Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Austria takes over Presidency for final push to Fifth Framework Programme

Getting the legal process wrapped up so that the Fifth Framework Programme can start on time at the beginning of 1999 will be the focus of the Austrian Council Presidency in the research field. Austria takes on responsibility for facilitating agreement on the many outstanding ...
Getting the legal process wrapped up so that the Fifth Framework Programme can start on time at the beginning of 1999 will be the focus of the Austrian Council Presidency in the research field. Austria takes on responsibility for facilitating agreement on the many outstanding issues relating to the new Programme, not least the difference in budget expectations between the European Parliament and Commission on the one hand and the Council on the other.

Informal discussions are already underway between representatives of the Council and the Parliament, with the aim of exploring possible ways to narrow the budget gap. It may be recalled that Parliament and the Commission both support an overall budget of ECU 16,300 million, whereas the Council was only able to agree on ECU 14,000 million. With unanimous agreement needed among the 15 Member States to revise their figure, the Presidency has a difficult task ahead if it is to bring the two positions closer together. If progress can be made in these informal discussions, the Presidency hopes that conciliation talks can be launched in September, allowing the formal adoption of the Programme as early as possible in the autumn.

Austria is also pushing ahead with discussions in the Council on the ten specific programmes which will implement the Fifth Framework Programme. The aim is for the Council to reach a political consensus on these programmes in October, allowing the Commission to advance preparation of the work programmes, so as to launch the first calls for proposals under the new Programme as early as possible.

Dr. Caspar Einem, Austria's Minister for Science and Transport, who will chair the Research Council during the second half of 1998, addressed the European Parliament's Research Committee on 23 June 1998 to outline his priorities for the Presidency. Both Dr. Einem and the outgoing Research Council President, the UK's John Battle, emphasised to the Committee the importance of getting the Programme up and running by the end of 1998. Dr. Einem and Commissioner Edith Cresson were also agreed on this at their meeting in Vienna on 2 July, when the Commission met with the Austrian government to discuss plans for the six-month Presidency.

Source: CORDIS Information Collection Unit

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