Bulgarian Presidency hosts debates on the future of space, research and innovation policies


Photo: Council of the European Union

The Bulgarian Presidency today hosted debates on the future of European space policy and on research and innovation in the context of the EU's post-2020 budget, setting the direction for the future development of these policies. The debates, chaired respectively by Emil Karanikolov, Bulgaria’s Minister for the Economy, and Krasimir Valchev, Bulgaria’s Minister for Education and Science, took place on the second day of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels.

The goal of the debate on the future of space policy was to underline the benefits of space for the whole economy beyond the space sector itself, as well as the role of the public sector as a driver for innovation and a supplier of essential public services.

Commenting on this topic, Minister Karanikolov said:

“The aim of today’s discussion was to ensure that Europe preserves its leading role in the space sector. The investments in the space sector are investments in economic development and security for the whole European Union.”

The debate on the EU’s research and innovation policies post-2020 comes in the wake of the Commission proposal for the EU's next long-term budget and in the context of EU leaders’ commitment to greater investment in the sector.

Today’s discussion is a further demonstration of the Bulgarian Presidency’s sustained interest in this topic. In February, at the invitation of the Presidency, EU ministers exchanged ideas on what the proposal for the EU’s 9th research framework programme should look like, with the aim of feeding into the Commission proposal, due in the coming months.

Today, ministers confirmed their commitment to seek synergies between the EU and national levels to achieve better results.

Commenting on the debate, Minister Valchev said:

"Increasing public investment in research and innovation is important, but it is not enough. We have to make use of the results of scientific research and be able to turn them into practical applications which can address societal challenges or generate products which make people's lives better."

The links between the EU and national levels were the focus of the debate on the European supercomputer which ministers conducted over lunch. During the follow-up working session, the Bulgarian Presidency updated ministers on the progress made on the legislative proposal to set up this project. Work on this file is ongoing and the Bulgarian Presidency will spare no effort to take this dossier forward.

In the area of research, ministers also endorsed the Bulgarian Presidency proposal for a regulation to extend the activities under the Euratom research programme.

Also today, ministers adopted conclusions on accelerating knowledge circulation within the EU and on the European Open Science Cloud.

More information about today’s meeting is available here.

Information about the outcome of yesterday’s meeting of the Competitiveness Council is available here.

Pictures and videos are available here.

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