Members of the EIT Governing Board held a high-level lunch meeting with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso
Members of the EIT Governing Board held a high-level lunch meeting with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Vice-President Günter Verheugen (Enterprise and Industry) and Commissioners Ján Figel' (Education, Training, Culture and Youth) and Janez Potočnik (Science and Research) to discuss the EIT's progress made to date.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, President Barroso highlighted the milestones the EIT Governing Board has achieved since its inauguration on 15th September 2008. He said that in spite of pessimistic voices when the initiative was first proposed, "the EIT is today a promising reality". He was very encouraged by the EIT Governing Board's commitment and congratulated them for having acted swiftly to set up the selection process for the Knowledge and Innovation Communities.
President Barroso also emphasised the role of the EIT in the EU's road to recovery from the current economic crisis, saying the EIT had the potential to be a powerful new driver of sustainable growth and competitiveness in Europe: "Its Knowledge and Innovation Communities are a concrete example of the type of action we need." He confirmed his commitment to ensuring the EIT's success in the future, in particular through further encouraging active business participation in the EIT and efforts to allocate additional budgetary resources to the EIT.
Martin Schuurmans, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, underlined that the EIT was a new concept – even an experiment – that should help Europe "to move away from being perceived as low in innovation and instead embrace its innovation potential".