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Conclusions of the Research Council of 9 June 1995

At the Research Council in Luxembourg on 9 June 1995, the Ministers debated the following topics: - Coordination of research activities through cooperation; - Adjustment of the Fourth Framework Programme following the accession of the new Member States; - ITER project; - Coop...

At the Research Council in Luxembourg on 9 June 1995, the Ministers debated the following topics: - Coordination of research activities through cooperation; - Adjustment of the Fourth Framework Programme following the accession of the new Member States; - ITER project; - Cooperation with the New Independent States; - Meeting with Research Ministers from Central and Eastern Europe. The Council reached the following conclusions: - Coordination of research activities through cooperation: The Council discussed the Commission's 1994 communication on improving coordination on research activities and policy in the European Union. The Council concluded that the exchange of information between the Member States should be intensified through the establishment of ad hoc committees to assist the Commission in implementing various specific programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme. Furthermore, cooperation should be strengthened on several new concrete topics, including bio-ethics, taxation, intellectual property, risk capital structures, heavy equipment and future projects, in particular projects being developed by the new task forces set up to develop research projects of common industrial interest. - Adjustment of the Fourth Framework Programme following the accession of the new Member States: The Council held a first debate on the Commission's proposal to increase the financial envelope of the Fourth Framework Programme and its specific programmes by 7%, following the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden. Consensus was agreed on the principle of increasing the allocation, subject to the opinion of the European Parliament. - ITER project: The Council discussed recent developments flowing from the ITER project on an experimental controlled thermonuclear fusion research reactor, involving the European Union, the USA, Japan and Russia. The Council requested the Member States to reply swiftly to the questionnaire on the relevant national rules and administrative procedures governing the selection of sites for such reactors. The administrative council of the ITER is due to produce an interim project report in July on the technical options, construction costs and technical specifications needed to select a construction site. The Council will discuss the findings of the report at its October session. - Cooperation with the New Independent States: The Council carried out a first examination of the Commission's communication, which proposes to refocus efforts on scientific and technological cooperation with the New Independent States. Much of the discussion centred on the future of INTAS, the association created in 1993 to support researchers in the New Independent States, and of which the European Union, the Member States, and Norway are members. The Council was divided over the issue and agreed to discuss it again at its October session. In the meantime, the Council requested an ad hoc group, comprising representatives from the Member States, the general assembly of INTAS and the Commission, to examine methods of improving INTAS's functioning. - Meeting with Research Ministers from Central and Eastern Europe: The Council had its first meeting with the Research Ministers of the Central and East European countries. They expressed their desire to intensify their efforts on training researchers, notably through scientific exchanges under TEMPUS and COPERNICUS. They also emphasized the need for PHARE funding to improve their R&D infrastructures and the importance of the Fourth Framework Programme for their activities. They explained to the Council that they wish to have greater participation in programmes like EUREKA and COST. The Council also heard Mrs. Cresson, Commissioner for science, research and development, education and training, setting out the missions of the new task forces set up to develop research projects of common industrial interest on: - Multimedia educational software; - The car of the future; - The new generation of aeroplanes; - Vaccines and virus-based diseases; - The train of the future; - Transport intermodality. The Council widely supported this joint initiative of Mrs. Cresson, Mr. Bangemann and Mr. Kinnock but sought assurances that the Member States would be more involved in the work of the task forces, that the benefits of these projects would benefit all Member States and that these six priority themes would not prejudge the priorities of the new Fifth Framework Programme.

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