In January 2002 the European Commission adopted a Communication setting out a strategic vision of life sciences and biotechnology to enable Europe to develop sustainable and responsible policies to address the following three broad questions:
How can Europe best attract the human, industrial and financial resources necessary to develop and apply life sciences and biotechnology in order to meet society's needs and increase its competitiveness?
How can Europe deliver effective, credible and responsible policies which enjoy the confidence and support of its citizens?
How can Europe best respond to global challenges, develop its domestic policies with a clear international perspective, and act internationally to pursue its interests?
The Commission has proposed a strategy to respond to these challenges in an ethical manner with responsible, science-based and people-centred policies. This strategy sets out a comprehensive roadmap up to 2010 and puts the life sciences and biotechnology sector at the forefront of those frontier technologies, which should move the European Union towards its long-term strategy goal established by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000.
This strategy set by the Commission consists of two parts: policy orientations and a 30-point plan to transform policy into action. It sets out what is needed from the Commission and other European institutions, while also recommending actions for other public and private stakeholders.
The Commission intends to report regularly on the progress made. On 5 March 2003 it adopted its first report highlighting the progress made in implementing the strategy on life sciences and biotechnology. The report described what had been achieved in policy development and on the ground, and anticipated emerging issues. Where additional measures were necessary, it proposed future orientations, issued appropriate recommendations and announced new initiatives.
On 2 June 2004 the Commission adopted a second report stating what has been achieved in policy development and on the ground, and anticipating emerging issues. The report also incorporates to the largest possible extent the elements listed in the roadmap in the conclusions adopted by the Competitiveness Council of 26 November 2002.