Brussels, 11 Apr 2003
The French government has decided not to go ahead with its plan to cut budgetary appropriations to national research and technology associations.
Speaking at a colloquium on innovation on 9 April, Claudie Haigneré, French Minister for Research and New Technologies, said that most of the budgetary restrictions announced in mid March would not be imposed. Furthermore, the freezing of financial provisions for authorised research programmes would also be completely lifted.
The announcement of the cuts came following the French government's vote on the 2003 budget in March, which sought to reduce overall public spending. Since then, researchers have been demonstrating their opposition on the streets of French towns and cities and over the Internet.
However, according to the minister, scientific and technology bodies and associations can now breathe a sigh of relief. With the cancellation of the foreseen cuts and by carrying forward appropriations from 2002, 'research organisations will have at their disposal in 2003 a sum that is on a par with the outlays in 2002,' claimed Ms Haigneré.
In real terms, public bodies are looking at a reduction of 10 per cent, instead of the initial 30 per cent decrease in budget appropriations.