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Competitiveness Council Discusses EU Space, Research and Innovation Programmes

Credits: European union

EU ministers responsible for research and space convened in Brussels on Friday 29 November for the latest Competitiveness Council meeting. The meeting was chaired by Finnish Minister for Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni. The Council adopted conclusions on space solutions for a sustainable Arctic and the updated EU bioeconomy strategy and made progress in the preparation of EU research and innovation programmes.

The Council adopted conclusions on how to ensure a sustainable Arctic. The conclusions stress the importance of the European space infrastructure for monitoring the Arctic environment and for Arctic transport and economic operations.

Ministers also discussed ways of fostering a sustainable space economy. The discussions underlined the growing importance of space for Europe’s competitiveness and sustainable development. Ministers also stressed the need for Europe to play a leading role internationally in promoting a responsible space economy.

Minister Kulmuni said: “Space technology, data and services create new business opportunities to support renewal and sustainable growth in other sectors.”

Ministers agreed on a partial general approach on a number of the recitals of the Horizon Europe regulation and on synergies between Horizon Europe and other EU programmes.

Minister Kulmuni said: “The Horizon Europe programme plays a key role in strengthening the EU’s competitiveness and transitioning to a climate-neutral and digital economy. This will speed up the utilisation of research results and innovations to contribute to sustainable growth.”

Ministers also discussed how the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) could promote European innovations and partnerships. The ministers agreed on a partial general approach concerning the draft regulation on the EIT. The discussion on the new Strategic Innovation Agenda for the EIT, which supplements the EIT regulation, will continue in December.

Dialogue on the Euratom research programme for nuclear research and training will be continued next year under the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Council also adopted conclusions on the updated EU bioeconomy strategy.

Minister Kulmuni said: “Bioeconomy supports industrial renewal, modernises primary production, reinforces environmental protection and strengthens biodiversity. The actions set out in the updated bioeconomy strategy will enhance the sustainable use of natural resources.”

Over lunch, ministers discussed the contribution of Horizon Europe to attracting private research and development investments to further support sustainable growth.

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