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EN03:35 UKRO - European News (24 October 2003)
News on Non-Framework Programme, Programmes & Policy
1. Brussels European Council
2. Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2003
3. Open Access to Scientific Knowledge
4. Commission Calls for Better enforcement of Road Safety Rules
5. Agreement on Monitoring Greenhouse Gas Emissions
6. EU and Russia Energy Strategies
7. Measures to Protect Workers Exposed to Electro-Magnetic Fields and Waves
8. EU Research Sparks Revolution in Machine Tools, Robots and Automation
9. Action Plan for Promoting Industrial Policy
10. Fostering Entrepreneurship
11. European Parliament Votes on New EU Emissions Rules
12. MEPs Endorse Erasmus Mundus Proposals
13. EU's e-Learning Programme
14. European Social Fund - Current and Future Status
1. Brussels European Council
The European Council met in Brussels on 16/17 October 2003. At the meeting were the Heads of State and Government of the 15 current and 10 future Member States. The main items on the agenda were:
(1) Re-launching the European Economy
(2) Strengthening Freedom, Security and Justice
(3) External Relations
The main areas of interest in terms of research, education and training were discussed within item (1) Re-launching the European Economy - the Council decided to back the proposals for a European Growth Initiative. The focus of an initiative is expected to be on big infrastructure projects and an investment in research and development. While the 25 leaders have already given their approval to a 50 B¯ contribution of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to infrastructure projects, the specific list of projects will be discussed at the next summit meeting in December.
There was no agreement on precise figures for investment in research and development, but the EU leaders called for :
* strong involvement of Member States in benchmarking, sharing of experience and the preparation of mutually consistent measures to boost public and private investment in research and innovation;
* strengthened coordination between public and private-funded research and the use to a greater extent of the Structural Funds for Research and Development projects bearing in mind the role of these funds to promote cohesion and taking into account the specific needs and potential of different regions, including those of acceding States. Public-private partnerships in the research area are a key factor in developing new technologies and enabling the European high-tech industry to compete at the global level;
* rapid progress on implementing the e-Europe Action Plan; this requires considerable efforts to ensure the Community-wide implementation of the new regulatory framework for electronic communications and the stepping-up of actions and investments, especially in the e-Government, e-Health and e-Learning sectors and as regards the development of broadband infrastructure and contents.
Presidency conclusions: Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2003
A new OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report shows that investment in R&D and software continue to grow in the developed world. However, the EU is still far off the 3% target.
The OECD's Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2003 brings together internationally comparable data on trends in the knowledge-based economy. It revealed that both investment in research and development (R&D) and investment in new technologies rose in 2001 and 2002 in the OECD Member States.
Investment in knowledge is highest in the US with 7% of GDP, followed by Sweden and Finland. The OECD average was about 4.8%, of which almost half for R&D, and the rest for higher education and software.
R&D expenditure has risen faster in the US than in the EU and Japan. In 2001, the R&D intensity of the EU reached 1.9% of GDP, the highest level since 1991, but is still well below the Lisbon target of 3% in 2010. Sweden, Finland, Japan and Iceland were the only OECD countries in which the investment exceeded 3%, while the US remained stable at 2.8%. Most of the rise in R&D expenditure is due to higher business investment, about 23% of which was accounted for by the service sector.
Among the new technologies, nanotechnology is one of the most rapidly growing targets of R&D funding, but it still accounts for only a small share of total R&D. Between 1997 and 2000, public R&D funding in this area trebled to 293 million dollars in the US, doubled to 210 million dollars in the EU and doubled to 190 million dollars in Japan.
OECD Scoreboard:,2340,en_2649_33703_16683413_1_1_1_1,00.html 3. Open Access to Scientific Knowledge
Representatives of some of Europe's leading research institutes signed a declaration on 22 October, pledging to promote greater dissemination of scientific knowledge and human reflection via the Internet.
Signed by research organisations from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Norway, the 'Berlin declaration on open access to knowledge in sciences and humanities' advocates better use of the Internet as a tool for dissemination, stating that for the first time ever, the Internet offers the possibility of making knowledge universally accessible.
'The Internet has fundamentally changed the practical and economic realities of distributing scientific knowledge and cultural heritage. [It] now offers the chance to constitute a global and interactive representation of human knowledge, including cultural heritage and the guarantee of worldwide access,' states the declaration. However, the declaration claims that the development of a viable dissemination procedure will necessitate a huge amount of support and commitment from 'each and every individual producer of scientific knowledge and holder of cultural heritage', given the significant repercussions that the Internet will have on the nature of scientific publishing, as well as the existing system of quality assurance.
For their part, the signatories will support progress in this area by encouraging their researchers and grant recipients to publish their work according to the principles of the 'open access paradigm'. In order to maintain the standards of quality assurance and good scientific practice, the signatories will also develop methods to evaluate open access contributions and online journals, and promote the merit of contributions to an open access infrastructure by software tool development, content provision, metadata creation, or the publication of individual articles.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Commission Calls for Better enforcement of Road Safety Rules
The Commission proposed this week a package of measures aiming at improving road safety through a better enforcement of road safety rules. The package includes a proposal to update and enhance existing common rules for standard checking procedures in the professional road transport sector as well as a recommendation to Member States on enforcement of road safety measures. Best practise experiences show that if traffic rules were thoroughly checked and sanctioned, more than 14 000 lives could be saved and 680 000 injuries avoided on European roads each year. Proper enforcement of traffic rules combining checks of compliance and appropriate sanctions for violations, especially when combined with publicity campaigns on such enforcement actions, is therefore key to the prevention and reduction of road accidents.
The Commission commits itself to propose measures of a more binding nature at a later stage, should data submitted by Member States show that measures taken so far prove insufficient to achieve the Union's objective of halving the number of road deaths by 2010.
Commission Press Release number IP/03/1436 of 22 October 2003, available at: Agreement on Monitoring Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The Commission welcomed the vote on Tuesday 21 October in the European Parliament to approve a Decision of the Parliament and the Council on monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. This Decision implements the EU's commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which aim to curb global warming by reducing emissions of gases that contribute to it. The Decision obliges Member States to monitor and report emissions of greenhouse gases accurately and put in place programmes to reduce them. With this, the EU has the infrastructure necessary to monitor progress, gauge the effectiveness of measures, and achieve reductions.
The Decision replaces the existing Council Decision 93/389/EEC on the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. The Commission proposed this Decision in February 2003. The European Parliament today voted through changes to that proposal on which it had reached agreement with the Member States and which therefore constitute the final Decision on this issue. The Environment Council is expected to approve all of these changes at its next meeting on 27 October. The Decision will enter into force as soon as it bears the signatures of the Presidents of the Parliament and Council.
Commission Press Release number IP/03/1431 of 21 October 2003, available at: EU and Russia Energy Strategies
Round Table discussion on energy strategies was held on 17 October 2003 in Moscow in the context of a two-day EU-Russia Energy Dialogue's Conference on the Comparative Analysis of European and Russian Energy Strategies.
Participants in the Round Table discussions noted common objectives of secure supply and demand of energy, with Russia being a major energy supplier and the EU a net and growing energy importer. The discussions highlighted the growing mutual interdependency and interest of pursuing policy convergence, industrial cooperation, the facilitation of investment, as well as the approximation of technical norms and standards to open up a truly continent-wide energy market.
While recognising that this issue is finally one of suppliers and their clients, participants in the Round Table highlighted that denominating Russia's oil and gas exports in Euros would be a clear signal of the deepening relations between Russia and the EU in the energy sector.
Participants also welcomed the recent EU decision to co-finance a feasibility study of the North European gas pipeline, the progress achieved in resolving the issue of destination clauses in certain long-term gas supply contracts, as well as the European Commission's announcement to launch negotiations with Russia on trade in nuclear materials in January 2004.
