Friday

21st Jul 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Greece to get €7.7bn loan next week

The ESM, the eurozone emergency fund, agreed on Friday to unblock a new tranche of aid as part of the bailout programme agreed upon in 2015.

EU and Japan agree on free trade

Japanese prime minister and EU leaders to endorse major trade deal on Thursday in anti-protectionist message to Trump.

EU and Japan closing in on trade deal

[Updated] The EU and Japan edge closer to securing a free trade deal on Thursday, ahead of the G20 summit at the end of the week where US protectionism will be an issue.

Opinion

Greece needs a new plan

Two years into its third bailout, Greece needs to combine the necessary fiscal targets with a new vision. This can be done in the context of the ongoing industrial revolution.

Opinion

Ceta and pesticides: A citizens' rights issue

The trade agreement with Canada will begin to apply on 21 September. But there is still a potential conflict on the right to data protection vs. the right to access information.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary