International cooperation and the European Research Area (ERA) were on the agenda at an informal meeting of European research ministers organized in Slovenia on Monday (July 19).
Slovenian Education and Science Minister Simona Kustec said policymakers will not go it alone in shaping the new European Research Area. Indeed, the ERA will be the result of collaboration with all stakeholders, in particular researchers and companies.
After the meeting in Brdo pri Kranju, Ms. Kustec stressed the importance of the role of science and research, arguing that these areas have enabled the world to arm itself against Covid-19, thanks to vaccines.
A package of measures has been presented to encourage further research and innovation, including financial, infrastructural and soft measures.
Speaking to reporters, the Slovenian representative said delegations were unanimous. According to her, it is crucial to listen to yourself and share your best practices in order to emerge stronger from the discussions.
« More science and innovation need to be developed, but only in a way that strengthens cooperation», Summarized Mrs Kustec, referring to the introductory memorandum by the President of the European Research Council Jean-Pierre Bourguignon formulated for the ministers present.
The European Commission was represented by the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.
The latter argued that Slovenia held the Presidency of the Council of the EU at a key period for European researchers and the bloc’s general competitiveness, in particular because the EU recently launched Horizon Europe, a framework research project and innovation amounting to 95.5 billion euros.
Ms Gabriel also welcomed the adoption by the European Commission of an innovation and research pact on Friday (July 16); a first common step to mark with a milestone towards the realization of a new European Research Area. The agreement will lay the foundations to facilitate the coordination of European and national policies.
For his part, the Portuguese Minister of Research Manuel Heitor highlighted the need to create an attractive space for young scientists while the German Minister of Education Susanne Burger praised the magnitude of the Horizon Europe project.
Participants in the meeting also included representatives from the Western Balkans and the European Free Trade Association.