The Swedish Presidency’s R&D priorities: And the winner is…

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

The Swedish EU Presidency should advance Europe’s R&D agenda via a regional-based approach, argues Claus Schultze, director of the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN), in a post on Blogactiv.

According to Schultze, Sweden’s position as “innovation leaders in Europe” leaves the Swedish government well placed to advance Europe’s research and development (R&D) agenda during its six-month term at the helm of the Council, which begins on 1 July. 

Schultze is eager for the EU to foster “regional research and innovation-friendly ecologies” under the Swedish Presidency. He says that successful ecologies are “characterised by their low transaction costs” and should be the key “organising principle and rationale” for the European Research Area (ERA). 

The ERRIN director observes that “there is clearly a continued role for the public sector in developing these ecologies,” adding that the current economic crisis has strengthened the role of government and “raised the stakes of this game”. 

Schultze points out that the Swedes’ main priority is to come up with a European Innovation Plan to contribute to the post-Lisbon Agenda era, as well as to reflect on the size and scope of ERA. 

The ERRIN director is not only “excited” by Sweden’s presidency, but also looking forward to the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies, which he believes will both have a “strong regional focus”. 

He concludes by strongly advocating a more prominent role for reasearch in future allocations of EU structural funding. 

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