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On 15 April 2008, almost ten years after the initial launch of the European Research Area (ERA) concept, the EU research ministers and the European Commission agreed on a new partnership called ‘Ljubljana Process’, which they hope will lead to the further development of pan-European research collaboration and co-ordination. As canvassed in the Lisbon Agenda, the Ljubljana Process is hoped to lead to better exploitation of Europe’s research potential and thus increase the competitiveness of European industries in the global market.
The Council agreed on the shared long term-vision consisting of a free flow of knowledge; modern universities and research institutions; more incentives for the private sector to invest in research; better use of research results, and better access to research infrastructure. The ministers also agreed to build links between national research and other policies, such as education, innovation and cohesion policies. The Council and the Commission expect the first version of the vision to be finalised by the end of this year. Furthermore, two upcoming EU presidencies, France and the Czech Republic, are expected to take time to implement the management and the governance of the Process.
The Commission initially proposed the creation of an ERA, an ‘internal market’ for research, in January 2000. The project was re-launched in 2007 since the original proposition lacked real achievements (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe June 2007). Perhaps the concept will be third time lucky.