Friday, 29 April 2011

Hungarian EU Council presidency: Innovation (Future Perfect)

Third time lucky? Our third informal ministerial ”competitiveness” meeting arranged by the Hungarian EU Council presidency seems to unearth a rich vein of precious ore, especially for those who are interested in research, development and innovation (RDI).

Europe 2020 growth strategy

Competitiveness in and of Europe depends on growth-enhancing reforms in line with the Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020) for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (although we still hope for updates) and the relaunch of the Single Market (link to all Single Market Act SMA language versions).

Informal Council meetings

Therefore, we looked at how the Hungarian presidency of the Council of the European Union communicated on relevant informal meetings of the Council. First, we searched for the press releases related to the 16 to 18 January 2011 meeting of employment ministers (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affaris EPSCO). Then, we found richer and better structured pickings from the gathering of ministers for transport (Transport, Telecommunications and Energy TTE) on 7 and 8 February 2011.

Competitiveness Council

Our third informal meeting brings us into contact with the Competitiveness Council (internal market, industry, research and space). As usual, the related press releases on the Consilium website contain official Council conclusions.

Hungarian EU Council presidency

If we use the search functions on the Hungarian presidency page News and events, filtering down between 11 and 13 April 2011, as well as the Council formation Competitiveness (COMP), we find some interesting items.

Innovation (RDI)

The press release 'Ministerial debate on innovation reform' gives us an account of efforts to intensify European efforts in the areas of research, development and innovation (RDI), including the need to simplify the European research framework programme(s). The new member states in Central Europe lag far behind as recipients of EU research funding.

In the margin of the web page, we find a number of helpful links to additional resources, reminding us of the well structured and high quality web communications of the Swedish EU Council presidency in 2009.

Future Perfect

We find a solid introductory presentation of RDI policies in the European Union:

Future Perfect – Discussion Paper for the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Research (Competitiveness Council); Budapest – Gödöllö, Hungary, 12 April 2011 (45 pages)

Future Perfect contains four interesting chapters on the RDI challenges facing Europe:

1. Introduction
2. Research, development and innovation in the EU
3. New directions for EU research, development and innovation funding
4. The contribution and potential of Hungarian innovation

The aims of the discussion paper are presented like this:

The purpose of this document is to set out an agenda for discussion and to provide an overview of the most recent offi cial papers and draft reports concerning the fi elds of research, development and innovation in the EU. The four themes which have been identifi ed are:

• Unleashing Innovation
• Addressing the Grand Challenges
• Strengthening Europe’s Science Base
• Spreading Excellence

Future Perfect is highly recommended as an overview for everyone engaged in RDI issues in Europe.


We return to the informal EU meeting(s) of research and industry ministers in future blog entries.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. The Spanish journalist Macarena Rodríguez writes one of the top Euroblogs: La Oreja de Europa. Follow her on Twitter as well @MacarenaRG.