As a result of the floods that recently ravaged entire regions of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France, Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research and development, declared that the EU must mobilize all scientific means to understand the phenomenon of flooding and prevent it from recurring. Mrs. Cresson's declaration came after a meeting in Maastricht between representatives of the riverside regions of the Rhine and the Meuse. The aim of the meeting was to launch a research programme on floods. As a first step in this direction, the Commission is organizing a scientific workshop in Brussels, on 25 April, in order to finalize research projects which will create computer models of the Rhine and Meuse basins, to better understand the construction norms and destruction mechanisms of dikes. This workshop will be preceded on 28 and 29 March in Brussels by three expert meetings financed by the specific RTD programme for environment and climate. The meetings will examine the research possibilities for the early detection of floods based on the abovementioned computer models, which should be up and running in two years. In recent years, the Commission has supported a number of research projects on natural phenomena, including extreme phenomena such as flooding. The specific programme on environment and climate, allocated a budget of ECU 532 million under the Fourth Framework Programme, foresees the development of methodologies for forecasting floods by means of in-situ data and teledetection (radar systems and satellites). Another of the programme's research themes concerns developing measures for forecasting the extreme effects of rainfall.