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Speakers corner 21 September 2020

This is the moment for Europe: Reconciling actions with political discourse

Dear readers,

September radiates a strange feeling of back to “abnormal”. While striving to mimic, as closely as possible, something that resembles the routine we were used to, one realizes how such an approach is unsustainable in the face of the uncertainty casted by the current crisis.

Sounding like another ultimate wake up call, the COVID-19 crisis looks in many respects as a “demo version” of the significantly broader imminent climate emergency. Both are global, systemic, multi-dimensional, societal, highly geopolitical and have no simple response strategy. 

When human survival is at stake, international solidarity and cooperation should obviously be the only responses. Competition and rule of market then become simply irrelevant. One could easily figure how much the fragmentation of research, the financial and political competition and the absence of global governance are deterrent in the human response to Covid.  UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres perfectly framed it: “A Covid vaccine should be a global common good, not a commercial product”. A cry in the dark; a small group of wealthy nations, representing less than 15% of the world population, has already secured more than 50% of the promised doses of such vaccine.  

In a world of broken multilateralism and escalating geopolitical tensions, European leaders must demonstrate decisive political leadership in order to restate fundamental European values and further strengthen European solidarity and cooperation. As vividly conveyed by President von der Leyen in her recent address on the State of the Union: “This is the moment for Europe”. Indeed, this is the moment for the EU, Member States and Associated Countries to emerge stronger and to reconcile political discourse with action. It is notably the moment to recognize that increased climate ambitions are not compatible with shrinking the EU’s research budget.

EERA strongly believes in the virtues of solidarity and collaboration. Through its work, it has been instrumental in supporting Europe securing leadership in several key low-carbon technologies and becoming the frontrunner in the transition towards a climate-neutral society.
We are honored to note that EERA constitutes a flagship successful example of large-scale, pan-European research cooperation.

We will strive to further boost European research collaboration and to best support Europe reaching its overarching objective of becoming the first climate-neutral society by 2050.

Adel El Gammal,

Secretary General