Select Committee on European Scrutiny Twenty-Fourth Report


COM(02) 43

Amended Draft Council Decisions
—   concerning the specific programmes implementing the Sixth Framework
Programme of the European Community for research, technological
development and demonstration activities (2002-2006).
—   concerning the specific programmes implementing the Sixth Framework
Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) for
research and training activities (2002-2006).

Legal base:(a) Article 166 EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
(b) Article 7 EURATOM; unanimity
Document originated:30 January 2002
Forwarded to the Council: 31 January 2002
Deposited in Parliament: 22 February 2002
Department:Trade and Industry
Basis of consideration: EM of 8 March 2002
Previous Committee Report: None; but see HC 28-xiii (2000-01), paragraph 14 (2 May 2001) and HC 152­ii (2001­02) paragraph 21 (17 October 2001)
Discussed in Council: 11 March 2002
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared


  10.1  The previous Committee cleared the Commission's proposals for the next Framework Programmes for the EC and EURATOM covering the period 2002-2006 in May 2001. We reported further on the proposals in October 2001.

The document

  10.2  The document sets out the Commission's amended proposals concerning the specific programmes through which the European Community's next Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2002­2006) and the EURATOM research and training activities (2002­2006) will be conducted. The Minister for Science and Innovation (Lord Sainsbury) outlines the amendments in his Explanatory Memorandum of 8 March 2002:

    "The most extensive amendments, which are being proposed to the Multiannual Framework Programme 2002­2006 of the European Community, relate to the part of the proposals entitled 'Focussing and Integrating Community Research'.

    "Thematic Priorities

    "Adaptations have been made to the structure and detailed research content of thematic priority 1 in order to reflect its organisation in two sections, respectively on advanced genomics and its applications to health and on combatting major diseases, and to thematic priority 6 following its reorganisation in three parts, respectively sustainable energy systems, sustainable surface transport, and global change and ecosystems. More limited but in some cases substantial amendments have been introduced in the research content of other thematic priorities.

    "Adjustments have also been made to the initial policy­orientated research priorities under the heading 'supporting policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs', along with some re­attribution of research activities in relation to the thematic priorities (notably as regards agriculture and marine ecosystem research). These take account of the modifications to content and the significant reduction in budget introduced following the first reading and the Council common position on Framework Programme 6 (FP6)."

  10.3  The Minister adds:

    "In the case of some of the amended proposals, the Commission proposes to be assisted by a Committee of Member States' representatives meeting in variable configuration, in order to implement the corresponding thematic areas of research. The single focussing and integrating Community research programme would operate in seven separate thematic configurations and one horizontal configuration. in each case operating with full comitology prerogatives."

  10.4  As regards the EURATOM Framework Programme on "Nuclear Energy", the Minister says that "the main changes relate to the proposal on fission, with the introduction of a new thematic priority on radiation protection and activities on the safety of nuclear installations."

  10.5  The Minister also points out that the descriptions of the funding instruments (Annex III) for both the EC and EURATOM programmes have been amended, in line with the Council Common Position on the main Framework Programme. According to the Minister, this reflects the need to ensure a smooth transition from the "traditional" to the "new" instruments in the implementation of the thematic priority areas.

The Government's view

  10.6  The Minister comments:

    "The Government broadly welcomes the more explicit description of the specific programmes provided in the amended proposal, which reflect the Council common position on the Sixth Framework Programme.

    "The Government believes it is important that Member States should exercise effective oversight of the Commission's implementation of the FP6 specific programmes. It therefore supports in principle the proposal for the single focussing and integrating Community research programme that the Commission should be assisted by a committee of Member States representatives which would meet in different configurations, corresponding to the thematic priority areas of research. In a 'horizontal' configuration the committees would address cross­programme issues.

    "The Government awaits further elaboration from the Commission of the proposed remit and powers of the committees than [that] provided in the proposal.

    "The Government broadly agrees with the amendments to the thematic priority areas 1 and 6. In priority 1, Genomics and Biotechnology for Health, the Government welcomes the focus on Genomics in both sections of the priority. In terms of the sixth priority, Global Change and Ecosystems, the Government supports the division of the priority into three sub­sections (Energy, Transport and Sustainable Development), which should ensure appropriate coverage of the constituent themes.

    "The Government can accept the amendments to the EURATOM specific programme, which likewise, reflect the amendments to the FP6 Common position on EURATOM."


  10.7  The initial proposal was cleared by the previous Committee and was the subject of a further Report by us. As regards the amended proposals, we welcome the changes to the detailed research content of thematic priority areas one and six to reflect the reorganisation of those research areas, and we welcome the proposal to establish a committee of representatives from Member States to oversee the Commission's implementation of the specific research programmes. We are content to clear the document.

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