Wednesday, 31 December 2008

EU Law: Research and technological development plus space

Space is added to the Title on research and technological development. The EU Treaty of Lisbon picks up some improvements from the Constitutional Treaty: the European research area and the free movement of researchers (fifth freedom).

***


Article 163 TEC


Article 163 TEC (ex Article 130f) sets out the research and technology aims of the European Community (European Union), namely to:

1. strengthen the scientific and technological bases of industry,
2. make industry more competitive internationally and
3. promote other research activities.

The second paragraph of Article 163 TEC presents a rough sketch of activities addressed at businesses, research centres and universities. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are indicated specifically among the businesses (undertakings).

Research and technological development is mentioned alongside actions to open up the potential of the internal market (public procurement, common standards and the removal of legal and fiscal obstacles to cooperation).

The third paragraph presents the new concept ‘demonstration projects’, but otherwise it just refers the reader to the following Articles of the Title.

The current Article 163 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), as published in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E/120:

TITLE XVIII
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

Article 163 TEC

1. The Community shall have the objective of strengthening the scientific and technological bases of Community industry and encouraging it to become more competitive at international level, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of this Treaty.

2. For this purpose the Community shall, throughout the Community, encourage undertakings, including small and medium-sized undertakings, research centres and universities in their research and technological development activities of high quality; it shall support their efforts to cooperate with one another, aiming, notably, at enabling undertakings to exploit the internal market potential to the full, in particular through the opening-up of national public contracts, the definition of common standards and the removal of legal and fiscal obstacles to that cooperation.

3. All Community activities under this Treaty in the area of research and technological development, including demonstration projects, shall be decided on and implemented in accordance with the provisions of this title.



***


Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Article 2, point 135 of the Lisbon Treaty amended the Title and point 136 amended Article 163 TEC (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/85–86):

RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

135) The words ‘AND SPACE’ shall be added to the heading of Title XVIII.

136) Article 163 shall be amended as follows:

(a) paragraph 1 shall be replaced by the following:

‘1. The Union shall have the objective of strengthening its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and encouraging it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of the Treaties.’;

(b) in paragraph 2, the words ‘enabling undertakings to exploit the internal market potential
to the full,’ shall be replaced by ‘permitting researchers to cooperate freely across borders
and at enabling undertakings to exploit the internal market potential to the full,’.



***


Renumbering the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL)

The Table of equivalences of the original Treaty of Lisbon tells us that Title XVIII first became Title XVIII with the addition of space in the TFEU (ToL), and renumbered Title XIX Research and technological development and space in the consolidated version.

Article 163 TEC initially became Article 163 TFEU (ToL) before the renumbering of the treaty made it into Article 179 TFEU in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/217–218).


***


Lisbon Treaty consolidated

Article 179 TFEU

After specific and horizontal amendments the Article 179 TFEU appears like this in the consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/128–129):

TITLE XIX
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND SPACE

Article 179 TFEU
(ex Article 163 TEC)

1. The Union shall have the objective of strengthening its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and encouraging it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of the Treaties.

2. For this purpose the Union shall, throughout the Union, encourage undertakings, including small and medium-sized undertakings, research centres and universities in their research and technological development activities of high quality; it shall support their efforts to cooperate with one another, aiming, notably, at permitting researchers to cooperate freely across borders and at enabling undertakings to exploit the internal market potential to the full, in particular through the opening-up of national public contracts, the definition of common standards and the removal of legal and fiscal obstacles to that cooperation.

3. All Union activities under the Treaties in the area of research and technological development, including demonstration projects, shall be decided on and implemented in accordance with the provisions of this Title.



***

What changes?

We have seen that space was added to the Title, which has been renumbered XIX. This corresponds with the heading of Section 9 in the Constitutional Treaty.

The first paragraph has taken over the substantial part of Article III-248(1) of the Constitution. The European research area and its description as one in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely can be interpreted to enhance the role of science and technology.

The objective of a more competitive (Union or European research area?) is now more general and less tied in with industry alone.

Permitting researchers to cooperate freely across borders adds a new element from Article III-248(2) of the Constitutional Treaty. The European Council has called for this “fifth freedom” – the free movement of researchers – to become a reality.

In my view, the changes mark a positive qualitative step towards recognition of the importance of knowledge and a more ‘global Europe’. Let us leave a dysfunctional EU budget to another year.

***

I wish all the readers of the Grahnlaw blawg a happy, secure and prosperous new year 2009!

Ralf Grahn