The Council of EU Research Ministers, meeting, in Brussels, on 14-15 May 1997, adopted a number of conclusions on the Action Plan for Innovation in Europe, published in November 1996. The Council generally endorsed the framework for action identified in the Commission's Action Plan for Innovation. This is aimed at fostering a genuine innovation culture, establishing a framework favourable to innovation and gearing research more closely to innovation both at national and Community level. Ministers noted that innovation is primarily the responsibility of individuals and companies and that the role of national and other competent public authorities should, therefore, be mainly directed towards creating an environment conducive to innovation. In this context, the European Community has a role to play, in particular through: - Support for additional measures; - The elimination of obstacles between Member States; - The dissemination of information and best practices and stimulation of cooperation; - Better use of existing Community instruments in support of innovation. The Council considers that a global approach is necessary in order to create a climate conducive to innovation. Such an approach should take account, inter alia, of the following aspects: - Technological factors (which should not be limited to high-technology sectors but should also include traditional industries and services; - Education and training; - Mobility of students and researchers; - The legal and regulatory environment, including the existing European patent system and intellectual property rights issues; - Administrative, organizational, financial and social aspects. With regard to the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, the Council makes a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring that the innovation dimension is fully taken into account in the elaboration of the Programme. The Council welcomes the Commission's intention to draw up a common reference framework, in consultation with Member States, for the implementation of this Action Plan and to present appropriate concrete proposals for action at Community level.