The Slovenia Times

EU research ministers agree on new ERA management

Daily news

Brussels - EU ministers in charge of research adopted on Friday conclusions on new governance of the European Research Area (ERA) and a three-year action plan, which Slovenian Minister Simona Kustec hailed as an important milestone for European science and a major achievement of Slovenia's EU presidency.

The action plan features 20 activities to implement the set goals effectively. Member states also committed to a set of common EU principles and values, priority areas for action, and to investments and reforms as they adopted a Council recommendation on the Pact for Research and Innovation.

"Today is a big day for European science. The adoption of a new ERA is an important milestone for science, and at the same time an outstanding achievement of the Slovenian presidency," said the Slovenian minister of education, science and sport, who chaired today's session of the Council for Competitiveness.

"With the new manner of governance and the adoption of the action pan, we will make research and innovation more efficient, enable faster response to society's key challenges and greater impact for EU citizens," she added.

Commissioner for Innovation, Research and Education Mariya Gabriel praised the modernised ERA as vital to Europe's future of research and innovation while labelling the decisions on the ERA and the pact as "the foundation stone of the future".

She stressed the role of investment in research and innovation as efforts are being made to address economic, climate and social challenges.

She noted there are funds available to finance them as part of the EU's recovery and resilience facility and national recovery plans.

The commissioner is moreover happy that EU member states are determined to reach the goal of earmarking 3% of their GDP to research and innovation.

The modernised ERA as one of Slovenia's EU presidency's main priorities introduces inclusion of stakeholders at systemic level for the first time.

This will enhance closer links of researchers and innovators with industry and other sectors to improve the EU's global competitiveness, the Slovenian presidency said.

The ministers also discussed the role of research and innovation in achievement of goals from the Fit for 55 package and the New European Bauhaus initiative.

As part of the Competitiveness Council, ministers in charge of space were also in session today, discussing long-term sustainable development and financing of "New Space".

They adopted the "Space for Everyone" conclusions to highlight the importance of equal participation of stakeholders from all member states in the space sector and to promote strengthening of cooperation between the space sector and others.

Kustec also chaired this session, standing in for Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek.

The conclusions are intended to convey the message that the EU should promote pragmatic solutions to step up the development of space ecosystems in member states through existing space policies and programmes such as CASSINI or Horizon Europe," Kustec said as quoted by her ministry.

According to the ministers, the importance of space for Europe's competitiveness is getting increasingly greater, as space facilitates economic growth, delivering benefits across the board.

"Until recently the development of the space sector had been mainly driven by institutional markets. But we must be aware that new players and new users are playing an increasingly important role in the so-called New Space, and other sectors and actors are entering the field as well. This raises questions, for example, about the possible effects of the increasing number of satellites being launched into space by New Space stakeholders," Kustec said.

She presented an initiative by Slovenia in its role of the EU presiding country for secure connectivity as a third flagship project alongside Galileo and Copernicus. Through this initiative, Slovenia aims to ensure broadband access for all and resilient communication for government users, as well as for specific sectors such as finance, energy and transport.

Moreover, the initiative includes a strategic aspect on digital sovereignty and strategic partnerships, as it would also cover the Arctic region and Africa.


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