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Irish education minister wants to sort out EIT

Getting an agreement on legislation for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is one of the goals of the Irish presidency, Ireland’s education minister, Ruairi Quinn, announced on 2 January.

The EIT’s strategic innovation agenda needs to be negotiated and approved by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers before the start of Horizon 2020 in 2014. This will include discussions on updating the 2008 regulation that established the EIT. The Irish presidency is expected to be responsible for finalising these negotiations, Quinn said.

The Commission has proposed €2.8 billion in funding for the EIT from the Horizon 2020 budget. The programme has received €309 million in EU funding since its launch in 2008. The EU contribution is expected to cover just 25 per cent of the programme’s financial needs however, with the remainder coming from industrial partners.

Another Irish presidency priority, according to Quinn, is to establish legislation for the Erasmus for All programme, which is to combine seven existing EU and international education and training programmes into one. This will include developing strategies for bringing students from disadvantaged backgrounds and non-traditional learners into education. Another focus will be teacher education and ensuring education meets the demands of the labour market.

“Ensuring sustainable growth and jobs is the main theme of Ireland’s EU presidency, and education and training have a key role to play in this,” Quinn said. “I am committed to seizing the opportunities that the presidency presents in delivering real and long-lasting deliverables for all the citizens of the EU.”