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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
The Competitiveness Council’s debates focus on the 7th Research Framework Programme

Date of release : 18-04-2005

Policy area : Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research) Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research)

Event : Competitiveness Council

At the end of the Competitiveness Council meeting, held on 18 April 2005 in Luxembourg, François Biltgen, Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research, summarized the work of the Research Ministers:

"An initial exchange of views in a public debate took place on the 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013). This framework programme, introduced by the Commission on 6 April 2005, should take effect on 1 January 2007. We had many informal contacts – the Presidency of and the Commission – with the European Parliament, whose positive attitude I would like to note for adopting the roadmap."

The programme under the Luxembourg Presidency is as follows: We want to have a policy debate during our Competitiveness Council meeting of 6 June 2005, to be held here in Luxembourg. To prepare for this policy debate, we used a two-stage process: last night, at an informal dinner of the Research Ministers, we discussed the European Research Council. This idea was controversial in the past, particularly with regard to its autonomy and the fact that it should be guided by scientists. We found that there was a widespread consensus to move in that direction. Of course, there are still details to be discussed. Next we talked about Europe’s attractiveness for researchers. We do not have enough researchers, and I think that this signal that we will send by creating the European Research Council will be very important to show the scientific world that we believe in science in Europe and that we want to give scientists a chance."

On the subject of human resources in research and development, the Minister stated: "The Council unanimously adopted the conclusions, which recognise the risks of a shortage of researchers. We stressed the necessity of preparing consistent integrated human resources strategies focusing on four main themes: financing for training and the development of research as a career, improving the career outlook for researchers, promoting equality between men and women in science, and improving the general environment for researchers in Europe. In this context, we warmly welcomed the Commission’s recommendation of 11 March 2005 on the European charter for researchers and a code of conduct for recruiting researchers. We also were satisfied with the working document from the Commission staff of 11 March 2005 entitled "Women and Science: Excellence and Innovation – Gender Equality in Science," and the 2004 report from the Commission on the implementation of the strategy to promote mobility in the European Research Area (ERA)."

The Minister concluded that, among the invitations the Council has issued in this context to the Member States, there is "the long-term objective of arriving at a European average of 25% of positions being occupied by women in this sector."

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