The meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council was a follow-up to the 7-8 July 2022 Presidency Conference in Prague on Synergies and Funding for Research and Innovation as part of the Czech EU Presidency. The Competitiveness Council (COMPET) aims to strengthen EU growth. Mariya Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, met in Prague with the European ministers responsible for the research and innovation agenda. In addition to synergies, the ministers discussed the potential impact of Russian military aggression in Ukraine on European science and research.
The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Vladimír Baláš. In his opening speech, he emphasised synergies and innovation as key priorities of the Czech EU Presidency. He also mentioned the need to strengthen cooperation between the Member States in using funds for science and research. Václav Velčovský, Deputy Head for International Relations, EU and ESIF, provided a political perspective on synergies. He was followed by Professor Jana Klánová, who shared the experience of the RECETOX Centre with research funding. RECETOX is an example of good practice using financial resources at the national and European levels.
Jana Klánová said, “the European Structural Funds significantly supported the RECETOX Centre in the last programming period. Thanks to this, we have managed to build a unique research infrastructure that is competitive at the European and global levels. At the same time, we have strengthened professional capacities and other staff positions necessary for effective functioning. We are currently one of the most successful applicants for projects funded by the European framework for science and research, namely H2022, now Horizon Europe." Although building research infrastructures is a long-term process, an operational infrastructure will allow researchers from across Europe and the rest of the world to access world-class equipment, facilities, services, and expertise. A vital contribution to the EIRENE research infrastructure is the EIRENE PPP project, which will launch in September 2022. Its main objective is to provide administrative, organizational, and technical support to the infrastructure.
At the end of the Prague EU Council meeting, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel thanked everyone for the meaningful debate on synergies. She stressed the need for green and digital transformations to strengthen European autonomy. She also expressed gratitude to European scientific institutions for their extraordinary solidarity with Ukraine's academic and research community.
The following informal EU Council will be in Brussels on 29 September 2022. This time, ministers responsible for the internal market and industry agenda will meet.