Helsinki, 19 July 2006
The Council session under the chairmanship of Mr. Mauri Pekkarinen, Minister of Trade and Industry of Finland, will start on Monday 24 July at 11.00.
In public deliberation, the Council will attempt to reach political agreement on the EU's two 7th research framework programmes: the European Community programme for the period 2007-2013 and the Euratom programme for 2007-2011.
The Council will also adopt a number of important items without discussion.
The presidency will hold a press conference at the end of the meeting.
7TH RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMMES: EC AND EURATOM (public deliberation)
The Council will hold a debate on the 7th framework programme (FP7) of the European Community (EC) for research and technological development for the period 2007 to 2013, with a view to reaching a political agreement. The Council's common position will be then forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading.
The Council will also hold a debate on the FP7 of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research activities for 2007 to 2011, with a view to reaching a political agreement.
- Community research
Council deliberations concerning the FP7 (EC) will take place on the basis of a general approach established by the Council last May (10466/06). They will focus on the main outstanding issue, i.e. research activities involving human embryonic stem cells.
Certain delegations are opposed to embryonic stem cell research being financed under the framework programme. The European Parliament's opinion of last June, in line with a presidency compromise text, proposes that certain fields of research, such as activities aimed at human cloning for reproductive purposes or intended to modify the genetic heritage of human beings, should not be eligible for Community funding.
FP7 (EC) will be implemented through specific programmes, corresponding to the main themes of European research policy:
- "Cooperation": on collaborative research;
- "Ideas": which includes the establishment of a European Research Council;
- "People": for human resources; and
- "Capacities": dealing with the potential research capacities of EU small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Based on previous work and taking into account the outcome of the European Parliament's first reading (10374/06) and the Commission amended proposals (11142/06), the presidency has tabled the following indicative proposal for a breakdown of spending among the programmes (in EUR million):
Cooperation - 32365
Health - 6050
Food, agriculture and biotechnology - 1935
Information and communication technologies - 9110
Nano-sciences, nano-technologies, materials and new production technologies - 3500
Energy - 2300
Environment (including climate change) - 1900
Transport (including aeronautics) - 4180
Socio-economic sciences and the humanities - 610
Space - 1430
Security - 1350
Ideas - 7460
People - 4728
Capacities - 4217
Research infrastructures - 1850
Research for the benefit of SMEs - 1336
Regions of knowledge - 126
Research potential - 370
Science in society - 280
Coherent development of research policies - 70
Activities of international cooperation - 185
Non-nuclear actions of the Joint Research Centre - 1751
TOTAL - 50521
Following a partial general approach established by the Council in November 2005 (15062/05), discussions on FP7 (Euratom) will concentrate on finalising scientific priorities of the EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) actions, notably as regards nuclear safety.
The draft Euratom programme is set out in two specific programmes: the first covers fusion energy research and nuclear fission and radiation protection, and the second covers the activities of the JRC in the field of nuclear energy.
It will get an allocation of EUR 2.7 billion for five years. An important part of the budget will contribute to financing the ITER international project on fusion energy.
Legal aspects and priorities
The specific programmes and the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under FP7 are integral part of the FP7 legislative package. These will be decided on at a later stage.
Adoption of FP7 is a top priority for the presidency in order to commence the programmes' implementation on schedule at the beginning of 2007.
FP7 is aimed at helping to put into effect one of the EU's main goals of increasing the potential for economic growth and of strengthening European competitiveness by investing in knowledge, innovation and human capital.
The EC programme is based in article 166 of the EC treaty, requires qualified majority within the Council and co-decision with the Parliament; the Euratom programme, based on the Euratom treaty, requires unanimity within the Council and consultation with the Parliament.
Chronology of the procedure
In April 2005, the Commission submitted to the Parliament and the Council its proposals for decision on the 7th framework programmes for EC and Euratom research.
On 29 November 2005, the Council agreed on a partial general approach on the two proposals, pending the opinion of the Parliament and agreement on the financial perspectives 2007-2013 for the EU general budget. Following the agreement of 17 May 2006 on the financial perspectives, the Commission on 29 May 2006 submitted amended proposals adapting the EC and Euratom research framework programme decisions with regard to their budgetary provisions.
On 30 May 2006, the Council approved a general approach on the EC programme, but was not in a position to reach a general approach on the Euratom programme. After the European Parliament's amendments to the original Commission proposals voted on 15 June 2006, the Commission on 29 June 2006 submitted amended proposals for both framework programmes.