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Commissioner Cresson presents Community's research, education and training policies

Mrs. Edith Cresson, European Commissioner responsible for research, education, training and youth, gave an outline of recent developments in the policy areas under her responsibility in a speech delivered to the Economic and Social Committee, in Brussels, on 30 January 1997.

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Mrs. Edith Cresson, European Commissioner responsible for research, education, training and youth, gave an outline of recent developments in the policy areas under her responsibility in a speech delivered to the Economic and Social Committee, in Brussels, on 30 January 1997.

Commencing with the Innovation Action Plan, presented by the Commission in late 1996, Mrs. Cresson noted the success of the Europe-wide debate held, during 1996, on the basis of the Green Paper on Innovation. The Commissioner recognized the important role played in this debate by the Economic and Social Committee, particularly in ensuring recognition of the need for measures to improve the innovative capacity and access to finance of SMEs. She expressed her hope that the Research Council will adopt a resolution on the Action Plan in the first half of 1997, allowing the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to put the proposed actions into operation.

Commissioner Cresson then turned to the preparation of the Fifth RTD Framework Programme. She stressed that the aim of the Programme would be to put research at the service of the citizen, in particular by using technological progress for the creation of employment. Research policy would be made more efficient, through narrowing priorities, improving coordination and management and increasing flexibility.

As regards the timetable for the preparation of the Fifth Framework Programme, Mrs. Cresson stated that the Commission would present its second working document in the next few days. The Commission will also shortly receive the report of the Davignon group on the evaluation of the Fourth Framework Programme, as well as the five-year evaluations of the specific RTD programmes.

In order to ensure a wide debate, on the basis of these documents, the Commission is organizing a conference on 28 February and 1 March 1997 which will bring together representatives of the scientific community and industry, as well as the Council, Parliament, Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Following this, the Commission will present formal proposals for the Fifth Framework Programme and the EURATOM Framework Programme at the end of March 1997. Acknowledging the tightness of the timetable, Mrs. Cresson noted that this was necessary to ensure that there was no interruption in the Community's research effort.

The second half of Commissioner Cresson's speech dealt with education and training. Firstly, she noted the success of the programmes launched in 1995 - SOCRATES, LEONARDO DA VINCI, and YOUTH FOR EUROPE. The demand for support under these programmes has continued to increase and the Commission is intending to put forward proposals for an increase in their budgets in early 1997. The Commission will also be presenting measures for the implementation of the actions contained in the White Paper on Education and Training, published in Autumn 1995.

Other initiatives in the area of education and training covered by the Commissioner included:

- The "Learning in the Information Society" initiative, which proposes four action lines to increase the use of new information and communications technologies in schools;
- The debate on the Green Paper on eliminating obstacles to transnational mobility for students, researchers and young people;
- The European Voluntary Service, now moving from its pilot phase into full operation, which allows young people to undertake a period of voluntary service in another European country than their own.

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-parole

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