Brussels, 11 Mar 2005
The European Parliament has adopted a report on the Commission's proposals for future EU research policy, calling for the main research topics under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to reflect the strategic priorities of the updated Lisbon agenda.
During a plenary session on 10 March, MEPs adopted the own-initiative report by Italian Member Pia Locatelli on the Commission communication 'Science and technology - guidelines for future European Union policy to support research'.
The Parliament agrees with the Commission that more funding is needed for research and innovation if the EU is to improve its competitiveness. 'They therefore want the percentage of Member States' GDP represented by the FP7 budget to be at least doubled and not put up for discussion during the negotiations on the financial perspective,' reads a Parliament statement.
While signalling their broad support for the Commission's proposals, MEPs nevertheless called for procedures within the framework programme to be made clearer and simpler. The programme, they said, should also be influenced by a genuine debate among EU and national institutions, the scientific community and industry.
On the thematic priorities for FP7, the Parliament welcomed the Commission's proposal to include space research and security, but stressed that it also wants to see continued support for research into the life sciences, nanotechnology and chemicals. MEPs singled out renewable energy and energy efficiency research for increased support, and called for more EU resources to be spent on under-funded research into illnesses affecting developing countries.
Finally, the Parliament gave its backing to proposals to establish a European Research Council (ERC). Members would like to see the body established swiftly, although they stressed that 'it must avoid duplication with existing bodies such as the Joint Research Centre [...], have adequate funding and avoid generating more red tape.' To follow the debate on the future of EU research policy, please visit: http://www.cordis.lu/era/fp7.htm