ERA GOVERNANCE: LJUBLJANA PROCESS
The Ljubljana Process is an enhanced partnership between the Member States, associated countries, stakeholders and the Commission to make European research more effective.
The Ljubljana Process was launched in May 2008 with two clear goals: "Europe now needs to develop a common vision and effective governance of the European Research Area".
But developing a common vision and enhanced governance are only a means to allow more effective coordinated action to tackle Europe's common challenges in a more comprehensive way.
The recently launched ERA initiatives aim to ensure rapid progress in a number of key areas with the potential to deliver significant gains for Europe's research system.
The ultimate aim of the Ljubljana Process is to establish "the fundamental role of ERA as a primary pillar for the Lisbon objectives and as an engine for driving the competitiveness of Europe".
The adoption on 2 December 2008 of the European Research Area Vision 2020 by the Council marks a key milestone in the Ljubljana Process. The future Presidencies will be working towards agreement on an implementation plan for the ERA Vision 2020 and on the governance of the ERA
In its Resolution of 7 December 2009 on enhanced governance of the ERA the Council has invited the Commission to continue and further develop systematic and structured consultations with Member States and other relevant stakeholders in a transparent manner and has launched the process of redefining the mission of CREST.
From the beginnings of the development of Community research policy it has been recognised that it should be based on two pillars: the coordination of national policies and the joint implementation of projects of interest to the Community.
This principle is integrated into Article 181 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:
- The Community and the Member States shall coordinate their research and technological development activities so as to ensure that national policies and Community policy are mutually consistent.
- In close cooperation with the Member State, the Commission may take any useful initiative to promote the coordination referred to in paragraph 1.
The Commission produced a Green Paper in 2007, The European Research Area: New Perspectives. The debate which followed reconfirmed that many of the main challenges and opportunities for fully realising the ERA, as well as the resources and levers to address them, are to be found at the national, regional or institutional level. A genuine European Research Area will only be fully realised if the Member States, stakeholders and the Commission work together in partnership, with each accepting their responsibility for making it happen.
There was therefore a renewed debate in 2008 on developing an enhanced partnership between the Member States, associated countries, stakeholders and the Commission. The Key Issues Paper submitted by the Competitiveness Council of 25 February 2008 to the Spring European Council stated that: "Member States and the Commission are invited to deepen their dialogue and expand their cooperation, in order to ensure better governance, coordinated implementation of actions and other relevant policies on a voluntary basis throughout the European Research Area".
The Spring European Council on 14 March 2008 subsequently called for a deepening of the Lisbon Partnership and invited Member States to set out in their National Reform Programmes "…how their R&D strategies will contribute to the realising and better governance of the European Research Area".
Following discussions at the Brno Informal Meeting of Ministers for Competitiveness on 14 April 2008 the "Ljubljana Process" was launched at the Competitiveness Council on 30 May 2008. A joint declaration from the Presidency "Trio" of France, Czech Republic, and Sweden accompanying the Conclusions on the Ljubljana Process set out their commitment to taking forward this process.