Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik has informed the Competitiveness Council of his intention to establish a group of personalities to identify priority actions for the EU to boost its investment in research. The group will be chaired by the former Prime Minister of Finland, Esko Aho, who played a major role in Finland's transformation into a knowledge economy. The group is set to provide recommendations on priorities for R&D activities for the spring summit in March 2006.
The meeting of EU's research ministers on 28-29 November 2005 led to adoption of Council's first formal position on the FP7. In addition to this partial general approach (see EurActiv 13 October 2005), the ministers agreed that a review of the structure of the future European Research Council would take place by 2010. Some member states also made a public declaration on ethical principles in FP7, insisting on the principle of subsidiarity in research, which leaves certain activities to member states to fund - namely the embryonic stem cell research.
The third meeting of the Space Council, a joint meeting of the European Space Agency (ESA) Council at ministerial level and of the EU's Competitiveness Council, confirmed Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) as the second flagship of EU space policy. The ministers discussed the development of an overall GMES co-operation strategy between ESA and the EU, their respective roles and responsibilities and the financial principles that should apply in funding GMES.
As to the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), Commission's Vice-President Günter Verheugen explained the complementarity between FP7 and CIP: CIP will create the conditions that enable innovation, whereas FP7 will support research in particular areas. "The added value of CIP in relation to FP7 is in its concentration on innovation and its understanding that innovation is a process that is close to the market and therefore undertaken by enterprises," he said.