On 1 January Greece took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Greece’s assumption of the role marks a significant milestone for the Mediterranean state as it emerges from a crisis that has resulted in many sacrifices from the Greek people and also for the EU as a whole.
One of the key priorities on the Hellenic Presidency’s agenda is the new European framework programme for research and innovation – Horizon 2020 – worth more than EUR 15 billion over its first two years. The fund is intended to address Europe’s societal issues, boost industrial competitiveness and strengthen the bloc’s scientific research community.
Greece takes over the reins from the Lithuanian Presidency and has set boosting economic growth and jobs among its priorities. Seen as a means toward these goals, Horizon 2020 is set to run from 2014-2020 with an overall fund worth nearly EUR 80 billion.
To highlight the Presidency’s plan of action on the EU’s research and innovation programme, the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) is organizing the kick off meeting for Horizon 2020 activities on 10 January. Representatives from the European Commission will present the synergies between the Horizon 2020 and the Structural Funds and other actions of importance for the Greek Presidency, such as Information and Communication Technologies, access to finance for SMEs in addition to the role and importance of smart specialization in regional development and cohesion.
The Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union is Greece’s fifth since its accession to the then European Economic Community (EEC) in 1981 and will hand over the Presidency baton to Italy on 1 July.
The EU saw significant changes at the start of the New Year with Latvia becoming the 18th member of the eurozone and citizens of Romania and Bulgaria gaining the right to work without restrictions across the European Union.
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Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union