Research and technology
'Bratislava Agenda' – a new impetus for European industry
'If we are to create jobs requiring high skills, ensure technical progress or benefit from the digital revolution, the European Union will remain globally competitive only with effective reindustrialisation,' emphasised Jerzy Buzek, Member of the European Parliament, in his speech at the international conference on Re-Industrialisation of the European Union (REinEU2016) taking place at Incheba Expo Bratislava.
The REinEU2016 conference is a prestigious event in the field of nanotechnologies, biotechnology, advanced materials and production technologies. Its aim is to highlight and discuss the role of science, research and innovation in the sustainable development of the European economy in general and in putting into practice the reindustrialisation of Europe.
The 3-day event will focus on how research and innovation impact support for and growth of production in more traditional manufacturing sectors.
In his speech, Peter Plavčan, the Slovak Minister for Education, Science, Research and Sport, mentioned the difficulties that the new EU Member States face, especially the brain drain of talented researchers to other countries, which hinders the spreading of excellence in the field of research and innovation in the European Union: 'In this context, the Slovak Presidency wants to concentrate on promoting participation of the new Member States in the Horizon 2020 framework programme, and we believe that this effort will also be followed-up by the next Presidencies – Malta and Estonia,' said the Minister.
Rastislav Chovanec, the State Secretary at the Ministry of the Economy, claimed government responsibility for setting the parameters for the industrial transformation: 'The government has a key role to play in developing cooperation and in promoting the early adoption and implementation of innovative products and services. We are responsible for laying the right foundations for the digital transformation of industry,' said the State Secretary. He then added that the Slovak Government approved the concept of smart industry for Slovakia at its meeting today.
'The European Commission proposed to increase the budget of the Horizon 2020 programme by EUR 400 million as an impetus for growth and job creation,' Robert-Jan Smits, the Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, said in his opening speech.
'Big data' and the 'Internet of Things', the robotics industry and the most recent computer systems offer huge opportunities for the industry. 'In order for us to use them fully, the private and public sector must enter into a constructive, future-oriented dialogue on investment, skills, regulation and innovation,' Robert-Jan Smits underlined. He also pointed to the unique opportunity offered by the 'Bratislava Agenda', a strategic document on research and innovation drafted as a joint initiative of the Dutch and Slovak Presidencies of the Council of the EU.
At the end of the conference, which will continue until 28 October, the 'Bratislava Agenda' will be handed over to representatives from Malta as a baseline for policy-making during the next Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The conference programme includes various matchmaking events. More than 600 meetings will bring together over 200 SME representatives, innovators and researchers from 27 countries. REinEU2016 also offers various workshops and excursions. The participants can, for example, visit Volkswagen Slovakia, which is the only factory in the world that produces five different automotive brands at the same location. Another visit on the programme is to Elesko, which owns one of the most modern vineyards in Central Europe and also uses biotechnology in its wine production.
The conference is a unique opportunity to present the Slovak view of the Horizon 2020 challenges in the context of one of the new EU Member States and to present solutions tailored to these countries.