THERMIE and the specific programmes for research
On 25 October 1994, Mr. Scapagnini, President of the Parliamentary Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy (CRTDE), made a statement to the press regarding the THERMIE programme and the specific programmes for research under the Fourth Framework programme. Mr. Scapagnini expressed his disappointment at the Council's decision not to adopt the THERMIE II programme. He recalled that in April 1994, during the last phase of negotiation on the Fourth Framework Programme, the European Parliament, acting for the first time under the "codecision" procedure with the Council, had tried everything to reach an agreement rapidly. The Council, requiring unanimity, had taken a long time to adopt its common position. While the Parliament was keen to enable Community researchers to begin work as soon as possible, it had no intention of abandoning certain positions it judged essential, for example on the Joint Research Centre or non-nuclear energy. It could not, therefore, accept that a vital part of the THERMIE programme, namely the market-oriented promotion of non-nuclear energies, be simply abandoned for the single reason that the Framework Programme, which absorbed a part of THERMIE, did not have room for it. During the final negotiations on the Framework Programme, the Parliament successfully insisted that the Commission initiate a THERMIE II programme, for the period 1995-1998, in order to extend the deployment and diffusion on the market of new non-polluting technologies in the field of non-nuclear energy. The Parliament wanted to stop the reduction of efforts aimed at the demonstration of these technologies and to maintain a balance between Community actions in favour of nuclear technologies and its actions in favour of other technologies. On 25 October, however, the Council decided de facto not to adopt the THERMIE II programme. At the 1995 budgetary vote on 27 October, the Parliament, however, in conformity with the Budget Committee's proposal, will certainly re-establish the amount (ECU 30 million) removed by the Council. For its part, the CRTDE has decided to pursue the strategy implemented by the Parliament on the negotiation of the Fourth Framework Programme, by linking the specific research programmes and the THERMIE programme: research, technological development, "technical" demonstration and "economic" demonstration will be regarded as a whole. Consequently, the CRTDE, which had been ready to finish examining the specific programmes, has asked to remove the debate and the vote on the specific programmes from this session's agenda. The next Parliamentary plenary sessions will be in Strasbourg on 14-16 November, and in Brussels on 30 November and 1 December. The Energy Council will meet on 29 November, and the Research Council on 1 December 1994.