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Brussels, December 4, 2000

Press announcement

Boosting agricultural research in the European Research Area

Keywords: research, agriculture, European research area (ERA)

On 5-6 December in Versailles, a conference organised by the French presidency of the Union and the Commission will provide an overview of the future of agriculture in Europe and how research can help shape its development.

Journalists are invited to attend the final round table and the closing session on 6 December from 14.00. A press point will be held at 16.30 with Mr Busquin, Commissioner for Research, Mr Schwartzenberg, French Minister for Research, and Mrs Bladh, Swedish Secretary of State, Ministry of Education and Science.

Agriculture is fundamental to European culture, history and economy. Farmers are the custodians of our countryside and are ultimately responsible for the food that we eat. From a socio-economic point of view agriculture and forestry account for 80% of the EU territory, and 17 million jobs, with an annual production of EUR 220 billion. Exports of agriculture, food and drink, and forestry are worth about EUR 50 billion per year. The common agricultural policy (CAP) accounts for almost 50% of the Community budget and has sustainability at its core.

Mr Busquin said that “Agriculture is an area which can substantially benefit from the ideas of the European Research Area, which are about promoting co-operation and co-ordination of research activities, at all levels. This objective is particularly relevant in agriculture as research is too fragmented while inter-disciplinarity is more and more required”. The ERA can provide the agricultural and food sectors in Europe with a significant added value. In this context, the conference is aimed at identifying future European agricultural research activities and in suggesting ways to develop the ERA in this sector. Reports prepared by European experts have laid the groundwork for this conference.

For additional information:

Stephane Hogan, Quality of Life programme, Research DG
Tel : +32.2.296.29.65, E-mail : Research Contact

Michel Claessens, Communication Unit, Research DG
Tel : +32-2-295.99.71, E-mail: michel.claessens@ec.europa.eu

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PRESS RELEASES | 04.12.2000