The Minister for Science and Innovation (Ian Pearson): The following statement provides information on the Competitiveness Council that took place in Brussels on 29-30 May. The research session of the Council was held on 30 May and was chaired by Mojca Kucler Dolinar, Slovenian Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology. A ministerial dinner took place on 29 May to discuss the location of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). I represented the UK at the dinner and at the Council.
The Council adopted a Council regulation establishing a joint undertaking to implement a joint technology initiative (JTI) for fuel cells and hydrogen. The JTI is expected to be launched as soon as possible.
The Council agreed a resolution on a code of practice on intellectual property for universities and other public research organisations, and agreed conclusions on European research infrastructures, family-friendly scientific careers, and the launch of the Ljubljana process, an initiative which aims to agree a long-term vision and governance structure for the European research area (ERA). I reiterated the UKs support of the Ljubljana process and its aims, and emphasised the importance of recognising business investment in R&D and getting the framework conditions right to better encourage this. I also stressed the need to develop a fully effective external angle to the ERA in order to help address the global challenges of climate change, food supply, and energy sustainability.
Under any other business, the Council took note of presentations by the Commission on better careers and more mobility for European researchers, and on a code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research. I intervened on nano research, reiterating the UKs support for the code and stressed the need to encourage its uptake. I emphasised the need for better co-ordinated research and regulation on nano research in order to help fill the gaps in knowledge that currently exist in the development and use of this technology, particularly in respect to addressing concerns on health and safety and the potential effects on the environment.
The Council also took note of presentations by the presidency on the progress of two proposals for decisions to set up research initiatives based on article 169 of the treaty (Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) and Eurostars), and on improving EU-Russia research links.
The Council could not reach the consensus needed to agree the location of the EIT administrative headquarters at the ministerial dinner on 29 May, and has agreed to meet again on 18 June to revisit the issue.
to make the UK a world-leading sporting nation;
to transform the heart of East London;
to inspire a generation of young people;
to make the Olympic park a blueprint for sustainable living; and
to demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, to visit and for business.
The plan outlines the ways in which the Government will deliver on these promises through new programmes and the unique added value of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to existing programmes. As such there is no discrete legacy budget; rather we are creating Olympic value by drawing together programmes from across Government.
A robust and transparent governance system has also been put in place to drive progress, and this will be monitored alongside the delivery of PSA 22a successful Olympic Games and Paralympic Games with a sustainable legacy, with more children and young people taking part in high quality PE and sport.
This is the Governments first detailed statement on legacy, and it is the first time that a host city has published such a document before their olympiad has even begun. Further programmes will be created, and existing programmes and ideas developed over the next four years. We will report on progress regularly.
Copies of the legacy action plan are available at www.culture.gov.uk and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
We have taken steps to improve the accountability of the security and intelligence services. There will be further steps in that direction in the Constitutional Renewal Bill, which has been published in draft. As I mentioned in response to an earlier question, there will be a possibility for pre-appointment hearings
by Select Committees, which are an important measure of accountability. I have heard my hon. Friends points, and I will bring them to the attention of the relevant Ministers.[Official Report, 22 May 2008; Vol. 476; c.408]
I would like to clarify that the Constitutional Renewal Bill does not contain provisions to improve the
accountability of the security and intelligence services. However, the accompanying Constitutional Renewal White Paper does contain proposals to make significant changes to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the Intelligence and Security Committee through a resolution of both Houses.