The Council will meet on 4 March 1994 to examine the European Parliament's Opinion on the proposal for the Fourth Framework Programme of research and technological development (1994-1998). Parliament, at its second reading of the proposal on 10 February 1994, included in its Opinion amendments requiring an increase in the overall budget for the Framework Programme of ECU 400 million. The proposed additional funds are to be allocated principally to Activity 2 (international cooperation) and Activity 3 (dissemination and valorization of results). In addition, the European Parliament voted to increase the budget for the Joint Research Centre, so as to ensure a more gradual development of the JRC's competitiveness than that set out in the Council's common position. A further amendment concerns the Council's division of the global budget into two sums covering the periods 1994-1996 and 1996-1998. The Opinion will now go before the Council for final consideration. The European Parliament's amendments must be accepted unanimously by the Council in order for the Decision to be established. It is probable that the Council, at the 4 March meeting (Research), will consider that it is not in a position to accept all the amendments voted by the European Parliament. This being the case, the Council will formally request a meeting of the Conciliation Committee according to the procedures established in the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty). A rapid agreement may be possible under the conciliation procedure, given that the positions expressed by Council and the Parliament are relatively close. The Conciliation Committee brings together the Members of the Council and representatives of the European Parliament in order to reach agreement on the proposal in question. When an agreement is reached (within six weeks of the Committee's convocation), the modified proposal must then be accepted by a qualified majority of the Council and an absolute majority of the European Parliament. If agreement is not reached, the proposal is rejected. However, the Council may reaffirm its common position (possibly including some of Parliament's amendments), which is then adopted as a Directive unless the European Parliament votes against it by an absolute majority. The European Commission contributes to the work of the Conciliation Committee and takes any initiatives required to facilitate agreement between the Council and the European Parliament.
Policy making and guidelines
Fourth Framework Programme: Commission communication to the European Parliament on the Council's common position
7 February 1994