Thursday, 1 January 2009

EU Law: Research activities

Research and technological development within the European research area is crucial if the European Union wants to realise the Lisbon strategy aim to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, ever (even if not by 2010 as originally proclaimed).

The treaties form the legal framework for all EU activities. Consequently EU law is the first stop before moving on to EU policies, here research.

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Article 164 TEC


Article 163 TEC (ex Article 130f) set 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 presented a rough sketch of activities addressed at businesses, research centres and universities. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were indicated specifically among the businesses (undertakings).

Research and technological development was 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 presented the new concept ‘demonstration projects’, but otherwise it just referred the reader to the following Articles of the Title.

Article 164 TEC builds on the preceding Article by presenting more concrete activities to achieve the objectives. The Community activities complement the activities in the member states.

Community research activities, namely to:

1. implement research, technological development and demonstration programmes,
2. promote international cooperation,
3. disseminate and optimise research results, and
4. stimulate training and mobility of researchers.

The current Article 164 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/120–121:

(TITLE XVIII
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT)

Article 164 TEC

In pursuing these objectives, the Community shall carry out the following activities, complementing the activities carried out in the Member States:

(a) implementation of research, technological development and demonstration programmes, by promoting cooperation with and between undertakings, research centres and universities;

(b) promotion of cooperation in the field of Community research, technological development and demonstration with third countries and international organisations;

(c) dissemination and optimisation of the results of activities in Community research, technological development and demonstration;

(d) stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers in the Community.



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Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Article 2, point 136 of the Lisbon Treaty amended Article 163 TEC and point 137 concerns Article 165 (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/85–86).

Article 164 TEC was not amended specifically.


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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 164 TEC initially became Article 164 TFEU (ToL) before the renumbering of the treaty made it into Article 180 TFEU in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/217–218).


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Lisbon Treaty consolidated

Article 180 TFEU

Without specific amendments, but after the horizontal amendment replaces the Community by the Union and the Article has been renumbered, Article 180 TFEU appears like this in the consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/129):

(TITLE XIX
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND SPACE)

Article 180 TFEU
(ex Article 164 TEC)

In pursuing these objectives, the Union shall carry out the following activities, complementing the activities carried out in the Member States:

(a) implementation of research, technological development and demonstration programmes, by promoting cooperation with and between undertakings, research centres and universities;

(b) promotion of cooperation in the field of Union research, technological development and demonstration with third countries and international organisations;

(c) dissemination and optimisation of the results of activities in Union research, technological development and demonstration;

(d) stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers in the Union.


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Did anything change?

Article 180 TFEU did not change the activities to undertake at EU level, but their future contents may as a result of the European research area evoked among the objectives in the preceding Article.

Not to raise premature hopes(?), the member states’ governments had added a damp squib Declaration on Article 179 TFEU on the research objectives:

34. Declaration on Article 179 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

The Conference agrees that the Union's action in the area of research and technological development will pay due respect to the fundamental orientations and choices of the research policies of the Member States.


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EU research competence

In the general ordering of European Union competence, the Lisbon Treaty deals with research in under shared competence, but with a particular twist. Article 4(3) TFEU states:

3. In the areas of research, technological development and space, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities, in particular to define and implement programmes; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs.


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Community research legislation

The Commission’s web page Research and innovation serves as a portal to summaries of EC (EU) legislation:

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s23000.htm


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Commission research activities

The Commission’s Directorate-General Research offers news, information and links to research activities on:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm


Ralf Grahn