The DAAD and the EU Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KoWi), with support of the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union, organised a digital morning coffee on the topic "The German EU Council Presidency - What is on the menu for higher education, research and innovation?".

From 1 July to 31 December 2020, it is Germany's turn to take over the rotating presidency of the European Council at a challenging time. The COVID-19 pandemic and recovery efforts in Europe will surely influence the Presidency programme. What are the consequences for education, research and innovation?

Michael Vorländer, head of unit for education and research at the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union and his colleagues Maria Höchstädter and Henning Gädeke updated us virtually on the priorities for education, research and innovation and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the German EU Presidency programme.

Priorities in the field of education

On the legislative level, an agreement is needed for the regulation of the future Erasmus+ Programme 2021-2027 so that the programme can continue in 2021.

Furthermore, Council conclusions are planned on:

  • Vocational education and training (VET)
  • Digital education
    (building on the Digital Education Action Plan to be published in early autumn)
  • European Universities
    (providing political guidance for the future of the initiative under the Erasmus+ programme and as an example for new forms of higher education collaboration)

Priorities in the field of research & innovation

The topic of a dynamic, solidary and goal-oriented collaboration within the European Research Area (ERA) will take centre stage under the German EU Council Presidency with a ministerial conference taking place on 21/22 October on this topic. The European Commission is expected to publish a communication on the ERA in July and Council conclusions are foreseen in order to:

  • give new impetus to the collaboration between the Commission and member states;
  • intensify synergies between different policy fields, in particular research and education;
  • create an area, which enables researchers to pursue a genuine European career, enjoying free movement across borders and systems;
  • better prepare the ERA for future challenges, increase its resilience and international competitiveness;
  • upscale the ERA's external dimension, in particular towards Africa and the Western Balkans.

Further priorities under the German Presidency are to achieve the goals of the European Green Deal and to strengthen Europe's technological sovereignty.

On the legislative level, an agreement on the following files is planned:

  • the future Horizon Europe Programme 2021-2027
  • the new regulation and agenda for the strategic innovation for the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT)
  • renewed decisions on the EURATOM research and training programme as well as the project ITER

Moreover, the negotiations about streamlining and restructuring the partnership instruments in the framework of Horizon Europe will start under the German EU Council Presidency.