Research, Innovation and Science

First meeting of College with Hungarian Government as Hungary takes over Presidency of the European Council

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"Europe must embrace excellence to compete internationally. It must be our hallmark. That means pooling resources to build excellent infrastructures; awarding funding on the basis of excellence alone.....and making the European Institute of Innovation and Technology a hub for excellence and entrepreneurship."

Budapest, 7 January 2011

Prime Minister Orban, President Barroso, Ministers and colleagues,

Last June the Council endorsed the Europe 2020 Strategy to get the European economy back on track. At its heart is the conviction that we need innovation to get Europe out of the current economic crisis, during which we lost 6 million jobs and 1000 billion euro of annual GDP. On 6 October the Commission adopted one of the main pillars of the Europe 2020 Strategy: the Innovation Union Flagship initiative.

So the Hungarian Presidency comes at a crucial time, as it marks the start of the implementation of the Innovation Union. It will be able to build on the Conclusions from the November Competitiveness Council and, more importantly, from the upcoming February European Council.

Europe really needs a strategic approach to innovation; with our innovation objectives steering policies in other areas such as fiscal policy, education, standardisation or regional policy, for example, requiring a cross sectoral approach in the Presidency, in the Commission, and national administrations. Our strategy should also be steered and monitored at the highest political level. These are the issues we believe the February European Council should concentrate on.