneurs, researchers, innovators cannot afford to have their energy and time drained with red tape, with Horizon 2020 red tape was sensibly reduced. All phases of the innovation cycle are now funded under a single platform.

More private investment has also been secured to address major societal challenges. Public-private partnerships are one of the key elements of Horizon 2020. The private sector has committed to invest nearly € 10 billion in Joint Technology Initiatives stimulating innovation in areas such as medicines, transport and bio-based industries. Together with EU and Member States funding, this amounts to a € 22 billion boost for growth and jobs in Europe over the next 7 years.

Another example of the European Commission acting as a problem-solver is the Risk Sharing Finance Facility that we have set up jointly with the European Investment Bank.

As you know, one of the major obstacles to getting innovation to the market is the insufficient availability of finance for new and innovative projects, particularly for SMEs. The principle of this Risk Sharing Finance Facility is that for every billion euro of European budget money, the European Investment Bank has mobilised € 12 billion in loans and over € 30 billion in final research and innovation investment. Concretely, this has led to additional resources of up to € 40 billion since 2007 for research and innovation activities, which would otherwise be left unfunded. Besides, a very substantial share of Horizon 2020 will be devoted to funding innovative SMEs which, no need to recall, form the backbone of the European economy.

And I am happy and even proud to add that after 30 years of negotiation, – because the Member States were not able to agree on a common position on that matter – we finally agreed a European-wide patent, even if there are two Member States that are outside the final agreement. This is a major step forward in our effort to deliver a more innovative-friendly business environment in Europe. We estimate that once fully implemented, this will reduce the cost by up to 80% for small and medium size business and individual researchers to register their creative ideas.

But clearly the European Commission’s actions are not enough. They are necessary but not sufficient. Our countries must also act as problem-solvers and our governments make an equal effort in research. Budgetary consolidation is certainly an essential prerequisite for sound growth and competitiveness. But investment in growth and jobs of the future are also vital. And if you want to invest in the future, you should think science, research and innovation!

Ladies and gentlemen,

A stronger Europe is also a more united Europe. And for Europe to be more united in the field of science, research and innovation, we have to address existing fragmentations, notably between academic and business worlds, between public and private sectors.

From a European Commission’s perspective this means to act as a bridge-builder and make the knowledge triangle work better in favour of new socio-economic benefits. This is what we have been doing over these last years, notably through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) which I took the initiative to create during my first mandate and which was launched in 2008.

The EIT, and I recently visited the headquarters of the EIT in Budapest, precisely brings together the three strands of the knowledge triangle – higher education, research and innovation – and businesses, in new types of partnership, the so-called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) operating so far in three areas, but we are going to enlarge them: sustainable energy, climate change and ICT; and with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. Until 2020, the EIT will be expanded to new areas and five new KICs will be created, as well as its outreach capacity that will be strengthened.

By 2020, the EIT is expected to train 10.000 Master students, 10.000 PhDs and create 600 new companies, and achieve systematic impact in the way universities, research centres and companies cooperate for innovation.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions are also another good example of how to bridge gaps between sectors. Horizon 2020 will allow for the funding of 65.000 researchers under the new Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions which will combine research excellence with training on entrepreneurial skills; and encourage researchers to engage with industries and other employers during their fellowship.

A more united Europe depends also on an increased mobility of researchers and on the development of pan-European infrastructures. This is, as you know, the objective of the European Research Area: to have a real single market for knowledge, research and innovation. Good progress has been made. Most of the conditions for achieving a European Research Area are in place at the European level. The completion of this objective therefore now largely depends on national reforms and on national implementation. Member States are expected to present “European Research Area (ERA) roadmaps” by mid-2015, outlining their next steps towards the implementation of a true European single market for research.

And as it is just impossible to speak of a more cohesive Europe without referring to cohesion policy, I would like to mention that, to maximise territorial and social cohesion, Smart Specialisation Strategies are being developed with the support of the European Regional development Fund as well as other relevant funds, in order to make the most of the innovation potential of each region and each country across Europe. This is what we call the “Staircase to Excellence”, allowing all Member States to attain the best level in science with the support of European funding.

