Brussels, 25 September 2006
The Council adopted today a common position on a draft decision establishing the 7th research framework programme (FP7) of the European Community (EC) for the period 2007-2013 (12032/06 +ADD1). The Council's common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament with a view to reaching an agreement in second reading under the codecision procedure. Adoption follows a political agreement achieved by the Council on 24 July (for more information see press release 11554/06).
The Council's common position reflects to a great extent both the Commission's proposal and the Parliament's opinion as regards structure, scientific and technological content, means of implementation and budgetary resources. A total of EUR 50.5 billion will be allocated to FP7-EC for seven years.
In addition to fulfilling the objectives laid down in the EC treaty and contributing to the reform strategy laid down in 2000 in Lisbon (creation of a more competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in Europe capable of sustainable economic growth, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion), the new FP7 has the following characteristics:
- concentration on a selected number of thematic priorities in which Community action can provide the greatest possible added value;
- support for research at the frontiers of knowledge, through investigator-driven basic research performed by the most excellent research teams in Europe, through the creation of an independent European Research Council;
- better education and research training, easier access to research opportunities and better recognition of the researcher's contribution to the goals of society, through the strengthening of human resources policy;
- optimising the use and development of European research infrastructures; strengthening the innovative capacities of SMEs and their ability to benefit from research; supporting the development of researching-driven clusters; bringing science and society closer together, and giving support to the coherent development of research policies at Community and national level;
- strengthening the role of the EU's Joint Research Centre in providing customer-driven scientific and technological support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of Community policies;
- simplification and streamlining of the implementation arrangements, on the basis of improved decentralised management procedures.
The common position was adopted, without discussion, by qualified majority, at the Competitiveness Council meeting.
The Council also reached political agreement on 24 July on a draft decision establishing the FP7 of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for research and training activities (2007-2011). This decision will be adopted simultaneously with the EC framework programme decision.