Brussels, 01 Sep 2004
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION
responding to the observations and recommendations of the high-level Panel of independent experts concerning the new instruments of the 6th Framework Programme
In accordance with the Decision of the Council and of the European Parliament adopting the 6th Framework Programme, and the specific programme "Integrating", a panel of high-level experts was set up in October 2003 to assess the effectiveness of the new instruments of the 6th Framework Programme;
The high-level Panel was given the task of carrying out a mid-term evaluation of the impact of the New Instruments and their contribution towards achieving the objectives of the Framework Programme, particularly as regards the following:
Added value of Community research as compared with national activities;
Integration of research capacity;
Accordingly, on 1 July 2004, the high-level Panel officially forwarded to the Commission its report containing, in addition to an "executive summary", an introduction and an overview of the information collected and the main messages sent out by the 6th Framework Programme user community, its conclusions and recommendations relating to both the remaining period of implementation of the 6th Framework Programme and the prospects for the 7th Framework Programme.
POSITION OF THE COMMISSION REGARDING THE WORK OF THE PANEL AND EXISTING CONSTRAINTS
The Commission is pleased with the high quality of the report which is based on detailed discussions and investigations among the scientific community. It stresses moreover that most of the conclusions reached by the Panel match to a large extent its own findings which have already led, as the attached staff paper shows, to the adoption of "corrective measures" to make the 6th Framework Programme more flexible and easier to use. These "corrective measures" will moreover be reinforced during the remainder of the 6th Framework Programme. However, measures whose implementation would entail changes to the existing legal framework (Council Decision adopting the Framework Programme, Specific Programmes, Rules for Participation, Commission Decision adopting the model contract) can be considered only in connection with the preparation of the 7th Framework Programme and its legal framework.
COMMISSION'S POSITION REGARDING THE MESSAGES CARRIED BY THE PANEL'S REPORT
The Commission welcomes the first of the main messages from the Panel which backs up the Commission's findings during the preparation of the 6th Framework Programme: the objectives of the new instruments are valid, particularly as regards their anticipated contribution to the establishment of the European Research Area, and the conception of the instruments is well adapted to those objectives.