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Commission proposes to use ECSC reserves to continue coal and steel research

The European Commission adopted a communication on 8 October 1997 which outlines its plans to use revenue from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) reserves to fund research in the coal and steel sectors following the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in July 2002.

The ECSC T...
The European Commission adopted a communication on 8 October 1997 which outlines its plans to use revenue from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) reserves to fund research in the coal and steel sectors following the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in July 2002.

The ECSC Treaty (Treaty of Paris) was concluded at the beginning of the 1950s for a period of 50 years, and consequently will expire on 23 July 2002. Whilst most of the activities of the ECSC will then be integrated into the European Community Treaty, the question of ownership of the ECSC's assets has to be settled. The Amsterdam European Council, in June 1997, did not accept the idea of returning the assets to the Member States. Instead, it called on the Commission to make appropriate proposals to ensure that revenue from outstanding reserves should be used for a research fund for sectors related to the coal and steel industries in the years following 2002.

The Commission estimates that these revenues would be in the region of ECU 40 million a year. It calls on the Member States to transfer these assets to the European Community. They would then be placed in an autonomous fund to ensure that all revenue generated would be used for research in coal and steel.

In the coal sector, the Commission proposes to support growth sectors associated with coal where technological progress can create jobs. The scope of research would be enlarged from hard coal to other associated solid fuels, primarily brown coal and biomass. Two major sectors involving many SMEs would also be concerned: coal combustion and conversion technologies, and mining technologies in the broad sense.

In addition to the production and use of steel, activities in which SMEs are heavily involved (e.g. first stage processing which is not currently covered by ECSC research), scrap recuperation and preparation, and targeted innovation schemes and measures to exploit research results would also be covered. Pilot and demonstration projects would continue

Hygiene, health and safety at the workplace, and environmental matters would be maintained in post 2002 research under the conditions currently prevailing for both coal and steel research.

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