Commission Press Release number IP/03/1422 of 21 October 2003, available at: Measures to Protect Workers Exposed to Electro-Magnetic Fields and Waves
The Commission has congratulated the Italian Presidency on securing agreement at the Council meeting of 20 October on legislation designed to protect the health and safety of workers exposed to electromagnetic fields and waves.
The directive applies to all sectors of activity but chiefly concerns workers exposed to a high risk of irradiation. It requires employers to carry out assessments of the risks posed to their employees from electro-magnetic fields, for example from electricity generation, radio and TV broadcasting antennae, mobile phone antennae, radar installations, or large furnaces of the type used in the metal industries. The directive sets out issues that should be covered in this risk assessment, for example certain direct and indirect effects, such as interference with medical equipment e.g. pacemakers, or ignition of flammable objects.
This directive is the third in a package of four health and safety directives designed to protect workers from the risks arising from exposure to physical agents. Directives have already been adopted on noise and vibrations and a fourth on optical radiation will be proposed by the Commission next year.
Commission Press Release number IP/03/1416 of 20 October 2003, available at: EU Research Sparks Revolution in Machine Tools, Robots and Automation
A real renaissance in European manufacturing was the focus of a briefing chaired by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin on 22 October. The briefing was held at the EMO MILANO 2003 Fair in Milan, the world's largest trade event for the machine tools, robots and automation industries which attracted over 1600 exhibitors from 38 countries and 200,000 visitors. It also emphasised the contribution of EU research in support of the European manufacturing industry.
Currently, Europe provides for 52% of the world-wide value of machine tool production, while Japan scores 20%, China 9.6% and the US 6.1%. The Commission presented key research projects in this field, such as the MANTYS network to encourage cross-sector innovation and technology transfer in manufacturing, ECOSYSTEMS to produce environment-friendly components, and MACH 21 to foster the development of „parallel kinematic‰, multitasking machines. Later this year the Commission will present a comprehensive Manufacturing Technology Action Plan (MATAP).
Commission Press Release number IP/03/1434 of 22 October 2003, available at: Action Plan for Promoting Industrial Policy
In view of the upcoming enlargement, the Parliament has adopted a report on industrial policy in which it proposed an action plan focusing on restructuring and innovation.
The Parliament welcomed the Commission's Communication on industrial policy in an enlarged Europe and emphasised that the goal of economic growth and modernization set out by the Lisbon agenda must focus on the backbone of the European economy - its industrial base. It states that especially in light of the upcoming enlargement and the big differences in the industrial fabric between current and new Member States, industrial policy must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The report, drafted by Olga Zrihen (PES, Belgium), highlights that the aim of the EU's industrial policy should be to realise the potential to be derived from expanding the European market to include millions of new consumers, workers and entrepreneurs. At the same time, the necessary adjustments and restructuring must be handled to the best possible effect.
The Parliament therefore proposes an action plan which should focus on the following areas:
- incorporating the aims of industrial policy into all EU policies;
- pursuing sustainable development;
- harmonising national taxation systems that adversely affect the single market;
- strengthening the link between research and industry;
- promoting innovation, also for small and micro-businesses;
- facilitating access to finance for new businesses;
- encompassing the social dialogue;
- incorporating education, training, and skills.
Commission Communication: Fostering Entrepreneurship
The Parliament has adopted an own initiative report, urging Member States to make greater efforts to foster entrepreneurship in Europe.
On 23 October, the Parliament adopted a report drafted by Werner Langen (PPE, Germany), welcoming the Commission's Green Paper as a successful starting point for a wide-ranging debate on the EU's policy with regard to fostering entrepreneurship.
