On September 21, a group of national directors of agricultural research (Euragri) presented their vision for agricultural research to European Commissioners Philippe Busquin (Research) and Franz Fischler (Agriculture).
Euragri outlines a number of specific areas where national agricultural research programmes could coordinate their research activities, open them up to third parties, and create networks of excellence.
Euragri's actions build on the Commission's proposal for the new research framework programme, which the agricultural research centres endorse.
Commenting on the meeting Commissioner Philippe Busquin said: "Research has a crucial role to play in developing forms of agriculture which are sustainable and at the same time satisfy the health and qualitative norms and demands of the consumer. The European Research Area and the new framework programme will provide a more rational and coherent use of human and financial resources necessary to achieve these goals."
Commissioner Franz Fischler declared: "Agriculture research can provide us with the necessary basis to make responsible use of new technologies. As Europeans we need to follow developments in the world so that we can respond or, even better, take a lead in shaping policies which are based on our visions and convictions. Policies that are in line with our idea on a future-oriented, sustainable and multifunctional agriculture. In the field of biotechnology, nothing would be more damaging than a 'wait-and-see' approach."