Brussels, May 2005
Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-ED, UK), who chairs Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, has written to the President of Parliament, Josep BORRELL, expressing his committee's "alarm and disappointment" at the cuts to the EU research budget now being proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency for the financial perspective for 2007-2013.
In his letter Mr Chichester says: "The European Council has repeatedly emphasised since its meeting in Lisbon in 2000 the crucial role of research and technological development policy in the context of the Lisbon Strategy and the importance of the successful realisation of the European Research Area. Nevertheless, the proposal of the Luxembourg Presidency would imply a substantial reduction (of the order of 30% or more) in the budgetary resources for the EU 7th RTD Framework Programme (FP7) compared to those proposed by the European Commission in April.
An FP7 budget at the level proposed by the Commission is an essential prerequisite for the attainment of the 3% target for European R&D investment set by the Heads of State and government themselves in Barcelona. By contrast, such a reduction as proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency would have detrimental consequences for the consolidation and development of the European scientific and technological base and the boost to the competitiveness of European industry essential for a credible relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy.
The European Parliament has often made clear its conviction that the Lisbon objectives cannot be attained without substantially boosting the research effort both at EU and Member State level. In its resolution of 10 March 2005* on future EU policy to support research, the Parliament took a clear position on the ambitious financial resources that should be allocated for FP7. This position, which the Parliament regards as "a minimum not to be questioned during the negotiations on the financial perspectives", is consistent with the FP7 budgetary envelope proposed by the Commission."
In conclusion Mr Chichester asks Mr Borrell to urge the Luxembourg Presidency to ensure that research policy receives funding "commensurate to the ambition of the Lisbon Strategy".
The European Parliament will decide its position on the forthcoming financial perspective on 8 June at its plenary session in Strasbourg when it votes on a draft report drafted by Reimer BÃ¶ge. Following the vote in Strasbourg, President Borrell will present Parliament's position to EU heads of state and government, who are aiming to reach agreement on the financial perspective at their summit of 16-17 June.
* For the full text of the resolution, click here.
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