Commissioner Ruberti made a statement on 4 March 1994, following the opening of the Conciliation procedure to reach agreement between the Council and the European Parliament on the proposal for the Fourth Framework Programme. The Commissioner stated that, during the preceding months of the negotiations on the Fourth Framework Programme, the Commission has pursued twin objectives. These were to ensure, on the one hand, that Community research receives the financial resources it requires to continue its indispensable development effort and to achieve the aims set out in the Commission's White Paper on Competitivity, Growth and Employment, and, on the other hand, to reach such an agreement taking into account the electoral calendar of the European Parliament, in order to permit the necessary Decisions on the specific RTD programmes to be made during 1994. In this difficult exercise, Commissioner Ruberti considers, both the Council and the Parliament have demonstrated great responsibility, the Council in the establishment of its common position, and the Parliament in presenting only a limited number of amendments. Commissioner Ruberti pointed out that the distance which now separates these two positions is narrow. He reaffirmed his conviction that, if an effort is now made which is proportionate to what is at stake, the final steps to an agreement can be taken within the time available. The next meeting of the Conciliation Committee, which is composed of Members of the European Council or their representatives and Members of the European Parliament, will take place on 21 March 1994.