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Committee of the Regions opinion on the Fifth RTD Framework Programme

The Committee of the Regions of the European Union adopted its opinion on the Commission's proposal for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme at its meeting in Brussels on 18 September 1997.

Firstly, the Committee appreciates the approach of the Commission in consulting widely in...
The Committee of the Regions of the European Union adopted its opinion on the Commission's proposal for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme at its meeting in Brussels on 18 September 1997.

Firstly, the Committee appreciates the approach of the Commission in consulting widely in preparing the proposal, but wishes that dialogue to continue in the implementation of the Programme. In general, the Committee endorses the Commission's proposal for the six programme areas and the overall objectives. However, the opinion outlines a number of specific additions and amendments which the Committee would like to see incorporated in the Programme.

In particular, the Committee feels that the Commission should use the resources and infrastructures of local and regional authorities in the implementation of the specific programmes. Many of the problems in today's society have a particularly strong impact at local level and the Committee therefore calls for local and regional authorities - those which are closest to the problems - to be involved in framing and implementing research policy. In this context, it draws attention to the need to coordinate research policy and the Structural Funds at local level.

The Committee emphasizes the potential of setting up regional research institutes, backed by regional and local authorities. These would boost know-how in fields of importance to the region concerned. Alongside the thematic programmes, the Committee calls for additional emphasis to be placed on socio-economic research spanning society as a whole, since dividing the socio-economic aspects amongst the key actions will obscure the overall picture.

Three standpoints need to receive particular attention, according to the Committee: that of people with disabilities; women and men's different needs and interests; and the ageing population. Other areas of importance noted in the opinion include: coverage of all aspects of food production; ensuring that Information Society developments can extend democratic opportunity, particularly at local level; broadening the key action on viral and infectious diseases; and ensuring that projects are based on natural cycles.

Source: Committee of the Regions of the EU

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