Europe’s research ministers hope to adopt a final decision on Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) in November, enabling the four JTIs proposed so far to get underway in 2008.

At their Competitiveness Council meeting in Brussels on 28 September, the ministers held an exchange of views on the JTIs and underlined a number of key points.

Firstly, JTIs should be set up under Community law as Community bodies, and should take the form of real public/private partnerships with a shared responsibility of industry in the management
of the joint undertakings.

They will not have the status of international organisations, and will be established on the basis of articles 171 and 172 of the EC treaty. They will have a limited duration of 10 years.

The ministers asked the preparatory bodies to continue their technical work based on the Council’s decisions, so that a final decision on the JTIs can be taken at the November Competitiveness
Council. This will ensure that work on the JTIs will be able to start next year.

The European Commission proposed the creation of four JTIs, on innovative medicines (IMI), embedded computing systems (ARTEMIS), nano-electronics technologies (ENIAC) and aeronautics and air
transport (CLEAN SKY) in May and June of this year.

At their summit in June, Europe’s leaders urged the Competitiveness Council to adopt these JTIs quickly. They also asked the Commission to present two further JTIs, on Global Monitoring for
Environment and Security (GMES) and hydrogen and fuel cells, as soon as possible.

Also on the agenda at the Competitiveness Council was the research programme on quality of life for older people, which the Commission adopted in June. The goal of this programme is to enhance
older people’s quality of life through the use of new information and communication technologies (ICT). If approved, it will be funded under Article 169 of the Treaty, which allows for the
participation of the Community in research programmes run jointly by a number of EU Member States.

The proposal was well received by the ministers, who provided political guidance for further work on issues such as selection criteria and funding, and rules of admission for new members.