Fourth Framework Programme: Agreement reached at conciliation meeting The conciliation procedure between the Council and the European Parliament on the Fourth Framework Programme was successfully concluded on Monday 21 March 1994. This agreement concerns both the Fourth Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstrati... The conciliation procedure between the Council and the European Parliament on the Fourth Framework Programme was successfully concluded on Monday 21 March 1994. This agreement concerns both the Fourth Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (1994-1998) and the Framework Programme for research and training for the European Atomic Energy Community (1994-1998). The main points of the common position now established by the representatives of the two institutions are as follows: Previous to the conciliation agreement, the Council's common position foresaw an overall budget of ECU 12 billion with a possible increase of ECU 1 billion in 1996. The maximum overall budget for the two Framework Programmes will now be ECU 12.3 billion (ECU 11.046 billion for Fourth Framework Programme and ECU 1.254 billion for the EAEC Framework Programme). However, this budget may be increased by an additional ECU 0.7 billion, again by codecision procedure, at the latest by 30 June 1996. The indicative budget for the Framework Programmes is agreed at ECU 5.472 billion for 1994-1996 and ECU 5.474 billion for 1997-1998. The overall ECU 11.046 billion for the Fourth Framework Programme is to be shared among the various actions within the Framework Programmes as follows: - Action 1 (programmes of research, technological development and demonstration), ECU 9.432 billion; - Action 2 (international cooperation), ECU 540 million; - Action 3 (dissemination and valorization of research results), ECU 330 million; - Action 4 (training and mobility of researchers), ECU 744 million. The global budget for the operation of the Joint Research Centre is agreed at ECU 900 million, of which the budget for activities under the Fourth Framework Programme is ECU 600 million (the European Parliament previously requested ECU 619 million while the Council foresaw ECU 575 million). The Parliament's representatives consider that this increase is "sufficient to guarantee the operations of the JCR". However, the Parliamentary delegation did not associate itself with the Council's declaration on the JCR, particularly where this concerned the Council's view on the rate at which the JRC will be opened to competitivity. Again with regard to the JRC, the two delegations agreed in a joint declaration that the Commission, when putting forward each of its proposals on the specific programmes within the Fourth Framework Programme, should separate the activities and budget associated with the JRC. These shall become the subject of a further proposal to be presented at the same time as the proposals on the specific programmes. A number of further points were established during the conciliation procedure: - The European Parliament required that 60% of the funding for non-nuclear energies should be dedicated to renewable energy sources. The Commission has agreed to respect this proportion in its proposal for the specific programme on non-nuclear energies; - The Parliament will not approve the common position on the Fourth Framework Programme unless the Commission puts forward, as rapidly as possible, a proposal for the continuation of the THERMIE programme. The present THERMIE programme supports demonstration actions which are closer to the market than the research activities within the Framework Programmes. - Also at the request of the Parliament, the Commission must ensure that, in the event of the adhesion of EFTA countries to the European Union, a proposal will be made for a corresponding adjustment the global budget for the Framework Programme. Other aspects of the agreement include that: Particular attention will be paid to socio-economic research; that new methods and technologies will be developed in support of the environment and the quality of life; the Commission will ensure the systematic assessment of the implementation of the Framework Programme (particularly with the aid of independent experts). With regard to questions still outstanding on commitology; the Council considers that these matters fall outside the context of the conciliation process. Under the rules governing the conciliation procedure, the common position reached by the two institutions must now become legislation within a period of six weeks in order to complete the codecision process established by the Maastricht treaty. This requires that the European Parliament accepts the common position, within the time limit, by a vote requiring a simple majority. The Council must, during the same time, accept it unanimously.