In its Conclusions of 26 April 1994, the Council has reaffirmed its position regarding the Joint Research Centre (JRC). In particular it reaffirms the Community character of the JRC and its role in the achievement of the objectives of the Union as well as the need for the JRC to move towards a more competitive approach on the basis of genuine consumer/contractor relationships. The Council emphasizes the need for the JRC to contribute to EU research policy, particularly in areas where it has special skills and its neutrality is essential for scientific and technical support. It also underlines the need to add new approaches for the JRC whereby it would progressively enter the competitive arena, generally in networks with other laboratories, in specific programmes under the framework programmes to which it can contribute, in support of the EU scientific and technical policies. The Council recognizes that any decision which changes the direction of the JRC must include an action programme which defines the fundamental objectives and allows progress to be evaluated. In its conclusion, the Council has therefore decided that the changes in the JRC should be introduced gradually and progressively during the period 1995-1998. The proportion of JRC activities in the framework programmes to be transferred to the competitive system should average 22% for the Fourth Framework Programme and 10% for the EAEC Framework Programme for the period 1995-1998. In addition the Council endorses guidelines which will be used to define JRC activities in the context of the two framework programmes. The guidelines concern: - Institutional activities: These activities will be funded entirely from the framework programmes, as at present. They include: - Institutional research activities: RTD activities in which the JRC has expertise and special, if not unique, facilities which contribute to the implementation of the EU's research policy. . Institutional support activities: Scientific and technical support activities necessary for the formulation and implementation of EU policies and of the tasks allotted to the Commission. While ensuring maximum flexibility, the financial resources earmarked for these activities will be entered in the research budget and administered by the Commission within a framework giving responsibility to the customer Directorates-General which will use the JRC as a service provider. - Competitive activities under the framework programmes: . Participation of the JRC in shared-cost actions: The JRC, in association with partners in the Member States, will submit proposals in the context of invitations to tender issued by the Commission or will contribute to proposals submitted by other laboratories. . Competitive support measures: Scientific and technical support activities for EU policies which are suited to a competitive approach in the context of a customer/contractor relationship. The JRC may respond to requests from Commission Directorates-General. The financial resources for these activities will be entered in the research budget and will be administered by the customer Directorate-General. - Competitive activities outside the framework programmes: . Activities on behalf of third parties: These activities comprise the conduct of research and the supply of services under contract to third parties, including contracts secured in the context of Member States' RTD programmes. . Other Community activities: The JRC will be able to participate in the various actions introduced by the EU and, in the context of a competitive approach, will seek EU funding in relation to these activities. - Budgetary provisions: For its participation in competitive support activities in the framework programmes, the JRC will charge 100% of its costs. In respect of other competitive activities, the JRC will take part in the same way and under the same conditions as organizations from the Member States. Within the framework programmes (1994-1998), the JRC will be allocated an operational budget of ECU 900 million, which will cover the total funding of its institutional activities and in the case of competitive activities, the costs not covered by shared-cost contracts. - Regulatory provisions: These relate, in particular, to: - Amendments to the Financial Regulation; - Amendments to the nomenclature and structure of the EU budget; - Any necessary adjustments regarding personnel management; - Any amendments which may prove necessary to the JRC's accounting system. - Consequences for the structure of the framework programmes: The Commission will describe the activities of each research programme to be carried out by the JRC and specify the amount allocated to these activities. These activities and amounts will be regrouped into two separate proposals for the JRC which the Commission will submit together with the specific thematic research programme proposals. Systematic exchanges of views will be held between the JRC and the committees for the specific programmes (who will in turn give the Commission their opinions on the various work programmes, with which the JRC's activities must be coordinated). The Council asks that the Commission implement the guidelines from 1 January 1995 and also requests that the Commission submit a progress report to the Council and the European Parliament in 1996. Finally, the Council stresses that the JRC needs to be better integrated into networks with partners belonging to all the Member States, both in its institutional and competitive activities. In particular the JRC should be the driving force in improving links between research laboratories and institutes in all the EU regions.