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Council to meet on Fourth Framework Programme

The Council of the European Communities and the Ministers for Research of the Member States meeting within the Council on 11 October 1993 in Luxembourg will discuss the Commission proposals for the Fourth Framework Programme for Community Research and Development.

These (EEC ...
The Council of the European Communities and the Ministers for Research of the Member States meeting within the Council on 11 October 1993 in Luxembourg will discuss the Commission proposals for the Fourth Framework Programme for Community Research and Development.

These (EEC and Euratom) proposals, set out in COM(93) 276 of 17.6.1993, form the only subject on the agenda for the "Research" meeting. However it is considered unlikely that full agreement will be reached at this date, as a number of Member State Delegations have reservations on aspects of the proposals. In particular:

- Advanced propulsion technologies (including all forms of transport): Certain of the Delegations wish this action to focus only on the area of aeronautics;

- Joint Research Centre (JRC): The Commission proposes that the JRC contributes to the implementation of the Framework Programme via: Direct actions undertaken uniquely by the JRC (financed 100% from the budget for the Framework Programme); by scientific and technical support for activities undertaken in the context of other Community policies (either concerning the specific programmes set out in Action 1, "long term measures", of the proposed Framework Programme, or Action 3 "ad hoc measures"); and by technical support for the dissemination and valorization of results stemming from Community RTD.

For these JRC activities the Commission has proposed an overall budget of ECU 1,137 million. However, a number of Delegations feel that it is inappropriate to quantify the budget attributed to the JRC at this stage in the development of the Framework Programme, as the tasks designated to the JRC and the sums dedicated to their implementation are yet to be established, on a case by case basis, at the level of the specific programmes. At the same time, other Delegations consider that a fixed financial attribution underlines the key importance of the JRC as an independent body, playing a role as an objective European Institution in its own right, rather than simply as a scientific and technical organization.

There is also a view that the proposed JRC actions concerning diffusion and dissemination of research results could be better undertaken by the specific programmes themselves.

In these areas, it is hoped that the Council will reach an agreement based on three points: Maintenance of the JRC's long term support to other Community policies in the framework of Action 1; the opening of "ad hoc" activities to all Community research institutes, including the JRC; reduction of the financial support proposed for the JRC under Action 3, while limiting its actions in this field to the diffusion of results.

On the subject of the overall funding of the Fourth Framework programme, opinions are divided over the relative financing of other Actions compared with that reserved for Action 3 "dissemination and valorization of results" and Action 4 "training and mobility of researchers". Other Delegates feel that these actions should be included in Action 1 as specific programmes in their own right.

Within Action 1, there are also further differences of opinion concerning the proposed financial attributions for: Information technologies and communications; environment; energy, and the subdivision of financial support for the nuclear and non-nuclear sectors.

A global financial contribution of ECU 13,100 million is deemed necessary by the Commission for implementation of the Fourth Framework Programme over the five year period 1994-1998. This represents some 62% of the total commitment under the budgetary heading "internal policy" during the 1994-1999 financial perspective: the Commission considers that such a sum will permit the Community research effort to be sustained. A majority of Delegates have accepted the Commission figures, though others have preferred to reserve their opinions until conclusions are reached following discussion with Parliament on the financial perspective.

It is thought probable that the Council will aim to reach a definitive Common Position on the proposal on the Fourth Framework Programme at the Session of 6 December 1993, following the opinion expected from the European Parliament during it's Sitting of 15-19 November 1993.

Source: Council, General Secretariat, Press Release

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