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Prospective actor on EU’s innovation policy stage

The idea of creating an innovation committee, first voiced by EU's current Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, the Irish Máire Geoghegan-Quinn during her parliamentary confirmation hearing earlier this year, seems to have won a number of high-level fans. According to Euractiv, the College of EU commissioners discussed the idea during an April meeting, and a concrete proposal for the composition and work plan of this body is expected to be made public later this year. The list of possible members appears to include so far Antonio Tajani (Industry and Entrepreneurship), Johannes Hahn (Regional Policy), László Andor (Employment), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda), Androulla Vassiliou (Education), Michel Barnier (Internal Market), and Günther Oettinger (Energy), i.e. the commissioners with portfolios that touch upon EU’s innovation capacity.

The committee is expected to work to remove the main bottlenecks in European-level innovation—a sine qua non condition for the forthcoming and much-awaited EU research and innovation strategy to succeed. In parallel to the innovation committee, the Irish commissioner seems to plan to convene, on a less formal basis, conversations among the commissioners with an interest in research, namely those in charge of transport, energy, environment and regional policy, thereby giving them a chance to influence the research agenda.