Knowledge first: ambitions for the future of Europe
On 22 November 2018, Neth-ER organised its annual international networking event in Brussels, where high level representatives of the Dutch knowledge community and the Brussels’ education, research and innovation network were brought together. The theme of this years’ event was ‘Knowledge first: ambitions for the future of Europe’. Gert Jan Koopman, Director-General of DG Budget, the keynote speaker, gave an interesting and meaningful speech on the need for more action from the knowledge community for the prioritisation of knowledge in the future EU long-term budget.
Neth-ER international networking event
During its annual international networking event, on 22 November 2018, Neth-ER brought together high-level representatives of the Dutch knowledge sector and stakeholders in the education, research and innovation field of the Brussels’ network. This years’ theme, ‘Knowledge first: ambitions for the future of Europe’, was the main topic for discussion during the parallel sessions and the main subject of the powerful speech provided by key note speaker Gert Jan Koopman, Director-General of DG Budget.
Gert Jan Koopman on the future of Europe
Much more needs to be done by the knowledge community to become a louder voice in the budget debate. This was stated by Gert Jan Koopman, who held a powerful speech to kick off the Neth-ER networking event. Koopman argued that knowledge is the most important ingredient for the future and addressed the audience by labelling them as ‘the representatives of the future’. He compared metaphorical actions like throwing eggs at the Berlaymont with current efforts being taken by representatives. He underlined the importance of budget discussions as they are fundamental for the course of the future of Europe. By characterising budget discussions as not merely mathematical, but a place where voices need to be heard, Gert Jan emphasized: ‘we are not hearing you’. A central position in budget discussions is needed, not just for the multi-annual financial framework but also for the annual EU-budget discussions. He stressed the lack of action from his own Member State in these discussions and closed the speech by advising: ‘Have your voice heard much more widely, not just in Brussels but also back home, if you do so effectively, we have a budget that can deliver for companies and citizens’.
The future EU knowledge programmes
Prior to the networking event, Neth-ER board members and other representatives of the Dutch knowledge community also had the opportunity to engage in discussions on the future knowledge programmes with the European Commission. There was a session on research as well as one concerning education. During the research session, Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, gave an overview of the priorities for Horizon Europe and took the time to discuss the design of missions. Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot, Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ in DG Education and Culture, and Manuela Geleng, Director for Skills in DG Employment emphasised in the education session that education is high on the European agenda. The participants in this session discussed the successor of the Erasmus+ programme. Both Eriksson and Geleng stressed that the proposed doubling of the budget for the programme underlines the strengthened focus on inclusiveness and excellence in Erasmus+. Both sessions resulted in fruitful discussions on the relevant core programmes of the research and education policy.
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