Belgian EU presidency 2010
As Belgium takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2010, the Belgian and Flemish attention for Europe will increase in the course of the following months. The preparations at the Economy, Science and Innovation Department, which is responsible for several high level conferences, are in full swing.
For the first time Belgium is part of a Trio Presidency together with Spain and Hungary. In cooperation with these member states, Belgium developed a common Trio Presidency Programme which was approved by the European Council at the end of 2009 and which will be carried out successively by the three Presidents during 18 months. Besides the priorities of the Trio Presidency, each presiding country also focuses on its own themes. Since Spain took over the rotating presidency on the first of January, the Belgian presidency begins on 1 July.
Within the Research Council, Belgium will put forward the following specific priorities:
- The strengthening of the European Research Area.
Belgium wants to improve cooperation between the member states and private actors in order to meet the major social challenges of our times (climate change, food supply, etc.). Further collaboration is also necessary to remove administrative restrictions and hindrances for international research workers.
- The evaluation and revision of the Lisbon Strategy with regard to research. Amongst other things, Belgium wishes to evaluate and discuss the 3% target for investment in research and development.
- The role of Research, Development and Innovation in the realisation of a sustainable society. In this respect, the three conferences organised by the EWI Department – focussing on the challenges faced by the research and development community for the creation of a viable economy in the long term – will be central.
In addition to these three vertical themes, the role of the regions in R&D policy is an important horizontal priority.
Belgium also intends to colour the agenda in the Industry Council:
- SMEs are the first important focus. Key issues are the simplification of the procedures which give access to European research activities and the follow-up of the Small Business Act, which aims to promote entrepreneurship and to streamline the administrative obligations of SMEs.
- An innovative industry policy is another top priority. Key concepts are the ‘green economy’ and ‘eco-innovation’, with the outcome of the post-Kyoto negotiations as a starting point.
- An evaluation of the policy initiatives relating to clustering and competence poles must provide input for a new European research and innovation policy plan.
Flanders also formulated a set of five general priorities to include in the presidency programme. The first focal point is the revised Lisbon Strategy and the need for complementary tools to establish a social, green and competitive Europe. Since 2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, it is clear that social inclusion and poverty reduction are priorities as well. A third priority is the focus on climate, energy and the environment. Consequently Flanders wants to stress the need for sustainable development during the presidency. The last priority formulated by the Flemish government is a greater involvement of the regions and their citizens in the activities of the European Union.
Following in the footsteps of Austria and France, Belgium will also seek to organise its presidency in a sustainable manner. This means that not only the ecological impact will be taken into account but also the social and economic aspects. Different instruments are available to support organisers with the sustainable organisation of their events. Organisational decisions concerning transport, conference rooms, catering, hotels, business gifts etc. should be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Learn more about the events which the EWI Department organises as a partner or which it supports financially.
Strategy and Co-ordination Division
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