Ministers responsible for research and innovation gathered for an informal meeting


Discussion focused on the transformative nature of the European framework for R&I and strengthening the competitiveness of the EU.

On 14-15 February 2024, at the invitation of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, ministers responsible for research and innovation from the EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom held an informal meeting. It aimed to discuss the transformative capacity of the European framework for R&I and the role of technological advancements in hastening industrial decarbonization while bolstering the EU's competitive edge.

The background document for the first working session, provided by the Belgian Presidency, outlined the development of the transformative nature of the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which was also summarized in a policy document from the European Commission in October 2023. The Belgian Presidency highlighted new instruments that were gradually added to the Framework Programmes and supported the integration of innovation policies that address societal challenges and facilitate a deeper systemic transformation of society. The discussion further focused on the question of what changes should be made to the framework programs and their design process in order to preserve or strengthen their main tasks.

The Belgian Presidency stresses the significance of fostering collaboration across sectors and disciplines in European research and innovation policy, particularly concerning sustainable development and social advancement. During the lunch debate, ministers focused on sharing successful models and best practices in this regard. Additionally, they explored how how the private sector and companies can contribute more effectively to interdisciplinary research and innovation.

The focus of the second working session was on how technological advancements can expedite industry decarbonization and bolster the EU's competitiveness. As per the Belgian Presidency, key elements such as the development of new materials and technologies, electrification of industrial processes, utilization of renewable energy, and implementation of more energy-efficient production methods are essential for achieving the EU's sustainability targets, aiming for zero emissions by 2050. The ministerial discussion also addressed the promotion of innovation and research in the industrial sector, especially in medium and small enterprises and by creating cross-sectoral synergies to maintain the EU's global industrial leadership.

The next official meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council (Research) is scheduled for 23 May 2024 in Brussels.

You can find more information on the web of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU