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Nature
Nature

01/12/1994

Antonio Ruberti, the European Union’s research commissioner who will return to Italy as a professor of systems analysis at the University La Sapienza at the end of the year, is doing everything he can to leave a clear desk for Mme Edith Cresson, the former French prime minister, who is due to succeed him in January.

Ruberti is proud of his two-year stint as a member of the European Commission. A likeable man, he has persuaded most people to like him. In Strasbourg to address the European Science Foundation, Ruberti says that the European Science and Technology Assembly (which he set up) is going to be “an independent voice” within the European Union.

But his chief remaining task is to win the approval of the Council of Ministers of a policy to coordinate national research policies within the EU, in order fully to implement the Maastricht Treaty. “Articles 139 H, K & L” repeat all those in Ruberti’s circle who know the reference.

Ruberti is confident that he will leave a commission more aware of the importance of research than when he joined, and remains passionate on the importance of links between research and the wider culture. He pleaded last week for an open system of science and technology that would, among other things, be responsive to the economic needs of Europe.