Press release -

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (National): Willetts attends EU Competitiveness Council

David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, travelled to Brussels for his first meeting with EU counterparts

David Willetts made his first visit to Brussels today to represent the UK at the EU Competitiveness Council. The Minister for Universities and Science and his 26 EU counterparts discussed a number of issues relating to research and innovation in Europe.

David Willetts said:

"Driving research and innovation in the EU is central to putting our economies back on the road to a sustainable and competitive future.

"This is one of the areas where we can benefit the most from constructive engagement with our European counterparts. Some of the most exciting and innovative research projects have been the fruits of greater cross-boundary cooperation and mobility.

"As the third biggest area of expenditure in the EU budget it's also important that we make every penny count.  We will be working hard to ensure that costs are controlled and that the research budget delivers the practical solutions needed to drive our economic recovery."

Notes to Editors

1. The EU Competitiveness Council took place from the 25-26 May with the second day of the Council agenda focussing on Research items. Issues for discussion included the European Earth Observation Programme (GMES), research targets for the Europe 2020 strategy, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and developing the European Research Area.

2. Bilateral meetings were conducted with Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science), Annette Schavan (German Federal Minister for Education and Research), Felipe Pétriz (Spanish Secretary of State for Research), and Benoit Cerexhe (Brussels Regional Minister for Research).


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