Too often, European regulations and directives have been proposed with far-reaching consequences for universities, research centres and the people who work there, but with little or no consideration of these implications.
Therefore, in an open letter addressed to Ilze Juhansone, Secretary-General of the European Commission, organisations representing the research and higher education sectors, including the European University Association (EUA), have today called on the Commission to better consider the sector’s needs when developing legislation. In particular, the eight signatories* pinpoint prioritising research and education in the ex-ante impact assessment process as a key measure to achieve this.
Moreover, the letter proposes concrete steps, including a review of the Union's Innovation Principle, which is currently focused only on private-sector research, as well as an update of its tools for impact assessment and more effective outreach both between European Commission's services and to stakeholders. Finally, it urges rapid steps to correct the uncertainties caused by recent legislation.
Welcoming the publication of the open letter, EUA Secretary General Amanda Crowfoot noted its correlation with one of the key messages of the Association’s recent publication A renewed social contract for Europe and its universities, the ‘university check’. She added that "Universities need clear and predictable rules and regulations, as well as a regulatory framework that ensures their institutional autonomy and academic freedom. Therefore, the European University Association is pleased to join partners from across the world of research and higher education in calling for more thorough consideration of the effects of proposed European legislation on this vital sector. Indeed, this is perfectly aligned with EUA’s recent proposal for a ‘university check’ during the legislative process that would actively involve universities and ensure that new legislation does not hinder their education and R&I activities."
*European University Association (EUA), The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21), LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries), Science Europe, SPARC Europe, Stichting eIFL.net (EIFL).