Articles taggés avec ‘Viviane Reding’

EU Funding: Commission proposes to Member States to jointly address major societal challenges

Mardi 15 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.

Climate change, diseases, or energy are societal challenges shared by all EU countries

National research, which currently makes up 85% of all European public research funding, will have more impact if Member States pool their resources and better coordinate their efforts. The European Commission today proposed that Member States adopt a new approach of “Joint Programming”. It aims at tackling current compartmentalisation which undermines the efficiency of Europe’s research.

The Communication adopted today by the Commission “Towards Joint Programming in Research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively” proposes that Member States first identify a limited number of key challenges on which to focus their efforts, and then, agree on a common vision, develop and implement a Strategic Research Agenda for each area.

The Communication stresses that Joint Programming will be a voluntary process and need not involve all Member States in each specific initiative. It can relate to the coordination of existing national programmes, or the setting up of entirely new ones, pooling resources and collectively monitoring and reviewing progress. The Commission’s role is that of a facilitator and the implementation may or not may involve Community financing. If the EU Council of Ministers agrees with the proposal, Joint Programming Initiatives should be underway by 2010.

The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan and the foreseen Marine Research Strategy provide pilot experiences for this initiative.


The Communication is one of five policy initiatives planned by the Commission to follow up the 2007 Green Paper “The European Research Area: New Perspectives” and is a further step in the creation of the “fifth freedom” by removing barriers to the free movement of knowledge.

Press room - European Commission

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EU Funding: EURAXESS: Putting researchers on the road to success

Lundi 30 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants and individual fellowships to allow researchers to enrich their career by mobility experience, abroad or in other sectors

The European Commission is making it easier than ever before for researchers to increase their employment opportunities and network with other researchers and organisations with the launch of the EURAXESS web portal

To stay ahead of the competition, the EU needs to further cement itself as a leader in scientific research. While opportunities exist in Europe for researchers, these often gets drowned out in the ‘noise’ of other events or lost in a plethora of web sites.

This sentiment was mirrored by the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik who made the importance of EURAXESS quite clear.

EURAXESS provides a single access point to information and support services. This portal assists researchers and their families in moving to and pursuing careers in another Member State.

The EURAXESS web portal offers four initiatives focussing on jobs, services, rights and links.

EURAXESS Jobs takes over from the former European Researcher’s Mobility Portal, and operates as a recruitment tool which will be constantly updated with job vacancies for researchers throughout Europe.

EURAXESS Services, formerly the ERA-MORE Network, helps researchers and their family to organise their stay in a foreign country. EURAXESS Rights sets out the rights and duties of researchers and their employers; this is based on the European Charter and Code. Finally, the EURAXESS Links service, formerly ERA-Link, is a networking tool for European researchers working outside Europe.

Also at the launch was Philippe Busquin, Member of the European Parliament and former EU Research Commissioner. He joined Janez Potocnik and research partners from across Europe to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the European Researcher’s Mobility Portal which is embedded in the new EURAXESS Web Portal.


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EU Funding: IST research in Europe: good, but could do better

Vendredi 27 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 6th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration aimed at creating the European Research Area
 Grants for the development of both hardware and software technologies and applications at the heart of the creation of the Information Society
 Individual grants for training and career development of researchers
 Grants for research projects to develop products, service and process innovation and creativity through the use of ICT for citizens, businesses, industry and governments

EU funding for information society technologies (IST) research under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) has helped make Europe a world leader in a number of key areas, including high-speed networking and nano-electronics. Nevertheless, systemic changes are urgently needed to remove the remaining barriers to innovation which are preventing the full exploitation of research results

This is the key message from a new report on the effectiveness of information society research under FP6. The report, entitled ‘Information society research and innovation: delivering results with sustained impact’, was written by a panel of six experts chaired by former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho. The experts’ aim was to analyse how EU research spending could be improved in order to boost Europe’s competitiveness. The report was presented to the EU’s Information Society Commissioner, Viviane Reding, who said it should serve as ‘a wake-up call’ for policy makers responsible for economic and research policy and budgetary rules.

On a positive note, the report notes that much of the IST research carried out under FP6 would probably not have happened without EU funding. Furthermore, many of the researchers brought together in these EU-funded projects have remained in close contact, forming long-lasting, pan-European networks.

In addition to high-speed networking and nano-electronics, areas where EU investments have reinforced European leadership include mobile communications, advanced robotics, quantum communications and complex systems, the report states.

Among other things, Mr Aho and his colleagues call for greater synergies with venture capital investment, regional innovation strategies and public procurement procedures. The experts also recommend that public-private partnerships such as the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) be consolidated.

Another recommendation concerns international research cooperation. ‘If the best researchers from around the world participate in the framework programme, it will also become more attractive for the best European researchers,’ the report reads.