Finally, a stronger Europe is also an open Europe. When I had the great honour to deliver, together with my colleague, the President of the European Council, the acceptance speech of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union in Oslo, I made a point about science and culture being at the core of our European project, precisely as a way of going beyond borders. I think it is very interesting that the idea of the European Union was, to some extent, to overcome borders and divisions and in science we know something about that. As Louis Pasteur said: “La science n’a pas de patrie.”

From a European Commission’s perspective this means to hold true to our Union founding values and principles by reaching out not only to our countries, but to all countries in the world. For example 15.000 out of the 65.000 researchers to be funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions will be non-EU researchers.

We are also promoting a dynamic science diplomacy. Horizon 2020, for example, is fully open to participation from international partner countries as shown by the agreement we recently signed with Israel. And I am happy that we have now found a solution to associate Switzerland to the Horizon 2020 programme that is one of the most important science and research funding programmes in the world.

We are also developing major dialogues on science and innovation with other world regions, notably with Africa. For instance, a year ago, we have agreed to start working towards a long-term jointly funded and co-owned research and innovation partnership with Africa, with a first focus on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

Another example is the decision taken with the United States and Canada, in May 2013, to join forces on Atlantic Ocean research, to better understand this Ocean and to promote the sustainable management of its resources.

That said, openness is not a one-way street. It has to be reciprocated. Our ongoing negotiations of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) contribute to the establishment of a level playing field with our international partners, with the aim of ensuring, in particular, equivalent protection of intellectual property rights. We are clearly aiming at promoting win-win situations, so as to foster international research and innovation opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have been through the worst financial, economic and social crisis since the start of European integration. This has clearly put our European model to the test. This was the biggest stress test ever in terms of European integration. Under these challenging circumstances, it was not easy to struggle to keep Europe united and open to the world, and to prepare Europe to emerge stronger and better prepared for the demands of globalisation, prepared to deal with demographic, technological and environmental challenges. A Europe ready to face the future.

In this process, the European Commission has always considered science and innovation as key strategic priorities for promoting a competitive European economy, but also a vibrant European society. We have been fully committed to create a more science and innovation-friendly environment. Because indeed “the future of Europe is science.”

And the discussions you will have later today and tomorrow on foresight will be an opportunity to highlight how much science and innovation are key to deliver on the issues which matter most for every European: health, jobs and therefore the society they live in and the economy. And there is no alternative: we have to deliver on these issues – crucially on jobs – to regain the trust of our citizens.

The reforms driven by the European Commission, and of course with our Member States, over the past five years are a solid foundation for that. Still a lot remains to be done. Science and innovation have to remain more than ever strategic priorities. But one thing I can tell you very sincerely after these ten years in the European Commission is that the European Union has demonstrated its great resilience. All those that were betting on the implosion of the euro or on the implosion of the European Union, were wrong. And one of the things that tie us together is, and should continue to be, science and the commitment to an open society where these ideas and this creativity can be kept and can be developed.

Let me conclude in Portuguese,

A título mais pessoal, quero manifestar hoje a minha satisfação por saber que a enorme responsabilidade de conduzir a ciência no futuro incumbirá ao meu compatriota e amigo, o Comissário português indigitado, Carlos Moedas. Gostaria de agradecer a sua presença hoje e estou confiante de que desenvolverá profundos esforços a favor da ciência, da investigação e da inovação. Desejo-lhe o melhor para as suas futuras funções. Para o futuro de Portugal e para o futuro da ciência na Europa!

E a todos vós desejo muito êxito nas discussões acerca do futuro da Europa e da ciência.

Muito obrigado pela vossa atenção.

Top News from the European Commission 19 July – 30 September 2014

European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 18 July 2014

Top News from the European Commission
19 July – 30 September 2014

Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

Tuesday 22 July: Commission moves a step closer to an ‘EU Urban Agenda’ as citizens are asked their views on the ideal European city

The news:

On Tuesday, 22 July, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn will officially launch a public consultation seeking the opinions of European citizens on a future EU Urban Agenda – what form it should take and how it should be put into action. The Commissioner is calling for a wide engagement by stakeholders and inhabitants of cities.

