Brussels, 28 Nov 2003
Subject: Accession of the European Atomic Energy Community to the Charter of the Generation IV International Forum, under Article 101(3) of the Euratom Treaty.
­ Meeting of the Joint Research/Atomic Questions Working Party on October 2003
1. The Commission representative informed the Working Party that the Commission had signed on 30 July 2003, for the European Atomic Energy Community, the Charter of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) 1. This signature followed the Commission's decision, taken in November 2002, to start the negotiations concerned. GIF is a framework for international cooperation in research and development for the next generation of nuclear energy systems, the other contracting parties to which are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Republic of South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States2. The participation of the Community will be managed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and it is envisaged that, through Euratom/JRC, arrangements could be made to enable research organisations from Member States, not directly parties to GIF, to participate in its activities.
2. The Commission representative recalled that the scope of the GIF Charter falls under Article 101(3) of the Euratom Treaty, whereby it could be concluded for the Community solely by the Commission, bearing in mind in particular that the Charter does not have budgetary implications and it can be implemented under the existing provisions of the Sixth Euratom Framework Programme1 (through both indirect actions and direct actions by JRC). However, the Commission representative regretted that the Commission had not been in a position to inform the Council of the Commission's intentions concerned prior to the conclusion of the Charter, which he recognised is expected from the Commission in order to comply with Art. 101(3) requesting the Commission to "keep the Council informed"2. According to the Commission representative, this was due to the unforeseen urgency to sign the Charter, in July 2003, so as to ensure favourable conditions for the Community participation, in particular regarding voting rights in the governing structures of the Charter.
3. The Chairman acknowledged the special circumstances, as referred to by the Commission representative, which had led the Commission to sign the Charter without giving prior information to the Council and expressed the wish that this would not be repeated in the future. Regarding the content of the GIF Charter, a number of delegations welcomed the Community's participation in this initiative while one delegation expressed scepticism concerning research activities in this field. Council Register