The report recommends that participation from both developing and industrialised non-European countries be encouraged.

The experts also warn against trying to become a world leader in every area. Instead Europe should focus its research effort areas where it already has an advantage and where Europe has the opportunity to take the lead. Furthermore, the work programme should remain flexible, so that it can take into account the latest developments and challenges.

‘The Aho Report has rightly concluded that the effectiveness of Europe’s high-tech research is too often stifled by red tape, a lack of venture capital and a risk averse mentality in both national and European administrations,’ commented Mrs Reding. ‘The consequences to be drawn from the Aho Report will have to be discussed intensely by the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and also the European Commission itself under the forthcoming French Presidency.’

Mrs Reding pledged to address the issues raised by the report in a Communication to the European Parliament and Council in autumn this year.

Between 2003 and 2006, the EU invested over €4 billion in information society research; during the same period, the Member States and private companies spent some €100 billion. In the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) theme has a total budget of €9.1 billion, more than any other theme.


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EU Funding: Lower charges, greater consistency, more competition: Commission consults on bringing down mobile phone tariffs in Europe

Jeudi 26 juin 2008

Aiming to spur competition among operators and lower phone charges for European consumers, the Commission today starts a public consultation on the future regulation of “voice call termination rates” in the EU based on a draft Commission Recommendation on termination rates

Voice call termination rates are the wholesale tariffs charged by the operator of a customer receiving a phone call to the operator of the caller’s network. Included in everyone’s phone bill, and therefore eventually paid by the consumer, these tariffs are determined by the intervention of national telecoms regulators. At the moment the decisions of the national telecoms regulators result in very divergent rates across the EU. Mobile termination rates range from €0.02/min (in Cyprus) to over €0.18/min (in Bulgaria) and are 9 times higher than fixed line termination rates (on average €0.0057/min for local call termination). This distorts competition between operators from different countries and between fixed line and mobile phone operators. The public consultation on this proposal will be open until 3 September 2008.

The Commission, after assessing over 770 regulatory proposals by national regulators over the past 5 years, warned today that price regulation of termination markets across Europe lacks consistency. It said that gaps between fixed and mobile termination rates and between mobile termination rates imposed by national regulators cannot be altogether justified by differences in the underlying costs, networks or national characteristics. This could have the following negative effects:

* Legal uncertainty and increased regulatory burden for operators providing cross-border services.
* National regulators bringing down mobile termination rates in their country risk punishing their own mobile industry if a neighbouring regulator still allows higher rates.
* Investment in new networks and services hampered if operators face different regulation in every country.

At present, fixed operators and their customers are indirectly subsidising mobile operators by paying higher termination rates for calls made from fixed lines to mobiles. This cross-subsidisation is estimated at €10 billion in Germany for 1998-2006 (WIK Consult) and €19 billion in the UK, Germany and France for 1998-2002 (CERNA-Warwick-WIK).

The Commission today presented a draft Recommendation for convergence of termination rates in Europe, including clear principles on which cost elements should be taken into account when national telecoms regulators determine termination rates, an efficient costing methodology, and symmetric regulation (where the same price caps apply, within a country, to mobile and fixed operators, respectively). This will help foster an effective regulatory environment and avoid distortions such as cross-subsidies from fixed to mobile consumers. The advice of the European Regulators Group (ERG), which has made several attempts towards more consistent regulation of termination rates since 2006, was taken into account by the Commission in the draft Recommendation.


The Commission will issue the final text of the Recommendation on the regulatory treatment of fixed and mobile termination rates in October under article 19 of the Framework Directive of the EU Telecom rules, which allows the Commission to further harmonise the application of EU Telecoms rules in the single market to promote competition and consumer benefits. Member States have to ensure that national regulators take “the utmost account” of Commission Recommendations.

Press room - European Commission

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EU funding: Commission’s lobby register: it’s time to sign up

Lundi 23 juin 2008

The European Commission launched today its online register of interest representatives.

All interest representatives engaged in influencing the policy formulation and decision-making processes of the European institutions are invited to register. When registering, they will be asked to disclose some information to enhance the transparency of the relations between lobbies and the Commission.

Organisations that sign up to the register will have to indicate who they are, what their objectives and missions are and what policy areas they are particularly interested in. Furthermore, they can describe their main activities of interest representation as well as their networking efforts. Registrants will also have to disclose financial information, so that the driving forces behind a lobbying effort become clear. Organisations lobbying on behalf of third parties will have to indicate the names of their clients.

When registering, interest representatives must sign up to a code of conduct which has been adopted by the European Commission. It sets out general principles — such as openness, honesty and integrity — which should guide the activities of interest representatives when they are dealing with the European Commission. The code also formulates seven clear rules of behaviour that interest representatives are expected to respect.

Press Room - European Commission

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