Pierre Bonnaure criticizes the gap between what European leaders say about research and their policies in practice. He stresses that, while they claim to be committed to raising investment in research to 3 % of GDP by 2010, and to making the European Union "the most dynamic competitive knowledge-based economy in the world", in reality they prove to be incapable of finding the funds necessary to do this, or of devising a proper strategy.
Bonnaure is scathing about this contradiction and shows that, despite the declared objectives, the member nations of the EU (with the notable exception of the Scandinavian countries), a fortiori the EU itself, are unable to make up the shortfall. He seeks explanations for this failure, recounting the ups and downs of French research and of EU programmes, in particular the Framework Programme for Research and Development.
In addition to the inadequacy of public funding and the problems that this can cause, Pierre Bonnaure strongly criticizes the lack of clearly defined priorities (or the choice of the wrong priorities). He argues that these failures have often become quite obvious but no policy has been devised that really deals with them. Finally, he emphasizes the urgent need for investment in R&D to be stepped up (and, at the same time, for the current arrangements to be overhauled) and he stresses the importance of focusing on those fields where Europe has special strengths.