Focus on FP7 plan

July 29, 2005

The European Commission will continue to draw up detailed plans for a Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) on research despite the failure of last month's European Union summit to agree on a budget, writes Keith Nuthall.

Janez Potocynik, the Research Commissioner, last week told the EU's Informal Competitiveness Council of Ministers in Cardiff that he would "propose the specific programmes for adoption in September".

He said that without concrete proposals, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament would be unlikely to "reach any formal position". This was especially the case with FP7, he suggested, given its radical innovations such as the European Research Council on basic research, risk sharing and so on.

He accepted that the lack of a budget agreement posed risks. "For the time being... we are talking about 'virtual' money." However, he noted that "prolonged use" of this tactic was dangerous.

He wants to concentrate minds while the British presidency continues its attempts to broker an overall EU budget deal by January.

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