The public consultation marks the adoption by the Commission of a formal Communication: “The Urban Dimension of EU Policies”, which proposes a set of questions for consultation aimed at further clarifying the need for an EU urban agenda, what its objectives should be and how it could function.

The background:

While 72 % of the total EU population live in cities, towns and suburbs, this proportion is likely to reach more than 80% by 2050. Currently, over two-thirds of all EU policies directly or indirectly affect towns and cities – such as in the fields of transport, energy, and environment. An Urban Agenda would aim for a more integrated approach to policy development, to ensure consistency and avoid contradictions.

A growing number of calls have come from the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, city associations and cities themselves for more involvement of cities in the design of EU policies and a greater coherence in the way Europe’s institutions tackle urban challenges.

The event:

Commissioner Hahn will make a press statement at the European Commission midday briefing in Brussels on Tuesday 22 July.

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

“Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe” forum

EU Urban Policy Portal

  1. Video stock shots of Urban EU co-financed projects available on Ebs http://ec.europa.eu/avservices

Twitter @EU_Regional @JHahnEU #eucities

The contacts:

Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65

Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10

Wednesday 23 July: Commission presents its Energy Efficiency Communication

The news:

On 23 July, the European Commission will adopt the Energy Efficiency Communication. The Communication consists of an in-depth analysis of the EU’s progress towards its 2020 energy efficiency target and an energy efficiency framework for the following years up to 2030.

It includes an examination of the current and future benefits of energy efficiency for European citizens and the economy.

The background:

The Energy Efficiency Communication is an important follow-up to the 2030 communication on energy and climate change which proposed 2030 targets for greenhouse gas reductions and renewable energy – 40% and at least 27% respectively.

The event:

An IP and a MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

For more information on the Energy Efficiency Communication:

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/events/2014_energy_efficiency_review_en.htm

For more information on the Energy Efficiency Directive:

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/eed/eed_en.htm

The contacts:

Sabine Berger +32 2 299 27 92 sabine.berger@ec.europa.eu

Nicole Bockstaller +32 2 295 25 89 nicole.bockstaller@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 23 July: Energy efficiency, human capital and SMEs to receive bulk of EU Cohesion Policy investments from 2014-2020

The news:

The European Commission is set to publish its 6th Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion on 23 July, analysing the evolution of regional disparities in the Union over the past 4 year and the varying degrees of success in overcoming the impact of the crisis.

While unemployment has grown in almost all regions over that time, the Report highlights how the reform of EU Cohesion Policy, and its closer alignment with the Europe2020 Strategy, is turning things around and delivering growth and creating jobs.

The report outlines how investments will be focused on key areas like energy efficiency, employment, social inclusion and SMEs to get the most out of investments to the benefit of citizens.

It also finds that Cohesion Policy has cushioned the dramatic decline of public investment, injecting much needed liquidity in many Member States and creating vital financial stability.

The background:

The last Cohesion Report came out in late 2010 and emphasised the need for investments to support the realisation of the Europe2020 growth goals, with stricter pre-conditions and an increased focus on results. EU Cohesion Policy, as reformed for the 20014-2020 period has become highly strategic and modernised, with measureable impacts.

Investments now focus even more on the low-carbon economy, innovation and SMEs, quality employment, skills and social inclusion Meanwhile, new rules and pre conditions for funding ensure that the right regulatory and macro-economic framework is in place so the Policy has an even greater impact for the European economy and its citizens.

The event:

The Report will be published on 23 July.

An IP will be available on the day.

The sources:

The Sixth Cohesion Forum taking place in Brussels on 8-9 September 2014 will provide an opportunity to discuss the findings of the Report in the presence of high-level politicians and policy-makers.

Further information on EU Cohesion Policy and future events at:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65

Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 November: The EU at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia – media accreditation open

The news:

The President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council will represent the EU at this year’s G20 Summit, which will take place on 15 and 16 November in Brisbane, Australia. Leaders are expected, amongst others, to adopt the Brisbane Action Plan, putting in place concrete short and medium-term actions to develop comprehensive strategies to stimulate growth. These will include infrastructure investments, trade barrier reductions, employment and development measures. Furthermore, G20 leaders will discuss measures to make the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks.

