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Improving the Quality of Life

What else is the EU doing?

The Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources programme provides the scientific and technological backdrop to several key areas of EU policy, including agriculture, fisheries, environmental and consumer protection, health and industry.


Health, Food and Consumer Protection
The Maastricht treaty permitted the EU to implement a structured strategy on public health, so that the European Commission now runs a range of specific public health action programmes focusing on cancer, AIDS, drug abuse, health promotion and more. One of the three main objectives of the Commission's Consumer Policy Action Plan for 1999-2001 is to ensure a high level of health and safety for Europe's consumers. The work focuses explicitly on using the best scientific advice when shaping policy. Since a guaranteed supply of high quality food is fundamental to the quality of life, food safety is a high priority in consumer protection.
The EU has in fact played a major role in guaranteeing Europe's self-sufficiency in food production for many years. Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), for example, is one of the Commission's biggest budgets. Life science research will help the CAP face the challenges of simultaneously guaranteeing sufficient production of high-quality agricultural goods, protecting the environment and ensuring proper management of rural areas.
Similarly, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) calls on European and national research activities to ensure that Europe's precious marine resources are exploited sustainably.

The Amsterdam Treaty represented a breakthrough in addressing environmental issues at the European level, enshrining sustainable development as one of the EU's tasks. The Commission's overall environmental policy is to achieve sustainability - to meet our generation's needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It is underpinned by two major principles:

  • integrating the environmental dimension into all major policy areas. Five sectors - industry, energy, transport, agriculture and tourism - are specifically targeted;
  • replacing the command-and-control approach with a sharing of responsibility between the various actors - governments, industry and the public.

Industrial Competitiveness
Like information and communication technologies, biotechnology has become one of the driving forces fuelling economic growth and job creation. It can only fulfil its promise, however, if all industrial sectors can access and adopt its techniques.
That requires much more than science and technology - European industry must become more innovative, and requires better support from the financial sector. The Action Plan for Innovation in Europe was therefore established to help Europe foster an innovation culture, reform the legal, regulatory and financial framework and ensure that European scientific excellence is more easily translated into industrial and commercial success. The plan sets out priorities and activities to be undertaken at every level - European, national and regional. Progress at the European level has included new initiatives in areas such as reforming Europe's intellectual property system, attracting venture capital towards small, high-tech projects and reducing the administrative burden on the creation of new businesses.

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