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[FYI] New Commission will see innovation policy strengthened

                    CORDIS RTD-NEWS/c European Communities, 1999. 

                    Record Control Number: 13253

                    Date: 1999-07-12

                    Category: General policy

                    General Information:

                    Innovation policy will take on greater
                    significance within a department addressing all
                    aspects of enterprise policy in proposals for the
                    new Commission, due to take office in September
                    1999, announced by Romano Prodi,
                    President-designate. Unveiling, on 9 July, his
                    proposed team - which must be confirmed by the
                    European Parliament - Mr Prodi announced the
                    creation of a new enterprise department bringing
                    together policies for large and small, traditional
                    and high-tech business. Innovation will be a key
                    element in this new integrated department designed
                    to enhance European competitiveness and economic
                    growth. Erkki Liikanen, the current budget
                    Commissioner, a social democrat from Finland, will
                    head this new department as well as the department
                    for the Information Society. 

                    Prodi's proposals aim to ensure a more
                    comprehensive approach to business, and recognise
                    that while large industrial companies and SMEs
                    face different problems, they are inter-dependent
                    and operate in the same environment. By developing
                    more integrated policies for enterprise the
                    Commission will reduce the fragmentation of
                    policies for large companies and SMEs, helping to
                    foster improved cooperation between the different
                    economic sectors in Europe. The enterprise
                    department will bring together the current
                    industry department (DG III), the SMEs and
                    enterprise department (DG XXIII) and the
                    Innovation Directorate (DG XIII/D). The
                    Information Society is seen as a key driving force
                    behind economic growth, and has a major impact on
                    the development of a learning culture in Europe,
                    hence the pairing of these two departments under
                    Liikanen's responsibility. (The Information
                    Society department will comprise the remainder of
                    the current DG XIII, except the postal services

                    Research will be the responsibility of Philippe
                    Busquin, a Belgian socialist, who will also take
                    over responsibility for the Commission's Joint
                    Research Centre. The present research department
                    (DG XII) seems likely to remain relatively
                    unchanged, although the agricultural research
                    activities currently managed by the agriculture
                    department (DG VI) will be integrated. 

                    Other changes, in what Prodi called the 'chance of
                    a fresh start for the Commission', include the
                    establishment of a separate department for public
                    health and consumer protection, and a new
                    department for justice and home affairs. The
                    Commission's departments will no longer be known
                    by their numbers but by clear names, in what is a
                    largely symbolic change designed to facilitate
                    understanding by outsiders. In general Prodi aims
                    to reduce the number of departments, removing
                    overlaps, and rationalising and balancing the
                    spread of portfolios amongst the 20 Commissioners.
                    Neil Kinnock, the Briton currently responsible for
                    transport, will take responsibility for reforming
                    the Commission, bringing it into line with changed
                    political priorities and realities, and making it
                    more effective, and more transparent and
                    accessible to citizens. 

                    The team proposed by Prodi should be formally
                    nominated on 19 July, with Prodi due to present
                    his team to the European Parliament two days
                    later. Each Commissioner-designate will then
                    appear before the Parliamentary Committee(s)
                    relating to their portfolio during the first week
                    in September, before the Parliament votes to
                    confirm the appointments on 15 September. Assuming
                    that approval is granted, the new Commission would
                    take up office on 17 September following formal
                    appointment by the Member States. 

                    Full details of the proposed new Commission may be
                    found on Europa, at: 


                    Data Source Provider: European Commission

                    Document Reference: Based on information of 9

                    Subject Index Codes: Policies