The Australian Presidency has now opened the procedure for media accreditation. Journalists can apply for official accreditation until 21 October 2014, 9:00 Brussels time, at https://www.g20.org/accreditation/media_registration. As the Australian government points out, it is important that media register for accreditation via the online accreditation portal as early as possible and then apply for their visa. Accreditation will only be confirmed once the applicant has an approved visa.

The background:

The Brisbane Summit is the 9th edition of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit of the world’s major advanced and emerging economies. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Together, they represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population. This year, Australia welcomes Spain as a permanent invitee; Mauritania as the 2014 chair of the African Union; Myanmar as the 2014 Chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN); Senegal, representing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; New Zealand; and Singapore. The 10th edition of the G20 Summit will be hosted by Turkey in 2015.

The event:

15 and 16 November 2014: 9th edition of the G20 Summit in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia, with the participation of the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.

Press events ahead of and during the G20 Summit are to be confirmed. Press material about the EU at the G20 will be made available in the week before and during the Summit.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

G20 2014 Media accreditation: https://www.g20.org/accreditation/media_registration

G20 website of the Australian Presidency: https://www.g20.org/

G20 section on President Barroso’s website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/g20/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen pia.ahrenkilde-hansen@ec.europa.eu +32 (0)2 295 30 70

Jens Mester jens.mester@ec.europa.eu +32 (0)2 296 39 73

Dirk Volckaerts dirk.volckaerts@ec.europa.eu +32 (0)2 299 39 44

Keynote speech to the WIRE V Conference

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

Keynote speech to the WIRE V Conference

WIRE V Conference

Athens, 12 June 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all I wish to congratulate the Hellenic Presidency for organising this fifth edition of the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe, following on from Granada in 2010, Debrecen in 2011, Krakow in 2012 and Cork last year.

WIRE I in Granada in March 2010 was one of the first major policy events in which I participated as Commissioner, so I remember it well!

The successive conferences have given me the opportunity to take stock of ongoing developments in the important relationship between research and innovation and cohesion policies.

In 2010 we were just beginning to set the framework for the future of these policies.

By 2011, the cohesion regulations and Horizon 2020 were being drafted. By 2012 they had been adopted by the Commission and were under discussion with the Member States.

Those discussions were completed in 2013 and now, in 2014, the first calls for proposals under Horizon 2020 have already been launched – indeed, some are already being evaluated – while the cohesion programming documents are being submitted and adopted.

WIRE V builds on the work of these earlier conferences by focusing on the concept of smart specialisation and on a policy agenda that is very much results-oriented.

The three broad themes of this conference – European funding and smart specialisation for 2014-2020; business driven regional innovation and the use of open data and knowledge to drive scientific excellence – provide rich possibilities for debate and analysis, as is shown in the detailed programme for the next two days.

Smart specialisation is at the heart of WIRE V and with good reason.

In Granada in 2010, everyone was wondering about this new idea and what it would mean.

Things have moved quickly in just four years.

Now, future cohesion support for research and innovation is conditional on having a smart specialisation strategy in place. And more broadly speaking, such a strategy should also be the broad framework in which to pursue ‘smart growth’

I welcome the fact that many Member States, through the process of self-assessment, are reporting the existence of smart specialisation strategies, at national or regional level.

Nevertheless, I also know that other Member States and regions have not yet made the necessary progress and may need to submit action plans for later completion of their strategies.

Whatever your situation, I would urge that all strategies be put in place as soon as possible. Smart specialisation is now an essential, if not the essential tool in the successful planning and implementation of support for research and innovation.

As I said at WIRE IV, there is no denying that we have a considerable research and innovation divide in Europe – a divide that remains despite our best efforts.

There are several reasons for these disparities, mostly related to structural deficits such as lack of research investment, insufficient capacity-building, the structure of a country’s industries and the profile of its companies, as well as lack of access to international networks.

Cohesion policy has a crucial role to play in tackling this divide through capacity building. And a smart specialisation strategy can act as the blueprint.

Today’s discussion on Regional Innovation and European Growth couldn’t be more timely.

The Annual Growth Survey 2014 confirmed that, after five years of financial and economic crisis, the first signs of a slow recovery are starting to appear in Europe.

