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The European Council of March 2008 called on the Commission and Member States to explore the potential of Joint Programming, asking for joint activities to be launched by 2010. The Commission made proposals to launch such a process in July 2008 in a Communication entitled Towards Joint Programming in Research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively

These proposals were based notably on the results of the public consultation following the Commission Green Paper of April 2007 and on the work of a dedicated expert group mandated by the Commission.

The Council of Ministers endorsed these proposals and agreed to launch the process in December 2008.

In March 2010, the European Commission launched its initiative Europe 2020 – A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and Europe 2020 paper .

As part of the Flagship Initiative: "Innovation Union" the Commission will work towards completing the European Research Area, including seeking to enhance joint programming with Member States and regions.

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