Brussels, 14 Jan 2004
Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin has confirmed that he intends to call on the EU's Member States to double the Community budget for research in an enlarged Union.
Mr Busquin made the statement in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, although his spokesperson has since told CORDIS News that 'this may be a conservative estimate - we will probably aim for more.'
Exact figures cannot be discussed until the Member States agree on the global EU budget for the period 2007 until 2013. While some are hoping to see national contributions rise to 1.24 per cent of GDP, six Member States have already made clear that they wish to see contributions remaining at the current level of 1 per cent.
If Mr Busquin gets his way, EU research funds will increase from the current five billion euro per annum, to ten billion euro by the beginning of the next century. Such a figure would represent ten per cent of public research spending within the EU.
The spokesperson added that Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer is believed to be in favour of such a substantial increase to EU research funding, and that a recent report by German MEP Ralph Linkohr illustrates the Parliament's backing for such a redistribution of funds.