While we seem to have reached a turning point in the crisis, the recovery is still modest and very fragile, so these positive signs should not make us complacent, they should encourage us to take further measures to secure a lasting and sustainable recovery.

I think it is safe to say that we are all agreed – whether researchers, business people, policy makers or civil society – that research and innovation drives sustainable growth and jobs.

So if Europe is to re-take the path to a strong and lasting recovery, it will have to place its bets on research and innovation.

Since we last met at WIRE IV in Cork last year, the EU has launched new programmes for research and innovation and for cohesion.

Horizon 2020 couples research and innovation by focusing on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges, while the European Structural and Investment Funds are designed to ensure that this knowledge can be absorbed and used effectively.

Combining these two sources of funding could significantly increase their impact, which is why we have made sure that the two programmes are mutually compatible and mutually supporting.

Research and innovation is also taking an increasingly prominent place in the broader EU policy framework, and in particular the European Semester. I am therefore particularly pleased that, for the 2014 Semester, Country Specific Recommendations relating to research and innovation have been proposed by the Commission for 15 Member States, the highest number so far.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’d now like to bring you right up to date with some news that’s hot off the press!

Two days ago I launched, together with Vice President Olli Rehn, a Communication on Research and Innovation as Sources of Renewed Growth.

One of the thorniest issues we have to face is how we square the circle of investing more in research and innovation in times of fiscal consolidation, when public budgets are under greatest pressure.

The very clear message from the Communication is to prioritise and to reform.

The Communication underlines the importance of investing in research and innovation in order to allow Europe to capture new growth opportunities.

In recent years, we have seen that continued investment in the sources of jobs and growth is paying off in several Member States and in the transformation of economies like South Korea and China.

And this is also what the EU did last year when it agreed its new seven-year budget. While the overall budget envelope was reduced, there is a decisive shift towards research and innovation, with Horizon 2020 seeing a 30% real terms increase in finance.

However, maintaining or increasing investment will only be most effective when they go hand in hand with measures to increase their quality.

We need far-reaching reforms of research and innovation systems in order to increase the quality and efficiency of public expenditure in these areas.

I have no illusions about how difficult this can be, having steered through the major reform of Horizon 2020 to be simpler and to achieve greater impact.

Our new proposals will support governments to make the necessary reforms to their own research and innovation systems.

And reform of Member States’ research and innovation systems will also encourage businesses to invest more in R&D and innovation. Many businesses look globally when they invest in research and innovation. So Europe, the Member States and regions must be able to put forward an attractive proposition.

Progress at European level, for example on the European patent, remains essential, so we will continue to implement the innovation-friendly measures championed by the Innovation Union initiative.

Alongside these framework conditions, there is the potential for smart investments by the public sector to leverage private investment.

Improvements in the quality and efficiency of public spending can help create a ‘virtuous circle’, by leveraging higher investment levels from the private sector and generating increasing economic returns.

No government can fund world class science and innovation in all areas, and so each country and region must take tough decisions to prioritise their research and innovation budget in the areas where it will produce the greatest impacts.

This brings us back to smart specialisation.

Here, European regions have a strong role to play: by identifying the most promising growth opportunities, they can reprioritise action and investments, build innovation frameworks and direct us towards solutions that foster growth and jobs. Regions can also profit from systemic learning and the exchange of good practice on smart specialisation.

I have a feeling that this new Communication will provide many ideas to discuss at a future WIRE conference.

In conclusion, let me once again express my gratitude to the Hellenic Presidency, including Georgia Tzenou of the National Documentation Centre and her team, as well as to my services in the directorate General for Research and Innovation, for organising this event.

As ever, I very much look forward to hearing concrete recommendations from your deliberations that can help us increase the impact of research and innovation across the EU at every level.

I would therefore like to wish all the participants a very enjoyable and productive conference.

Thank you.

Innovation vs. Austerity: how can Spain enhance its knowledge economy in austere times?

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

Innovation vs. Austerity: how can Spain enhance its knowledge economy in austere times?

The Economist’s Spain Summit Closing session

Madrid, 3 June 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

The subject of this Summit, “Accelerating the return to growth”, could not be more relevant for the situation in Europe today.

