Sunday

28th Aug 2016

Ministers remain unconvinced by EU technology plan

EU member states remain unconvinced by Brussels' outline for an European Institute of Technology, with ministers on Monday (4 December) insisting on clearer details of its financing before they give the green light to the project.

The technology institute - a pet project of European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso aimed at pooling Europe's resources and connecting universities, research institutes and businesses – is unlikely to get clear backing by EU leaders at their 14-15 December summit.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Preparing draft conclusions for the summit, trade and industry ministers at Monday's competitiveness council urged the EU executive to "clarify the outstanding issues, in particular, the budgetary implications" of the institute.

According to sources, just as was expressed at an informal meeting of EU leaders in Lahti in October, some member states are still openly sceptical about the initiative - with Germany particularly against the idea.

Although the Finnish prime minister praised the project when speaking to the European Parliament after the Lahti summit, "Berlin has made clear it will not push forward the institute until these unclear issues are solved," diplomats told EUobserver.

Meanwhile the draft conclusions for the forthcoming December summit - seen by EUobserver - suggest that member states and MEPs "should act rapidly" to work on the commission's proposal concerning the institute.

But the ball is now firmly back in the commission's court as member states have asked for more clarification, while stating the council [member states] will "endeavour to conclude the discussions on the proposal... in good time with a view to having the EIT operational as soon as possible in the context of the Lisbon [economic reform] process."

Under a draft plan put forward in early October, the commission foresees a decentralised institute made up of a governing board and a set of "knowledge communities" from well established European universities and research centres which would award master and doctoral degrees.

Its governing board should consist of "highly esteemed and trusted people" and be tasked to call for proposals on concrete research and technology projects - mainly on energy, environment, computer science or nanotechnology - and choose those which would be co-financed and monitored by the EIT.

The commission envisages joint ventures between the private and public sectors to fund the chosen projects, but reports about businesses' lack of interest in the idea have sparked fears about its feasibility.

For its part, Brussels favours an initial financial injection of €2.4 billion from the common coffers until 2013 to kickstart the initiative and believes that once set up and working, the institute will see more money coming in.

If the scheme is approved next year, the first one to two "knowledge communities" could be running in 2009 or 2010.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey