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After having given its support for increasing the mobility of researchers within the EU (for background information see the October edition of the ACA Newsletter – Education Europe), the EU Competitiveness Council (research configuration) achieved further progress during its December meeting by endowing the European Research Area (ERA) with a 2020 Vision – a daring projection of a borderless ERA, to enhance EU’s competitiveness. Under the ‘Vision 2020’, ERA should be based on two fundamental pillars, i.e. human resources and infrastructures, and should be a space of freedom and exchange of scientists, which promotes the spread of knowledge and the boost of innovation. The launch comes as a result of an in-depth debate between member states, initiated at the informal meeting of 17 and 18 July in Versailles.
Although the details on how this goal will be reached are still to be released, the ministers decided to maintain the R&D investment and strengthen the "knowledge triangle" of education, research and innovation, considered to be the key to the successful completion of the ERA. A further step was taken at the meeting, as EU member states agreed on and specified the procedure to be followed for joint programming in research, thus committing each other to develop a common approach to address threats with major societal implications.