MEPs call upon the Member States to make more intensive use of numerous positive examples from other Member States for their own programmes to promote entrepreneurship. The report urges the Member States to speed up the implementation of the European Charter for Small Enterprises, which was adopted by the European Council in June 2000 in Feira. The report also states that Member States must make greater efforts in the areas of education policy, rules and regulations, cost and time involved in establishing new businesses, provision of risk capital and start-up finance, innovation and technology transfer and tax relief.
The report invites the Commission to adopt an action plan on fostering entrepreneurial activities in Europe by the end of 2003, taking into account the proposals arising from the public debate on the Green Paper.
Green paper:
Draft report: European Parliament Votes on New EU Emissions Rules
The European Parliament yesterday voted by a large majority (458 to 2, with 7 abstentions) to extend the scope of existing rules on emissions from off-road mobile machinery. The proposed amendments seek to curb emissions from train locomotives and boats on inland waterways, and will also impact on building site machinery such as cranes and bulldozers. The goal is a gradual reduction in NOx emissions up to 2014 to bring EU legislation into line with that of the United States. A review of the directive is planned for 2007.
The directive does not apply to machinery already in use, even when the engines have to be replaced - an exemption has also been adopted for machines used widely in the UK to haul open fishing boats up beaches and to launch or recover lifeboats. This is the 1st reading in the co-decision procedure. Efforts have been made to reach a compromise between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, which has resulted in today's vote. If the Council accepts all the amendments adopted today, the directive will be adopted - if not, it must come back to Parliament for a 2nd reading.
European Parliament Briefing of 20/10/2003, available at MEPs Endorse Erasmus Mundus Proposals
The European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on the setting up Erasmus Mundus and increasing the budget to ¯230 million [see EN03:32 and EN03:09 for background]. They hope this figure will be accepted by the Council and that the co-decision procedure can thus be concluded at second reading without going to conciliation. The Council on Education, Youth and Culture next meets on 24 ˆ 25 November 2003.
FURTHER INFORMATION: EU's e-Learning Programme
The European Parliament has agreed to the compromise figure of ¯44 million for the proposed budget for the EU's e-Learning programme. This makes it possible to conclude this co-decision procedure without going to conciliation. This budget has been a source of contention for the EU institutions. The Commission originally proposed a budget of ¯36 million, a figure deemed far too low by the Parliament, which requested ¯54 million. The Council then proposed that the budget be less than that proposed by the Commission. The compromise figure is believed to be acceptable to all parties.
The overall aim of the eLearning programme is to encourage the integration of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) into European education and training systems, thereby improving their quality and accessibility.
FURTHER INFORMATION: European Social Fund - Current and Future Status
On the 22nd October 2003, Odile Quintin, Director General for Employment and Social Affairs briefed journalists on the current observations underway on the European Social Fund (ESF) and some lessons learned to be take forward into development of Agenda 2007, the programme for the EU's new budget framework as of 2007.
Over the current period 2002-6, the ESF will be providing over ¯62 billion, in participation with Member States, with further additions due with the accession of the new Member States. The programme currently accounts for around a third of the total for EU Structural Funds. The focus of ESF is investment in human capital, modernising and reforming EU labour markets, developing people's skills and work potential.
Under mid-term evaluations, national seminars are being launched to exchange views on ESF experiences and differences in each Member State.
The challenges ahead include the ambitious Lisbon Strategy goal for the proposed 25 Member States to achieve full employment by 2010, with some 22 million new jobs to be created. Under-investment in human capital, sizeable employment and poverty differences which are set to increase with accession, and ESF management efficiency are all issues to be addressed.
The Commission's overall cohesion policy will be reviewed under the Third Cohesion Report due at the end of this year, and early in 2004 the Commission and the Member States, existing and new, will meet to exchange views on the role of the ESF with the European Employment Strategy, human capital investment and cohesion policy contexts. The Commission will also publish an initial Financial Framework proposal for the period starting 2007.
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Fecha: viernes, 24 octubre 2003 14:25
Asunto: [Elos] EN03:35 UKRO - European News (24 October 2003)



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