The Council of EU Research Ministers, meeting in Brussels on 14-15 May 1997, held its third structured dialogue with Ministers from the ten associated Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). The discussions centred on the future Fifth Framework Programme for research and technological development and were aimed at obtaining a clear insight into the views of the CEECs on the substance of the Fifth Framework Programme and on their participation in it. EU Ministers took note of the priorities expressed by the CEECs on the content of the Fifth Framework Programme and agreed to take their views into account in the ongoing discussions on the scientific and technological content of the Programme. In addition, the Commission was invited to examine, with the CEECs, ways and means of facilitating the transition to full association with the Fifth Framework Programme. CEEC and EU Ministers further agreed: - To intensify the dialogue on RTD policy issues, notably by: . Promoting the exchange of views between Member State experts participating in programme committees and CEEC experts participating in these programmes; . Increasing the participation of CEEC experts in project evaluation panels and in the annual programme monitoring panels; - To make full use of the possibilities for cooperation in the wider European context, in particular through COST and EUREKA; - To explore means of facilitating CEEC participation in the Fifth Framework Programme, possibly through greater use of PHARE funds. They will also examine the Commission's proposals concerning degressive financing; - To examine other possibilities offered by the INCO programme, with particular emphasis on the promotion of centres of excellence in the CEECs and on networking with other centres of excellence in the European Union.