Europe’s future depends on robust, open and free science and education – European academies of science issue joint statement

A joint declaration has been issued by the academies of science or equivalent scientific bodies of the 27 EU Member States, drawing attention to the importance of science and research. The declaration is addressed to all of the candidates standing for the European Parliament elections and, more broadly, to all interested parties, reminding them of the key role that science plays in the future of the European Union. The document was signed by Tamás Freund, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, on behalf of the Academy.

2024. május 21.

The declaration is based on the premise that science, innovation, the flow of knowledge, the free sharing of research results and ideas, and critical thinking are essential for the freedom, resilience and global competitiveness of the European Union as a whole. “But to promote and support these, we need stable and greater investment than at present in research and education across Europe, and policymakers must be vigilant about research freedom,” the declaration said.

Read the full statement here.

Since the structure and legal functioning of the European Union have the characteristics of both a federation and a confederation, the powers and work of the European Parliament cannot be exactly compared with those of a Member State’s parliament; in any case, direct elections give the body strong legitimacy. The EP is the co-legislative body of the Union, together with the European Council, which brings together the heads of government and ministers. The EU budget is also adopted by the EP together with the Council. It is important that MEPs scrutinise the work of the EU institutions; therefore, the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, also falls under this supervisory authority.

At the EP’s committee and plenary meetings, a wide range of issues concerning science and research are discussed, both broadly and narrowly. Most recently, for example, the EP took a decision on a biotechnology issue: in early February 2024, by a narrow majority, MEPs relaxed EU rules on genetically modified crops.