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Additional funding of ECU 115 million agreed for Fourth Framework Programme

The European Parliament and Council have reached agreement on the financial supplement to the Fourth Framework Programme, following lengthy negotiations. A total of ECU 115 million will be added to the budget for the remainder of the Programme, following approval of the agreem...

The European Parliament and Council have reached agreement on the financial supplement to the Fourth Framework Programme, following lengthy negotiations. A total of ECU 115 million will be added to the budget for the remainder of the Programme, following approval of the agreement by both institutions. The agreement was reached in the evening of 23 September 1997, in the second meeting of the conciliation committee which brings together representatives of each Member State and 15 MEPs. The two meetings followed months of informal negotiations between the institutions, as they tried to identify a compromise between their respective positions. It may be recalled that the Commission's initial proposal for the supplement, made in early 1996, amounted to ECU 700 million. However, budgetary constraints in Member States and in the EU as a whole ruled out an increase of this size, and the Council agreed in December 1996, after much discussion, to an increase of ECU 100 million. The Parliament then voted to double this to ECU 200 million, and, in its role as half of the EU's budgetary authority, made moves to provide the funds to back up this position. In addition to the overall increase in funding, Parliament and Council also had differences on its distribution between research fields. The agreement reached provides for ECU 15 million over and above the ECU 100 million previously agreed by the Council. This ECU 15 million will go to two of Parliament's priority fields: research on renewable energies (ECU 9 million), and on anti-personnel mines (ECU 6 million). Overall the distribution of the additional funding will be as follows: - Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), vaccines and viral diseases: ECU 35 million; - Aeronautics: ECU 20 million; - Educational multimedia: ECU 12 million; - Transport intermodality and interoperability: ECU 12 million; - Environment/water RTD: ECU 12 million; - Anti-personnel mines: ECU 15 million; - Renewable energies: ECU 9 million. The agreement reached in conciliation has now to be approved by both the Parliament and Council, with final adoption of the financial supplement likely by early November. Mr. Renzo Imbeni, EP Vice-President who led Parliament's delegation to the conciliation committee, stated that although the final figure did not match Parliament's demands, it had been necessary to reach a conclusion otherwise no additional funding would be made available. However, with some differences evident between the members of Parliament's, it is not yet certain that the agreement will be approved. Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research expressed her satisfaction that agreement had now been reached. With the financial supplement finalized, she added, it would now be possible to focus on the Fifth Framework Programme.

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