Fair treatment for candidate countries under 6th Framework Programme

October 10, 2002

Brussels, 09 Oct 2002

The Commission must ensure that researchers in the applicant countries receive fair treatment compared to their counterparts in the current Member States when it implements the 6th Research Framework Programme, said the Committee on Industry and Research on Tuesday when it voted on a non-legislative report by Jürgen ZIMMERLING (EPP-ED, D) on the state of research in applicant countries.

The committee also urged the Commission and Member States to encourage links between research and industry via co-financing, flexible career planning, private research entities and the funding of research through industrial associations in the candidate countries. The Commission should help to create a favourable financial environment so that the ability of SMEs to participate in the Programme is not diminished either by the need to obtain bank guarantees or by the burden of assuming a significant share of co-financing. The committee also called on the applicant countries to develop a research strategy of their own, either directly by way of assistance payments or indirectly by way of incentives, that meets their requirements in the area of research.

Twelve of the candidate countries were involved in the 5th Framework Programme and they, together with Turkey, will take part in the 6th Framework Programme. Some of the candidate countries are expected to become full members of the Union during the period covered by FP6. Good planning is therefore needed as economic uncertainty and restrictive budgetary policies in the applicant countries have placed national research systems under enormous strain. Mr Zimmerling notes in his report that low public research funding and inadequate mechanisms for attracting private-sector funding have led to an impoverishment of the human research potential in these countries, with ageing research infrastructures and low researchers' salaries aggravating the problem. This has lead to a substantial external and internal brain drain.

This own-initiative report is on the agenda for Parliament's December plenary session in Strasbourg.

08.10.02 Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy       In the chair: Carlos WESTENDORP Y CABEZA (PES, E)

Press enquiries:Leena Maria Linnus - tel. (32-2) 28 42825e-mail: indu-press@europarl.eu.int

European Parliament News Report 2002-10-09

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