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Limited prospects for extra Fourth Framework Programme funding

Mr. Pat Rabbitte, current President of the Research Council said at Parliament's session in Strasbourg on 23 October 1996 that the proposed additional funding for the Fourth RTD Framework Programme of ECU 700 million was no longer realistic. Mr. Rabbitte was replying to a ques...
Mr. Pat Rabbitte, current President of the Research Council said at Parliament's session in Strasbourg on 23 October 1996 that the proposed additional funding for the Fourth RTD Framework Programme of ECU 700 million was no longer realistic. Mr. Rabbitte was replying to a question from Mr. Umberto Scapagnini, President of the European Parliament's Committee for Research, Technological Development and Energy, about progress in the Council on the Commission's proposal for additional funding for the remaining years of the Fourth RTD Framework Programme, adopted in January 1996, which the Parliament had approved in June 1996.

Mr. Rabbitte said that following the Economic and Finance Ministers Council of 14 October 1996, where no agreement on the revision of the financial perspectives had been possible, additional funding would depend on a proposal from the Commission for the reallocation of funding within the budget for internal policies. Such a proposal would be unlikely to provide additional funding of anywhere near the level of ECU 700 million. Mr. Rabbitte stated, however, that the Council had made a commitment to conclude this subject at its meeting on 5 December 1996.

Mr. Neil Kinnock, speaking on behalf of the Commission, said that its proposal for a reallocation of funding within the internal policies budget should be presented by mid-November. He emphasized, however, that the Commission did not wish to change its position on the need for, and the possibility of, a financial supplement to the Fourth Framework Programme.

The following day, the Parliament adopted, at first reading, the Community's budget for 1997. In what was described as a "rigorous" budget by the Parliament's rapporteur for the 1997 budget, the Parliament voted to increase the total payments over those proposed by the Council at first reading, but did not restore payments to the level proposed by the Commission.

In total, after the Parliament's first reading, the budget amounts to around ECU 89 billion in commitments and ECU 82 billion in payments for 1997. In the internal policies sector (category 3), in which RTD accounts for more than half of expenditure, commitments amount to ECU 5.5 billion and payments to ECU 5 billion during 1997. MEPs voted to place some ECU 100 million destined for RTD in a reserve, which would only be released on condition that the Commission's procedures were found, by MEPs, to be satisfactory.

The 1997 budget will be the subject of second readings in both Council and Parliament before the end of the year, and the prospects for RTD funding will become clearer following both this and the Commission's proposal for reallocation of funding within the internal policies budget.

Source: European Parliament
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