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Priorities of the German EU Council Presidency for higher education, research and innovation

30 June 2020

On 1 July 2020, Germany will take over as chair of the Council of the European Union for a six-month term. The draft programme of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU was released on 24 June under the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery”. It focuses on four areas: overcoming the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery; Multiannual Financial Framework; negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom; and further topics, including climate protection, digitalisation and Europe’s role in the world.

On 3 June, the Coimbra Group Office took part in the digital morning coffee organised by 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 EU, on the topic “The German EU Council Presidency – What is on the menu for higher education, research and innovation?”.

Priority will be given to the timely adoption of legislative proposals for the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmes for 2021-2027. The first implementation measures for a European area of education, research and innovation shall also be launched.

In the field of higher education, Council conclusions are planned on:

  • Digital education, building on the Digital Education Action Plan to be published in early autumn 2020;
  • European Universities, providing political guidance for the further implementation of the initiative under the Erasmus+ programme and as an example for new forms of higher education collaboration;
  • Vocational education and training, including at tertiary level.

As the European Commission is expected to publish a communication on the Education Area, the German Presidency will also start preparing Council conclusions on the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training post-2020.

In the fields 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 2020 on this topic.

The European Commission is expected to publish a communication on the ERA in July 2020 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.


The full podcast of this event is available here.

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