18. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Communication from the Commission: More research for Europe, towards 3% of GDP
|Document originated:||13 September 2002
|Deposited in Parliament:
||27 September 2002|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 15 October|
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||15 November 2002|
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
18.1 The Lisbon European Council of March 2000 called
for the EU to become "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based
economy in the world" by 2010. In that context the Barcelona
European Council of March 2002 set a target for EU expenditure
on research and development (R&D) of 'approaching 3%' of GDP
by 2010, compared with 1.9% in 2000.
18.2 The Commission's Communication is designed to stimulate
debate on achieving this target. The Commission estimates that
the annual gap between the EU and its foremost competitor, the
USA, in expenditure on R&D is in excess of euro120 billion
(about £73 billion)and that 80% of that gap is because of
lower R&D investment by businesses in Europe.
18.3 The Commission suggests three areas for action.
The first is strengthening the framework for R&D, looking
at matters including:
- the availability of highly qualified people;
- a strong public research base with good links to industry;
- a dynamic R&D entrepreneurial culture;
- effective system of intellectual property rights;
- legislation conducive to research and innovation;
- supportive financial markets; and
- favourable fiscal conditions and macro-economic stability.
Secondly, the need for more effective public financing of private
enterprise R&D is examined. And lastly the need to embed R&D
in the business strategies of companies and ensure the effectiveness
of such R&D is emphasised.
18.4 The document includes a Commission staff working
paper which makes a statistical and comparative analysis of R&D
18.5 The Commission notes that the variety of situations
in Member States and candidate countries calls for differentiated
policies. In the light of reaction to the document the Commission
will consider proposing priorities in spring 2003.
The Government's view
18.6 The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Ruth Kelly)
says the Government "believes it is important to focus on
raising R&D spending in the EU, especially private R&D,
as this is a key area of EU underperformance." She adds that
the Commission's Communication is broadly welcome.
18.7 Increasing and improving R&D in the EU is
important and we welcome this contribution to the debate on how
this might be achieved. We clear the document.