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Research Council: Fourth Framework Programme moves ahead

The Council and the Ministers for Research of the Member States meeting within the Council (29 April 1993) closed on a generally positive note from all delegates concerning the development of the Fourth Framework Programme as presented, by Commissioner Ruberti, in the Commissi...

The Council and the Ministers for Research of the Member States meeting within the Council (29 April 1993) closed on a generally positive note from all delegates concerning the development of the Fourth Framework Programme as presented, by Commissioner Ruberti, in the Commission's second working document on the programme (COM (93) 158 of 22 .04.1993). The President, Mr. Svend Bergstein, referring to the informal three-party discussions held on 16 April 1993, reminded the Council that Commissioner Ruberti had announced that a new text, consolidating the first two Commission working documents (the first prepared by Mr. Pandolfi, the second by Mr. Ruberti), would be prepared in May 1993 in the form of a proposal for a Council Decision. Following the three-party discussions between the Commission, Parliament and the Council, planned for the second half of May 1993, research Ministers will be presented with the final document plus a document concerning the specific programmes within the programme. The Ministers have agreed to consolidate efforts in getting the new Framework Programme approved before the end of this year. The question of the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty by all 12 Member States makes this, as yet, difficult to confirm with certainty. If the Treaty is ratified, the programme could be adopted through the new co-decision process. If not, the cooperation procedure would be applied. Commissioner Ruberti presented a series of proposals intended to improve the management of the Framework Programme. Welcomed by the Ministers, they are likely to be applied to the third Framework Programme through to its completion. Commissioner Ruberti's proposals included: - Regular publication of calls for proposals for research programmes (ie, publication at a number of fixed dates during the year); - Increased specificity of calls for proposals; - A renewed mobility of the experts involved in the selection procedure. Commissioner Bangemann stressed the importance of increasing industrial competitiveness, underlining the role of information technologies, production and transport and telecommunications infrastructures. Targeting flexibility as another important objective, he insisted on the elimination of administrative impediments. Finally, he pointed to the importance of the dissemination of research results as a key element to building effective cohesion and synergy in Community research. The Council concluded that the Community should maintain its priority of supporting precompetitive general research with a multi-sectoral application approach. The budget allocated to the Fourth Framework Programme, ECU 13.1 billion, though not discussed in great detail, was generally considered by most Council Members as an acceptable starting point for discussions.

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