Wednesday, July 8, 2015
J211 (13 rue de l'Université)
European research and higher education policy has widely taken place alongside directly applicable EU law. The latter can thus cause constraints for national policies even if these have been encouraged by education and research policies at the EU level. Only a limited number of instruments such as the ‘Community Framework for state aid for research and development and innovation’ took into account such potential conflicts through detailed and complicated guidance for exemptions from EU state aid law. The framework has recently been revised trying to clarify certain issues which has taken half a year longer than envisaged potentially due to the complexity of the matter. Does this and other (limited) developments in the sphere of directly applicable EU law indicate that education and research policies are beginning to play a stronger, more integrated role in the EU? If so, does the path chosen reflect the needs and expectations of students, academics and the general public? The paper will first discuss the current situation in which the directly applicable hard law frame is widely separate from EU research and education policy. It will then analyse the Research Framework and the General Block Exemption Regulation as a current exemptions where state aid law has been tentatively streamlined with some of the aims of EU research policy. The final part of the paper will look into the consequences of the chosen paths and assess potential alternatives.