Ebba Busch, Swedish Minister for Energy, Business and Industry and Mats Persson, Swedish Minister for Education and Research held presentations, and exchanged views with Committee members.
Minister Ebba Busch began by outlining the presidency’s digital priorities, including, but not limited to AI, Interconnected European ID and the Data Act. Following digital topics, she described energy-related focus areas. A key element of this was accelerating energy transition within the Fit for 55 framework. Reducing methane emissions is an important point on the Presidency’s agenda. In addition, Critical Raw Materials were discussed – which bear relevance to EuChemS, as EuChemS organises policy workshops related to specific strategically significant elements, such as Carbon, Lithium, Nitrogen – as well as the upcoming Phosphorus workshop. Then, Minister Mats Persson outlined research priorities, in the centre of which, transparency, open access, research infrastructures and assessment framework reforms remain. Minister Persson also put emphasis on the importance of space research from sustainability and strategic stantpoints (e.g. using the Copernicus programme’s satellite images in climate research), as well as sustainable use of space.
Following the discussion of Swedish Presidency representatives, Mariya Gabriel joined the meeting to report on Horizon Europe, the European Innovation Agenda, Hydrogen Valleys and European Higher Education Networks. With regards to Horizon, she highlighted the aims of further expansion, as well as the programme’s importance in supporting Ukrainian researchers since the Russian invasion. She also pointed out improving gender balance metrics. Another key area for European Research which she discussed, was the launch of the Pilot for a Joint European Degree Label, to test deeper instruments of transnational cooperation in higher education, and thus, explore the policy and educational landscape. Regarding European Higher Education, she also reinforced the EU’s commitment towards supporting university networks. Following Commissioner Gabriel’s presentation, various topics were raised during the structured dialogue, including universal recognition of skills in diplomas and geographical balancing in the widening initiative.