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Barroso calls for continued research spending

The European Commission’s president José Manuel Barroso has called on member states to maintain research spending to beat the economic crisis.

“Cutting spending in key areas such as innovation, education, research and development would be exactly the wrong cut to do,” Barroso said at the Innovation Convention in Brussels on 5 December. “This would be the shortest way to lower growth and fewer jobs in the future.”

The president said the Commission’s €80-billion proposal for the next EU research funding programme Horizon 2020 “clearly shows that innovation is really one of our highest priorities.”

“And let me tell you that innovation in this Horizon 2020 programme is not just about the amount of money… It is also about the management and its concept, namely in terms of reducing the administrative burden,” Barroso added. Horizon 2020 “will drastically simplify the rules governing EU funding,” he said.

The president added that “good progress” had been made since the launch of the Innovation Union initiative in February.

He said the EU had got better at pooling resources and building bridges between research, business and education, mentioning the pilot European Innovation Partnership “Active and Healthy Ageing” and the Budapest-based European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) as what he considers successful examples.

In addition, Barroso recalled progress on the completion of the single market, including advances to create an EU unitary patent after decades of stalemate and a Commission proposal to speed up the setting of standards.