European Union nations must put in place a system that helps researchers get visas easier and more quickly, according to a bundle of new measures adopted by the European Council this month. The goal of the program is to make Europe a more attractive place for overseas scientists to work, officials said.

The package is the latest in a series of steps aimed at boosting the bloc's position in world research, spurred by fears that it is losing ground to the US and Asia. Other measures have included establishing a new European Research Council to stimulate basic research, and a proposal to double the budget for EU-funded science.

But the region also has to deal with a manpower problem, according to officials. "Basically, we need more researchers," said Antiona Mochan, spokeswoman for science and research at the European Commission, the EU body which proposes new legislation.

That shortfall needs to...

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