After a long period of economic downturn, the signs of recovery in Europe are becoming evident. This is true in Spain, where the European Commission’s Spring forecast put growth in 2014 at 1.1 percent, rising to 2.1 percent in 2015.

However, the recovery remains fragile and uneven, and it is now urgent for the European Union to really focus on the measures that can secure growth and jobs.

I am convinced that research and innovation must be at the heart of a lasting recovery, so that Europe takes its place as the knowledge economy.

I’m certainly not alone in that conviction. Last October the EU Heads of State and Government declared clearly that ‘Investment in research and innovation fuels productivity and growth and is key for job creation’.

And the point of consensus following the European elections is that Europe must focus even more on jobs and growth.

Indeed, the evidence shows that the Member States that continued to invest in research and innovation have fared better in the current crisis.

There is also a wide agreement that investing in research and innovation is the entry ticket to the knowledge economy.

So it is worrying to see that many Member States have cut research and innovation spending in the last few years. In Spain, the public budget for research was cut by 25% in real terms between 2008 and 2012. And Spain is by no means the only such Member State.

At first glance, and considering the severe pressures on budgets, such cuts are perhaps understandable. However, public research investment helps create the knowledge base and talent that innovative companies need, and it also leverages business investment in research and innovation, crucial elements in fulfilling the aims of Europe 2020.

The countries that are cutting investments for a prolonged period risk losing the highly skilled talent that is essential to remain competitive and for generating future jobs and growth. It will be very difficult to recover from these lost investments.

So unless we reverse this trend, I am afraid that there will be parts of Europe that, in the long run, will not be able to compete in the knowledge economy. The ‘innovation divide’ risks becoming an entrenched economic divide.

It is against this backdrop that the European Commission is preparing new proposals that focus on research and innovation as the sources of renewed growth.

I will be presenting these with Vice President Olli Rehn next week.

One of the thorniest issues that we will address is how we solve the conundrum of investing more in research and innovation in times of fiscal consolidation, when public budgets are under greatest pressure.

The very clear message from the Commission is to prioritise and to reform.

Some countries have been here before. Finland turned its economy around in the 1990s by focusing on innovation and making the necessary investment, despite huge budget pressures.

At the same time, Finland reformed its research and innovation policies and has been continuously improving them ever since.

And more recently, we are seeing that continuing to invest in the sources of jobs and growth is paying off in several Member States and in the transformation of economies like South Korea and China.

And this is also what the EU did last year when it agreed its new seven-year budget.

While the overall budget envelope was reduced, there is a decisive shift towards research and innovation – with Horizon 2020 seeing a 30% real terms increase in finance. And hand in hand with this increase, Horizon 2020 has been radically reformed to be simpler and achieve greater impact.

Reform will bring in more business investment in innovation. Many businesses look globally when they invest in research and innovation. So Europe and Member States like Spain must be able to put forward an attractive proposition.

The Single Market is, I believe, a huge motivation to invest in Europe. But we need to make sure the Single Market works, especially in high tech areas such as the digital economy and biopharmaceuticals.

Progress at European level, for example on the European patent, remains essential, so we will continue to implement the innovation-friendly measures championed by the Innovation Union initiative.

Alongside these framework conditions, there is the potential for smart investments by the public sector to leverage private investment.

The European Union has just agreed six partnerships with industry worth some 17 billion euro in pharmaceuticals, ICT, transport and the bio economy. More than half of this investment comes from the private sector. This kind of public private partnership can, and should be, supported by individual countries.

Indeed, public and private investments in research and innovation are closely linked.

Improvements in the quality and efficiency of public spending can help create a ‘virtuous circle’, by leveraging higher investment levels from the private sector and generating increasing economic returns.

Our proposals next week will support governments to make the necessary reforms.

No government can fund world class science and innovation in all areas, and so each country must take tough decisions to prioritise their research and innovation budget in the areas where it will produce the greatest impacts.

The aim here must be smart specialisation – playing to a region or Member State’s particular strengths and talents and focusing resources where they have the greatest impact rather than spreading investment too widely and too thinly.

