[Check Against Delivery]
José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
President Barroso’s speech at the Euroscience Open Forum
Science building bridges
Euroscience Open Forum
Copenhagen, 22 June 2014
Dear Minister [Sofie Carsten-Nielsen, Minister of Higher Education and Science]
Dear Chair of ESOF [ESOF2014 Champion Professor Klaus Bock]
Dear President [Euroscience President, Professor Lauritz Holm-Nielsen]
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you today for the 2014 Euroscience Open Forum. I would like to thank you for inviting me to take part in this very important event.
In a country with over 400 islands, with three bridges over six kilometres long, what more appropriate theme could have been given to this Forum than “Science building bridges”.
A country world-known for its scientific leadership; for its expertise across a range of fields, from clean technology to biotechnology, from pharmaceuticals to telecommunications.
A country proud and confident about its knowledge-based society, renowned for its openness, and desire to cooperate internationally; a country whose bridge, the Oresund Bridge, links, not just two countries, i.e. Sweden and Denmark, but Europe’s regions, from Scandinavia to Western and Central Europe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
[Europe 2020/Horizon 2020]
As we start to move out of the worst financial and economic crisis since the 1930s, now is the time to focus on building a strong, sustainable future.
On building a bridge between our past scientific traditions and a world where we share increasingly important global challenges and where we need innovative solutions.
That is precisely why, back in 2010, we put in place our new Europe 2020 strategy, designed to build a balanced, knowledge-based economy, with education, science, research and innovation at its very heart.
That is also why we have managed to make the seven year budget for our European research programme, Horizon 2020, 30% larger than its predecessor, despite the slight decrease in the European budget as a whole. It was not easy but we got it. We managed to convince Member States that at least the science and innovation budget should be increased. At 80 billion Euros over seven years, Horizon 2020 is one of if not the largest research and innovation programme in the world, designed to complement other sources of national and private financing.
We have therefore managed to match ambition with resources, giving you the researchers the stability and long term commitment that you need.
This goes to show, as we discuss the challenges facing us in the years ahead, that science does indeed matter for the future of Europe.
Not just to a large audience such as yours, but to everyone in our societies. Because I believe that our social and economic progress and many of the solutions to today’s problems will come from science. And I would even say that “The future of Europe is science”.
As our recent Communication on research and innovation as sources for growth has shown, we have a lot to be confident about.
Europe undoubtedly remains a world leader in science and has the capacity to innovate.
Our European Research Area remains the largest knowledge-production house in the world: we have twice the number of science and technology graduates in Europe than in the United States; and with 7% of the world’s population, we still produce roughly a third not only of the GDP, but also of patents and high impact scientific publications.
And despite the financial and economic crisis we have managed to halve the innovation gap that we still have with the United States and Japan.
[More to do]
But we cannot afford to stand still, in a world where scientific and technological progress is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and where South Korea is moving further ahead, with China quickly catching us up.
So we must adapt to the new challenges and new ways of working in the 21st Century.
The role of digital technologies and the wealth of information and data that is being produced pose many questions about how science and research will be performed in the future. I know that Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, whom I would like to congratulate, for he