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The European Research Area-open to the world

Many of us are concerned about global problems of dwindling resources, increasing pollution and the challenge of population growth. Back in 1992 the Rio Earth Summit set an ambitious sustainability agenda to which Europe continues to be fully committed. Science and technology have already made an outstanding contribution to socio-economic development in Europe and elsewhere. Indeed, science has always been an international endeavour. But today its international dimension is more important than ever for the transition towards sustainable development and shared prosperity.

Europe has a long-standing successful tradition of scientific and technological co-operation with partners in four regions, who strive to benefit from research co-operation for their own development: those 'pre-accession' countries about to join the European Union, other central and eastern European states and New Independent States, our Mediterranean partners and developing countries. At the same time, European scientists benefit from the knowledge and learning they acquire in different parts of our shared planet.

In June 2000, Heads of State and Government meeting in Lisbon approved the concept of the European Research Area, proposed at my initiative by the European Commission in January. This is now acting as an engine for greater integration and improved synergies of policies, programmes and schemes of all relevant actors in Europe. The international dimension of the European Research Area is the fundamental lever for lifting the existing scientific relations with the four regions into a higher gear. This calls for sustained dialogue with our partners and strengthened synergies with other policy areas, including foreign affairs, trade, development and environment. We must continue to strive to break down the bureaucratic barriers and make this new European Research Area an opportunity for scientific progress for the benefit of Europe and for the rest of the world.

 

Philippe Busquin      
Member of the European Commission      
in charge of Research
     

 

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Confirming the international role of community research