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Council warned by MEPs for blocking funding for THERMIE II

At the Parliamentary session in Strasbourg on 5 April 1995, MEPs from the Parliament's Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy (CRTDE) took EU Council Ministers to task for endangering the future of some 15 small research centres across Europe by refusing t...
At the Parliamentary session in Strasbourg on 5 April 1995, MEPs from the Parliament's Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy (CRTDE) took EU Council Ministers to task for endangering the future of some 15 small research centres across Europe by refusing to agree to the ECU 30 million funding for the THERMIE II programme on alternative energy sources such as solar and wind energy.

Explaining that Ministers from the United Kingdom, Germany and France were blocking agreement on a legal base to enable the programme to continue, the Council accepted that an agreement had been reached with Parliament as part of last year's budgetary procedure on funding. It pointed out, however, that without a legal base it was unable to act. Although actively seeking a solution to the impasse, the Council also said that it was not in a position to guarantee that contracts in the centres affected would be renewed.

A number of MEPs felt that the respective governments didn't understand what was at stake since the centres under threat were undertaking important research that could contribute to tackling the problem of global warming.

One possibility put forward by Commissioner Papoutsis was to hold a tripartite meeting, as envisioned in the event of an institutional dispute, in order to secure some funding on the basis of an interpretation of the interinstitutional agreement which permits programmes in "limited" fields of research to go ahead.

The resolution tabled by the CRTDE calling on the Council to recognize the need for a THERMIE II programme was adopted and the Commission was asked to take steps to implement the ECU 30 million budget as soon as possible.

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