Slovenia sets out Presidency research priorities to MEPs

The first of the new EU Member States to hold the reins of the EU Presidency, Slovenia highlighted its research priorities to members of the European Parliament’s Committee for Industry,
Research and Energy (ITRE) on 24 January.

‘Europe has entered a period of new opportunities, which have to be used efficiently to achieve appreciable sustainable progress in strategic areas such as upgrading research infrastructure,
establishing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the Joint Technology Initiative,’ said Slovenian Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Mojca Kucler Dolinar.

Topping the bill will be concluding the adoption of initiatives under article 169 of the Treaty; namely the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) and EUREKA EuroSTARS initiatives. With Slovenia
currently holding the chairmanship of EUREKA, it has plans to conclude the adoption procedure on EUROSTARS so as to encourage and provide financing for market-oriented industrial research
conducted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

During its time at the helm of the EU, Slovenia also intends to make headway on Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) – a new initiative based on public-private partnerships. By adopting the
decision to establish the four joint undertakings agreed so far, and progressing on the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI, Slovenia hopes to forge new partnerships between public and private actors
and contribute to the goals of the Lisbon Strategy.

Other concerns for Slovenia include developing research infrastructures at the regional level, integrating the Western Balkan countries into the European Research Area (ERA), and strengthening
the role of women working in science. The Presidency would like to bring new impetus to the issue of scientific careers for women and young researchers by introducing examples of best practices
of what it refers to as ‘family-friendly scientific careers’.

In the field of information society, the Presidency’s efforts will focus on the evaluation of the i2010 strategic policy framework, one of the key elements of the renewed Lisbon Partnership for
Growth and Employment. Its aim here is to ensure more efficient and faster implementation of the i2010 initiative.

Slovenia will hold the Presidency for the first half of 2008, before handing over to France.

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