Brussels, 20 Jan 2003
Following a recent financial report on the assets of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the Commission has agreed to earmark a further 158.3 million euro of the funds for research into coal and steel. The announcement came on January 7 after the Commission adopted the financial report.
The ECSC was established in 1951. Its task was to contribute to economic expansion of the Member States through the establishment of a common market for coal and steel.
Following the expiry of the ECSC Treaty 23 July 2002, it was agreed that assets and liabilities would be transferred to the European Union. The European Commission was entrusted with the task of managing the assets, the net worth of which was intended for research in the sectors related to the coal and steel industries.
Article 55 of ECSC Treaty states that the Commission 'shall promote technical and economic research relating to the production and increased use of coal and steel and to occupational safety in the coal and steel industries.'
The financial report details ECSC research spending for the year 2002. Some 52 million euro was allocated to steel industry research and nearly 20 million euro in the field of technical coal research.
In the field of steel research, the European Commission selected 62 research projects and nine pilot and demonstration projects for funding. The projects aimed at reducing production costs; improving the quality and performance of products; promoting the use of steel; extending the areas of application of steel; adapting production conditions to environmental requirements, developing new processes and testing innovative applications.
In the field of coal research, 14 projects were granted financial support for the protection of the environment, raising public awareness of coal as an energy source, improving the competitive position of coal, and the rational use of Community sources.
Provisions were also made in the 2002 funding for accompanying measures. The Commission subsidised several international events concerning the latest advances in steel technology and steel in the environment.
In an effort to reduce fluctuations in research funding, the financial report states that 'a smoothing formula will be applied in accordance with the procedures approved by the Member States'. It is expected that this formula will be used for the 2003 financial year in order to determine ECSC funding for research in 2005.