The EIT is a proud member of the EU family. We are a swift and flexible EU body that operates independently of the EU institutions and has its own legal personality. Nonetheless, we cooperate closely with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
The European Commission plays a major role in the strategic and daily work of the EIT. The Commission appoints the members of our Governing Board and designates an observer to take part in their meetings. Commission staff also work with us on a day-to-day basis to ensure fluid communication and coordination. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, whose portfolio covers innovation, research, culture, education and youth, is our key partner in the College of Commissioners. The Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture is our main interlocutor on the institutional level.
The EIT maintains close relations with other branches of the Commission as well. In 2016, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Commission’s Joint Research Centre covering regional development, education and skills, and knowledge management. In January 2021, another MoU was signed with the European Innovation Council (EIC), part of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, to ensure the complementarity of our work to support innovators and entrepreneurs across Europe. A formal agreement is also in the works with the Directorate General for Environment regarding Circular Economy and Environmental Technology Verification.
Our Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) also work closely with the European Commission to inform policymaking and better align with EU priorities. For example, EIT Health and EIT Food have set up Policy Advisory Boards that include high-level Commission representatives to ensure their complementarity with EU leadership and goals. The EIT’s KICs also contribute to and lead critical EU initiatives such as the Strategic Energy Technology Plan, the European Battery Alliance, Digital Education Action Plan, and the European Raw Materials Alliance.
The European Parliament is another key stakeholder and partner of the EIT. Two parliamentary committees have a particularly large stake in our work: the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT). ITRE is responsible for EU research and innovation policy and the activities of various research-related institutions, including the EIT. CULT, on the other hand, is responsible for cultural and educational policy, including policymaking for the cultural and creative industries.
The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) also has an important bearing on our work. It is responsible for controlling and monitoring the correct use of the EU budget (EUR 169 billion in 2020). Its members scrutinise the implementation of the EU budget by and lead the annual discharge of all EU institutions and bodies, including the EIT. Finally, the Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) deals with issues close to our work. The Panel is composed of 27 Members of the European Parliament who are nominated by 10 permanent committees of the EP. Their primary mission is to offer European policy-makers impartial and accessible information about developments in science and technology.
Council of the EU
The Council of the EU negotiates and adopts legislative acts and coordinates Member States’ policies. Its Working Party on Research is an important preparatory body that discusses research and innovation-related programmes and instruments, including the EIT. The EIT is in regular formal and informal engagement with this Council preparatory body. At the invitation of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, our Director has participated in a number of Working Party on Research meetings to present the EIT’s activities and achievements. Additionally, the Working Party visited our Co-Location Centres in Eindhoven and Berlin under the Maltese and Bulgarian Presidencies to experience first-hand the EIT Community’s work in action.
European Innovation Council (EIC)
The European Innovation Council (EIC) and EIT are working together to strengthen our cooperation to support the best European entrepreneurs. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the beginning of 2021 which paved the way to strengthen the support that the EIC and EIT are already providing to thousands of innovative start-ups and SMEs to scale up in Europe and ensure mutual access to advisory services and networks.
This cooperation has already allowed us to fast-track support to highly innovative start-ups, and many more actions are in the pipeline.