Slovenia about to conclude the term of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union: milestones reached for R&I in the EU

On 1 July 2021, Slovenia took over the Council of the EU’s Presidency from co-member state Portugal. During its 6-month term, the Slovenian Presidency has committed to fulfil the previously agreed on common priorities while narrowing their action down to specific guidelines in line with its motto “Together. Resilient. Europe”.

Slovenia is concluding its Presidency with the successful Ljubljana Declaration on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation: Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister for Education, Science and Sport, presented the declaration at the Competitiveness Council meeting in Brussels on 26 November which was signed by 37 parties. This declaration aims to rectify imbalance in research and innovation by:

  • ensuring fair, open, inclusive and gender equal career paths in research;
  • evaluating intersectional perspectives on gender inequalities;
  • facilitating mutual learning opportunities through form-follows-function robust governance;
  • employing existing and newly developed tools, such as Gender Equality Plans, to facilitate systemic institutional change and remove institutional barriers;
  • addressing and counteracting gender-based violence;
  • supporting active monitoring and evaluation to ensure continuous improvement.

Signatories of this declaration commit to achieve these goals by 2025. It will be supported through joint actions of the European Research Area (ERA)the conclusions on the governance for a renewed and more inclusive ERA were adopted by the Council in November, together with the Pact for Research and Innovation.

In addition, fostering EU private-public partnerships to maximise excellence in research outcomes remained an important item on Slovenia’s agenda. Slovenia completed negotiations on public-private (9) and public-public (1) partnerships under Horizon Europe. The European Parliament approved the €10 billion budget for these partnerships, which now entered into their set-up and implementation phase. They aim to drive European competitiveness in the sectors of healthcare, clean energy, and transport. These partnerships will be key in the realisation of the EU green and digital transition and to solving other important societal challenges.

The Council addressed climate related issues by welcoming the Fit for 55 package, an initiative expected to provide the EU with tools to meet the Green Deal’s objectives of reducing by 55% the EU’s greenhouse gas emission by 2030. Slovenian Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Andrej Vizjak, enhanced the debate by organising a meeting on this topic during the COP26 in Glasgow with EU ministers and representatives.

This Trio Presidency was also a leader in bringing together EU member state to join cancer research efforts by adopting the Principles of Successful Patient Involvement in Cancer Research.

Slovenia will pass the Presidency over to France on 1 January 2022 – opening member state of the next Trio Presidency, composed of Czechia and Sweden. We will write about the new Trio Presidency priorities related to R&I in the January 2022 issue of the BNU newsletter. In the meantime, you can find out more about the upcoming French Presidency here.

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