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Rules for participation in the RTD programmes of the EC and EAEC: Commission proposal

Two related proposals for Council Decisions concern the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in the specific programmes of research, technological development and demonstration of the European Community (EC) and the European Atomic Ene...

Two related proposals for Council Decisions concern the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in the specific programmes of research, technological development and demonstration of the European Community (EC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC). These cover the participation of organizations within the Member States and those in third countries or countries which have a scientific and technical cooperation agreement with the European Union. The Commission's proposal for the Fourth Framework Programme for research and technological development, 1994-1998, and for research and training for the European Atomic Energy Community, 1994-1998 (COM(93) 276) was submitted to the Council in June 1993. In addition, a working document on the scientific and technical content of the specific programmes was published in October 1993 (COM(93) 459) to further advance the discussions on the Framework Programmes and to enable the Commission to seek the views of interested parties prior to the preparation and submission of the formal proposals for each of these programmes. In order to enable Community RTD activities under the specific programmes to be implemented effectively, a third level of Decisions must be established, as the Council is also required by the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty) to determine the rules for participation in the RTD programmes. These rules are subject to the "cooperation procedure" of legislative process, which requires two readings of the proposal by the European Parliament. However, a more rapid procedure is followed in the case of the proposals for the specific programmes themselves, which requires consultation alone between the Council and the European Parliament. This being the case, to permit the adoption of the specific programmes and the "Rules" within a similar timescale it is immediately necessary to develop and submit the "Rules" proposal before the final adoption of the Forth Framework Programme. The two proposals take account of the future emphasis on RTD cooperation and greater synergy with third countries and international organizations and the widening of the scope for tangible RTD cooperation emerging from recent changes. These include the Agreement on the European Economic Area, political developments and moves to market economies in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, plus the greater focus on the role of science and technology for developing countries. Increased cooperation with other European actions such as COST and EUREKA is also taken into account. The Commission has laid down the overall guidelines for such cooperation in the working document on the scientific and technological content of the specific programmes. Hence, the Rules now proposed which set out the territorial requirements for organizations seeking to participate in Community RTD activities, particularly RTD projects, are wider than the arrangements adopted for previous Framework Programmes. At the same time, the need for multipartner, transnational cooperation with Community-based organizations has been maintained. In addition, the Rules concerning participation maintain the distinction between collaboration (with the possibility of a financial contribution from the Community), and cooperation (without any financial contribution). The former is limited to associated states contributing to the Community budget, on the basis of a ratio founded on respective GDPs, and in the case of other states, only in accordance with measures specifically foreseen within Activity 2 of the Fourth Framework Programme (international cooperation on RTD). The proposed Rules are intended to provide more flexible participation opportunities for organizations from states which have concluded scientific and technical cooperation agreements with the EU. They should enable effective collaboration between Community-based organizations and the third state organizations to be developed, reflecting the evolution of the scientific and technical cooperation at state level under the bilateral agreements.

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