Correspondent's Choice

This story about the 3% R and D target was published by EurActiv on 17th March 2010.

EU finance ministers are fighting against the European Commission’s target of spending 3% of GDP on research and development (R&D), demanding a new “outcome-oriented” measure of success.

The 3% figure is one of five headline goals of the ‘Europe 2020’ growth strategy and has been firmly backed by EU Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Meeting in Brussels yesterday (16 March), finance ministers called for “urgent consideration” of wider indicators to measure R&D and innovation, putting the European Council on a collision course with the EU executive, which has put its political weight behind the target.

Including spending as an indicator has proven controversial and has exposed differences between ministries of finance and research across Europe. With public budgets under pressure, finance ministers are reluctant to commit to additional spending on R&D.

Geoghegan-Quinn directly referred to the rift between ministers earlier this month when she defended the 3% spending target.

”I know that this is controversial. But I believe that it should stay. Research ministers have told me in clear terms that its existence has strengthened their hand in their dealings with their finance ministers. Now is exactly the wrong moment to remove this discipline,” she said.

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