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Reinforcing cohesion and competitiveness through research and innovation - opinion of the Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions of the EU has endorsed a Commission communication that seeks to boost the development of Europe's less favoured regions through research and innovation.

The communication, 'Reinforcing cohesion and competitiveness through research and innovation p...
The Committee of the Regions of the EU has endorsed a Commission communication that seeks to boost the development of Europe's less favoured regions through research and innovation.

The communication, 'Reinforcing cohesion and competitiveness through research and innovation policies', aimed to encourage less favoured regions to develop 'integrated research and innovation strategies' in order to increase their overall competitiveness and lessen the gaps between themselves and Europe's more developed areas. Member States were also invited to ensure national polices are complementary and supportive of regional and Community polices.

A new Web service was established on CORDIS to raise awareness of this communication and encourage the exchange of ideas and experience.

The CoR endorsed the main aims of the Commission's communication, stressing the subsidiarity principle. The opinion stated: 'Since the majority of the proposed activities are to be implemented in the municipalities and regions, to provide these authorities with the time and opportunities they need in order to participate in framing the new Structural Funds programmes for their respective regions before the start of the new programming period (January 2000)'.

A real strengthening of the regional dimensions of research and innovation policy was recommended by the CoR. To optimise the research and innovation learning process in the regions, the Committee proposed that international cooperation between research parks should be eligible for Structural Fund support. The provision of structural intervention to help firms and institutes overcome the difficulties of new working structures, and guidelines for the promotion of innovative and vocational training programmes for SMEs and institutions, was also recommended.

The Committee of the Regions stressed that it would like to be involved in the framing of such guidelines, for which it endorsed a 'bottom up' approach.

Source: Official Journal of the European Communities

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