Brussels, July 25, 2014: The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) would like to take the opportunity to welcome the start of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will run from 1 July to 31 December 2014.
One of the key priorities of the Italian Council Presidency, complementing AERAP’s objectives, is to increase the investments in research and support the implementation of Horizon 2020 which will allow real mobility of researchers in the European Research Area.
The Italian Council Presidency also aims to reaffirm the EU commitment to the strategic partnership with South Africa, whilst keeping in mind the objective of the wider bi-regional EU-Africa partnership.
The overall goals of AERAP are to leverage radio astronomy, advance scientific discovery, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across both continents. The platform also enables effective dialogue to build a shared vision for international cooperation in radio astronomy.
In March 2013, AERAP was presented at a major Irish Presidency Conference entitled “EU Science: Global Challenges & Global Collaboration,” which placed EU research at the centre of the scientific response to global challenges, bringing together scientists and science policymakers from 100 countries.
AERAP hopes to make a successful contribution during the Italian Council Presidency by organising a Working Meeting with the newly formed European Parliament in the month of October 2014.
Building on the outcomes of the 4th EU-Africa Summit, this meeting will mark an important occasion in the debate on Africa-EU relations in cultivating sustainable, innovative and knowledge-based societies across both regions.
It will primarily concentrate on science, in terms of education, capacity building and infrastructure, as a core value of broader Africa-U.S. relations; and will aim to bring the role of Africa-EU science and technology collaboration for mutual social-economic benefit to the forefront of future collaboration plans.
On July 21-22, an informal meeting of the EU Ministers for Industry and Research took place in Milan in order to present the foreseen steps of the Italian Council Presidency towards placing growth and employment at the heart of the European policies.
Minister Stefania Giannini at the meeting said, “As European Member States, we all are called to work jointly to plan a well-distributed and effective Research Infrastructures system, to focus on very advanced undertakings, and to avoid unnecessary duplication. This means - stated the Minister for Education, University and Research - to coordinate and pool in a more effective way national and European resources to promote excellence, with a view of long-term sustainability and competiveness.”
Minister Giannini also noted the need for an effective coordination of national and European resources to promote excellence, with a view of long-term sustainability and competiveness. In achieving this, she identified three main milestones, shared by the EU scientific community, namely: 1) Strategic planning, 2) Guaranteeing excellence and the best use of resources, and 3) Ensuring a long-term sustainability to research infrastructures.
Regarding AERAP’s forthcoming activities, it is important to mention a seminar entitled “Science at the United States-Africa Leader’s Summit,” which will take place on the 4th of August 2014., within the framework of the “1st United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit” to be held in Washington D.C. on the 5th and 6th of August 2014.
This meeting will facilitate an exclusive exchange of views on U.S.-Africa science cooperation between Washington-based and African key stakeholders in policy, research, industry and government; while serving as a prime opportunity to formally discuss the Summit themes from the perspective of science.
Further information on the AERAP Working Meeting with the European Parliament will be published on the AERAP website in the upcoming weeks.
For further information on the 1st United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/africa-in-focus/posts/2014/06/17-us-africa-leaders-summit-pugliese-westbury-sy
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The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP)
AERAP is a response to the calls of the European Parliament, through the adoption of the Written Declaration 45/2011, and of the Heads of State of the African Union, through their decision “Assembly/AU/Dec.407 CXVIII”, for radio astronomy to be a priority focus area for Africa-EU cooperation. AERAP is a stakeholder forum of industry, academia and the public sector established to define and implement priorities for radio astronomy cooperation between Africa and Europe.
The overall goals of the platform are to leverage radio astronomy, advance scientific discovery, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across both continents. The platform will also enable effective dialogue to build a shared vision for international cooperation in radio astronomy.
Further information on AERAP: www.aerap.org
The Italian Presidency of the EU Council
From 1 July to 31 December 2014, Italy is in charge of the presidency of the Council of the European Union which started on 25 March 1957 with the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
The Council of the European Union, also known as EU Council, is the institution that represents the governments of the member states. It negotiates and adopts new EU legislation together with the Parliament, adapts it when necessary, and coordinates policies. The Council is a single legal entity that meets in 10 different “configurations” depending on the subject to be discussed.
Hence, the Ministers for the Environment meet in the Environment Council, the Ministers for Economic and Financial Affairs meet in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council and so on for all sectors.
The presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates amongst member states every six months according to a pre-set order. The first semester starts on 1 January and ends at the end of June. The second semester starts on 1 July and ends on 31 December.