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EGU news Scientific community strongly supports European integration and cooperation

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European Geosciences Union

Scientific community strongly supports European integration and cooperation

10 April 2019

The General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), held in Vienna this week, devoted a special session to the topic of European integration in the perspective of scientists, entitled “Science, Politics and European (dis)integration: A Conversation of Geoscientists with Ilaria Capua and Mario Monti” on 10 April.

Whilst fully respecting the EGU’s non-political nature, the discussion brought out clearly the deep interdependence between European integration and the advancements of scientific research in Europe and globally. At a time when European integration is confronted, more than ever before, with internal challenges and external threats, and some disintegration is openly envisaged and actually occurring, a serious concern emerged at the Assembly for what that would mean for the future of European scientists, for transnational scientific collaboration and thus of science at the global level.

In view of these circumstances and concerns, the EGU Council issued the following Declaration.

The European Geosciences Union supports a united Europe for the benefit of global scientific research

The European scientific research community, which has benefited from trans-national funding opportunities from the EU over the last 25 years, has been highly successful and it has allowed the most talented European scientists to create synergies which have generated enormous advancements in the global research agenda. Countless studies have demonstrated the value and importance of research and innovation for the economy, prosperity, well being and global standing of Europe. The economic arguments are clear. For every euro invested in research and innovation, the return into the economy is multiplied by between a factor 6 to 8.

Beyond the simple economic principles, it is also widely recognised that European Framework programmes provide a unique and critical mechanism for fostering and enabling trans-national collaboration on research and innovation. To tackle the greatest challenges that we face such as antibiotic resistant bacteria, climate change, energy, food and water security, the scientific community within Europe needs to work together, pooling complementary skills, expertise and infrastructure, and share data and information within an open and unified environment. The benefits of open, cross-border funding of research and innovation are enormous. They allow the research community to tackle problems that would otherwise be impossible to address, benefiting society as a whole.

The rise and instantaneous dissemination of “fake news”, biased reporting, social media bots and malicious state actors presents a major challenge to both scientists and politicians alike. Populist agendas fueled by these forces, threaten European integration and, in the process, scientific integration and collaboration. The EGU firmly believes that threats to a united Europe are threats to scientific research.

EGU is committed to standing up for international cooperation in science and taking a leading role within the scientific community in order to reduce barriers to scientific collaboration and cooperation across Europe, let alone increase them, as these would be a tremendous loss to European nations, to the international scientific community and to humanity as a whole.

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The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It is a non-profit interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002 with headquarters in Munich, Germany. The EGU publishes a number of diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open access format, and organises a number of topical meetings, and education, policy and outreach activities. Its annual General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting over 14,000 scientists from all over the world.