The European Commission, DG XII, has produced a public version of its working paper entitled "Towards the Fifth Framework Programme - Scientific and Technological Objectives". The paper was adopted on 12 February 1997 (see RTD-News RCN 7752 or CORDIS Focus No 81). This, the Commission's second working paper, sets out its thinking on the areas in which research will be supported under the new Programme. It expands the three thematic and three horizontal research activities, first put forward in July 1996 in "Inventing Tomorrow", by setting out a number of key actions within each of three thematic programmes. The working paper is intended to foster discussion of the scientific and technological objectives of the Fifth Framework Programme, by giving a detailed outline of the possible research content of the Programme. These proposed objectives were selected on the basis of an analysis of the socio-economic and technological situation in Europe, and the conclusions of the evaluation of previous Framework Programmes. The Commission intends to publish its formal proposal for the Programme in April, following its finalization. This proposal will then be transmitted to the European Parliament and Council, who will decide the final shape and content of the Fifth Framework Programme.