Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP was speaking in the European Parliament, Strasbourg this week on the Audy report on the Seventh EU programme for research, technological development and demonstration.
 
The report was carried out by the French centre-right MEP Jean-Pierre Audy. The report is a mid term evaluation of the FP7 programme, which is under the responsibility of the Irish Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan Quinn. Over the next three years, over 28.8 billion Euro will be allocated under the FP7 programme to companies and universities within the European Union.  
 
Speaking in the European Parliament on Monday 06 June, Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stated “Irish based companies and universities have drawn down over 270 million Euro to-date under the FP7 programme. I understand from the European Commission that Ireland is expected to be allocated in the region of 600 million Euro before the programme concludes in 2014.”
 
“The key element of this report is that the European Union must stay to the forefront in the area of research, innovation and science. This is important because without research, we cannot become the innovators of tomorrow. We need research, if we are to create and to maintain employment in the EU and to remain competitive against the emerging economies. We also need the public and private sectors to work together in a spirit of partnership.”
 
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP outlined several areas where the European Commission needed to introduce measures in order to improve the implementation of the FP7 programme.
 
He stated that “Efforts to encourage greater SME participation must also be encouraged at the highest level. Cutting red tape in the context of FP7 applications is another important challenge for the Commission. It is essential that when businesses and in particular SME’s are applying for funding that the process is as simple and straightforward as possible. Research and innovation are key tools that are at our disposal to help pull Europe out of the economic crisis that we currently face.”