Brussels, 10 June 2022

Research and space 10 June 2022

Principles and values for international cooperation in research and innovation

Ministers adopted conclusions on principles and values for international cooperation in research and innovation. The Council emphasised that international cooperation is of paramount importance in order to enhance the impact of research and innovation in addressing major global challenges. In the context of current Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the Council has added a statement to the conclusions deploring the Ukrainian crisis and its impact on research and innovation.

Open science

The ministers adopted conclusions on research assessment and implementation of open science. In the conclusions, the Council has given political impetus for joint action to be taken in three key areas: reform of research assessment systems, capacity building for academic publications, and the promotion of multilingualism as a means of communicating and disseminating the results of scientific research.

European missions

Ministers adopted conclusions on European missions. In these conclusions, the Council provides guidance on the framework for the implementation of the European missions, in particular concerning the governance of the new instruments at Europeannational and local level to enhance synergies between funding programmes.

Supporting young researchers in times of crisis

The Council held a policy debate on ways to support young researchers in times of crisis and, more generally, how to ensure good working conditions and long-term career prospects for them once an emergency situation is over.

A number of ministers described the difficulties young researchers face in their countries. These difficulties have been aggravated by current crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian aggression against Ukraine. To ensure support for young researchers, the Council noted the importance of coordinating actions at European level to promote the sustainable development of scientific careers.

Most ministers stressed the need for safety nets to prevent the harmful effects of future crises. These actions should not be limited to research alone but should also cover other sectors, including social, employment and education policies.

Copernicus by 2035

Ministers adopted conclusions on Copernicus by 2035. These conclusions prepare the main topics for discussion on the future of the Copernicus programme up to 2035 and provide political guidance for its future developments.

Space traffic management

Ministers adopted conclusions on space traffic management (STM). These conclusions propose concrete actions to make sure that space activities are conducted safely and sustainably. Ministers confirmed the importance of the three pillars that are proposed in the conclusions. They have underlined the importance of reinforcing the EU’s capabilities in space surveillance and the tracking of orbiting objects, encouraging coordination on EU legislation and standardisation. The first two axes will strengthen the EU’s voice in the international arena in order to promote this common approach.

Resilience and competitiveness of the EU space programme

Ministers held a policy debate on the resilience and competitiveness of the EU space programme. In their interventions, Ministers stressed that space is key to protecting European independence in space in the years and decades to come and that secure and affordable access to space must be guaranteed. They discussed what measures could be taken to strengthen the resilience of the EU with regard to space, and how the EU space programme can contribute to security and defence, in particular in relation to current challenges.

Ministers also stressed the importance of maintaining a competitive EU space programme and underlined the contribution of the new actors in ‘New Space’ and the innovative solutions they offer.

The Council noted that the regulation on secure connectivity proposed by the European Commission in February 2022 is of central importance to shoring up the EU’s resilience with regard to space.

Other topics on the agenda

 


Internal market and industry, 9 June 2022

Consumer credit directive

The Council unanimously approved a general approach on the proposed revision of the consumer credit directive. The revised directive repeals and replaces the current 2008 directive on credit agreements.

The proposal, presented by the European Commission on 30 June 2021, aims to modernise and ensure a higher level of consumer protection, reduce the current fragmentation of the market and deepen the cross-border market for consumer credit.

In their interventions, ministers stressed the importance of consumer credit legislation and highlighted the need for consumers to be protected in an increasingly digitalised environment.

The directive covers new products and credit actors that have emerged through the development of e-commerce. It simplifies the information provided to consumers in order for them make informed decisions and aims to make this information readable on digital devices.

To combat irresponsible lending practices that could lead to over-indebtedness, the directive requires member states to protect consumers against excessive rates and to promote financial education and debt advice. It also regulates the assessment whether or not a consumer will be able to repay their credit.

Ministers broadly agreed that the proposal presents a fair and balanced compromise that establishes a strong mandate for negotiations, which are scheduled to start this year with the European Parliament.

Regulation on semiconductors (Chips Act)

The Council also reviewed the progress made so far on the Chips Act. Ministers welcomed the Chips Act, which is intended to guarantee the EU’s future technological sovereignty, and emphasised its urgency given the current worldwide shortage of chips.

Ministers stressed the need for coordinated action at EU level to resolve the current semiconductor supply crisis. They supported the direction proposed by the European Commission, which offer relevant levers to strengthen short- and long-term production capacities in Europe.

Lastly, ministers noted the importance of developing international partnerships to strengthen the resilience and strategic autonomy of the European Union. To do this, it will be important to attract investment in innovative production facilities and to have a skilled workforce.

The resilience of Europe’s strategic industrial ecosystems

The Council held a policy debate on the resilience of strategic industrial ecosystems, during which the ministers stressed the importance of strengthening the resilience of these ecosystems.

In the light of recent developments, the ministers stressed that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine highlighted the need to make Europe’s economic base more resilient and more competitive. Accordingly, the ministers stated their willingness to continue to work on these aspect.

The Council discussed specific actions to reduce strategic dependencies, in particular concerning critical raw materials. In the context of the Commission’s preparation of a legislative initiative on raw materials, ministers stressed the importance of securing the EU’s supplies of these materials, which are essential for the success of the green and digital transitions. They highlighted various levers, such as the development of strategic partnerships with third countries, the development of the circular economy, and the creation of a fair and sustainable investment framework, including from an environmental point of view.

Other topics on the agenda

Meeting information

Meeting n°387

Luxembourg

9 June 2022, 10:00

Preparatory documents

Provisional agenda

List of A items, non-legislative activities

Background brief

Source: European Council