As we approach the review of the first three-year cycle of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs and the launch of the second cycle in 2008, it is a good time to assess progress made and discuss future orientations on one of its core elements the European Research Area (ERA).

In a changing world characterised by the accelerating globalisation of research and technology and the emergence of new scientific and technological powers notably China and India the European Research Area is more than ever a cornerstone for a European knowledge society.

Such a society is one where research, education, training and innovation are fully mobilised to fulfil the economic, social and environmental ambitions of the EU and the expectations of its citizens.

Based on an assessment of the situation in these main areas, this Green Paper raises a number of questions on how to deepen and widen the European Research Area so that it fully contributes to the renewed Lisbon strategy. It intends to launch a wide institutional and public debate with a view to preparing initiatives for 2008.

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