Message by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn on the occasion of the EIP event on Active and Healthy Ageing
Brussels - EC/Charlemagne
On the occasion of the first conference of Partners of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing held on 6 November 2012, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Member of the EC in charge of Research, Innovation and Science, presented a video message stressing three issues on how to ensure that the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing be a complete success.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Member of the EC in charge of Research, Innovation and Science, (in ENGLISH): Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sorry that I cannot be with you today in person but I am delighted to have the opportunity to say a few words on the occasion of this groundbreaking conference. First of all, I would like to thank all the participants for their presence in Brussels today and, above all, for their commitment to the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. Thanks to your decisive contribution to its implementation, this major initiative is now taking concrete shape. I am impressed by the outstanding work accomplished since last November when the steering group published its strategic implementation plan identifying six priority areas for immediate action. We had an excellent response to the call for commitments launched by the Commission. The 261 projects and 54 candidatures for reference sites which have been proposed are of very high quality. Spanning the public and private sectors, regions and municipalities, the response shows a real drive in Europe to ensure better lifestyles and higher quality of care as well as of the business opportunities in addressing the needs of our ageing society. The areas addressed including adherence to medication for prevention and integrated care models for chronic disease management are extremely important for reaching our goal of adding two healthy years to the average lifespan of Europeans by 2020.With such ambitious objectives, the multidimensionality of the issues at stake and the many different actors involved, the launch of this European Innovation Partnership has been a really interesting process. It has already generated a lot of innovative thinking, a productive exchange of ideas and lively discussions. I congratulate the members of the six action groups that examined the submissions. Thanks to them, the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing has taken a decisive step forward, moving from idea to reality. The action plans which are presented today will be decisive in transforming blueprints into concrete actions. Now is the time to deliver and I greatly appreciate all of the efforts of the different stakeholders. But how can we ensure that these actions will achieve their objectives and, more broadly, that the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing as a whole will be a complete success? I would like to stress three issues in this respect. The first is the need to act on the demand side as much as on the supply side by removing bottlenecks such as slow standard setting and market fragmentation. National, regional and local authorities have a key role to play here as real implementers of actions if we want the partnership to progress and succeed. Public policies at national, regional and local level on Health, Employment, Research and Innovation, are directly relevant to the challenge of Active and Healthy Ageing. So, I would like to encourage Member States and regions to ensure that they mobilise all the instruments at their disposal including public procurement, pilot initiatives, demonstrations projects, standards and regulation to address this challenge successfully. We are working hard at the European level through innovation union on issues such as procurement and standards to ensure that you have the tools you need to address the challenge. I am convinced that, within this spirit of partnership, we can deliver what we have promised. A smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe in 2020 is within our reach. The second issue I would like to highlight is the link between this European Innovation Partnership and the future Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. Ageing has and will continue to transform our society. We have to prepare for the future to give just some examples within my remit, we need to indentify the gaps and our knowledge, anticipate the possible use of new and experimental technologies and develop new models of social innovation. Horizon 2020 has been designed from the beginning precisely to help bridge the gaps between research, the market and societal needs. It is structured around three distinct yet mutually reinforcing priorities; excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges. Of the overall 80 billion budget proposed for Horizon 2020, 8.5 billion euro is allocated to the theme of health, demographic change and well-being, making at the largest societal challenge addressed by the programme. So, the priority we are giving to the issue of ageing is clear and the challenge approach will allow us to address the issues in a flexible way and with a multidisciplinary approach. This is imperative if we want to make Active and Healthy Ageing not just an objective but a reality in Europe. Thirdly, I would like to highlight the pilot character of the active and healthy ageing initiative. You have paved the way and started to tackle the many barriers hindering innovations. We need to keep the momentum going and continue to integrate innovation into everything we do. At the same time, we also need to plan for the future evaluation of the partnership. The expected results and deliverables must be defined with enough precision and clarity to ensure that we can make a proper evaluation of the achievements. This is important not only for the future of the partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, it is also crucial to the success of the other partnerships. As you know, having drawn inspirations from the first output of this initiative and relying on the experience we have already acquired, the Commission has launched other partnerships in a number of important societal challenges; smart cities, sustainable agriculture, water and raw materials. To a large extent, these partnerships have been modelled on Active and Healthy Ageing and any lessons that we can learn will have a positive influence on the design and implementation of the new partnerships. Together, these five initiatives will demonstrate how we can harness innovation at the European level and on a European scale to tackle our most pressing problems. This conference represents a decisive step forward in that direction. I wish you a stimulating debate and, I and many others, are counting on you to implement the conclusions as quickly as possible. Thank you all for your attention.