We’re encouraging this approach under the EU’s new Cohesion Policy. From now on, every Member State and region must have a smart specialisation strategy in place as a condition to receiving funding for research and innovation from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

I am also a firm believer that public funding for research and innovation should be allocated on a competitive basis to the best proposals. This objective approach is the foundation of excellent science, but it is not yet common practice in all Member States.

There is also much to be done to improve the performance of universities and public research organisations.

Universities need to be able to enter partnerships with business and other actors.

The performance of universities should be assessed independently. And positions in universities should be advertised openly with recruitment based on merit.

These reforms are all important ways to ensure that public money is being well spent. They will also enable the free movement of researchers and ideas across Europe creating a European Research Area.

We also need to reform how we finance research and innovation. Beyond grant funding, we have seen that many countries are using tax credits and financial instruments to support business research and innovation.

And at European level we have also reformed how we support research and innovation, with the new Horizon 2020 programme which has a budget of nearly 80 billion euro.

The programme aims to get bigger impacts for our investments in scientific excellence, industrial leadership and societal challenges.

Horizon 2020 also represents economic reform, designed to generate growth and jobs. We have a programme that has cut red-tape, where excellence is the benchmark and where we champion both top quality fundamental research, and its application in innovation.

The programme will promote even greater industry involvement, in particular for SMEs and new entrants.

Indeed, while research and innovation for SMEs are promoted across the whole programme, Horizon 2020 also introduces a new instrument designed to meet their specific needs.

There are also new financing options in the form of risk-sharing (through guarantees) or risk finance (through loans and equity) to support innovative companies.

I urge Spanish companies, including SMEs, to seek out the new opportunities provided by Horizon 2020. This is not just about support to finance innovative projects, but also to enable companies to access the best knowledge and expertise from across Europe.

But Horizon 2020 can only complement investment and reform at national level.

Spain is not facing its challenges alone – many Member States share similar problems. I know that Minister de Guindos, who is responsible for research in the Spanish government, is ambitious to reform, and the European Commission is keen to help.

For example, the Commission is financing a Peer Review of Spain’s research and innovation policy by experts from seven other European countries.

The European peer review will provide suggestions to Spain on how to reinforce the contribution of research and innovation to your economy and society.

Minister de Guindos has committed to closely examining the suggestions and take them on board.

Spain’s determination to reform has already resulted in the very welcome National Reform Programme, in particular the newly-adopted Strategy and Implementing Plan for Research and Innovation and the announcement of a National Research Agency.

These are the right steps, but what more could Spain do?

Yesterday, as part of the European Semester process the European Commission presented the results of its assessment for 2014, together with proposals for Country Specific Recommendations to be endorsed by the European Council.

Recommendations are made for each Member State, and the proposed recommendations for Spain include the financing of the new national strategy for science, technology and innovation as well as making operational the new State Research Agency.

This means that when Spain reviews its spending priorities within its fiscal consolidation strategy, it should identify the sources of funding for the new National Strategy and Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation.

The Commission also considers that Spain needs to increase the quality of research outputs. This means that the new State Research Agency should follow best practice in the allocation of funding to universities and other research-performing organisations based on their performance. Greater use should be made of competitive calls for proposals which use international standards of peer review. In the long run such measures will encourage excellence and deliver better value for money.

Finally, the Commission’s assessment is that Spain needs to foster public-private cooperation and facilitate the commercial development of research outputs. So there should be incentives for researchers, universities and public research organisations to cooperate with industry.

Ladies and gentlemen,

If I were to distill what I have been discussing down to one message, it would be this:

Combining investment and reform of research and innovation must be Europe’s roadmap to growth and prosperity.

I don’t underestimate the task. I know from my own experience with Horizon 2020 just how difficult this is, and I know what a big challenge it is for Spain.

This means a relentless focus on jobs and growth. It will mean Europe as a whole will need to shift resources towards research and innovation and other growth-enhancing measures.

This is already happening at the EU level, and the Commission is encouraging Member States to do likewise within their fiscal consolidation strategies.

At the same time we need to reform our research and innovation systems and create the framework conditions that will attract innovators, entrepreneurs and business investments.

It’s a challenge that I know you will meet and it is absolutely essential to do so – so that the economy that will emerge from the crisis will be very different from before.

We are with you every step of the way.

Thank you.