Germany sets out research priorities for its EU Presidency

Germany has said it plans to use its Presidency of the EU to extend European cooperation in the fields of education and research.

"Education and research are important sources of inspiration for social development in Europe - and the source of future prosperity," said German Minister for Education and Research, Annette Schavan. Germany will hold the EU Presidency for the first half of 2007, before handing over to Portugal.

Germany's Presidency of the EU coincides with the start of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and Dr Schavan is particularly excited about the launch of the European Research Council (ERC). "It is an important step towards strengthening the European Research Area," she commented. "For without excellent frontier research, genuine innovation is hardly possible."

Although FP7 itself is all but agreed, a number of decisions still need to be taken. These include the European funding of joint research programmes set up by groups of Member States (the Article 169 Measures) and the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs).

In collaboration with the European Commission, the German government also hopes to clarify, with concrete examples, how EU Structural Funds can be used in concert with funds from FP7. In addition, it plans to launch an initiative for a charter on dealing with intellectual property at public research institutes and universities.

In the field of education, the German Presidency will place a high priority on increasing the mobility of young people. Particular importance will be placed on working on the European Qualifications Framework and the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training.

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