Brussels, 25 April 2002
The European Parliament's Committee on industry, external trade, research and energy (ITRE) voted for 86 amendments to the Council's common position on the Sixth Framework programme (FP6) on 23 April.
Although FP6 is already discussed among the research community as a given fact, the necessary legislation has not yet been adopted. The amendments requested by the committee are based on a report by French MEP Gérard Caudron. They include a request for endorsement of the 'stairway to excellence' concept, an explicit reference to the conclusions of the Gothenburg European Council, and the integration of sustainable development and a reduction in external environmental costs into the programme.
MEPs also wish to see research carried out in the health field extended beyond genomics and further concentration on translating new knowledge created by genomics and other fields of basic research into applications that improve clinical practice and public health.
Other requested amendments include the promotion of basic research and space research, further research into health risks and health improvements in the food sector, strengthening of the position of SMEs with regard to their participation in all areas of the Framework programme and more research into the preservation of cultural heritage
The committee did not, however, follow Mr Caudron's recommendation not to accept the Commission's proposals on ethical standards. Mr Caudron argued that the Council had not reached agreement here and conciliation would become unavoidable if the plenary adopted amendments on this point.
The committee instead agreed on the definition ethical standards in the Framework programme, adopting once again the text from the first reading. MEPs emphasise that research aimed at human cloning for reproductive purposes, the creation of embryos for research purposes including somatic cell nuclear transfer and research resulting in a modification of the genetic heritage of human beings shall not be financed under FP6.
Mr Caudron noted that the Council had taken account of Parliament's amendments and incorporated a large number of them into its common position, while the Commission has incorporated Parliament's amendments into its modified proposals for specific programmes. He highlighted this as an example of good inter-institutional cooperation.
Around 30 of the amendments adopted by the committee relate to the specific programmes. If the Council and Commission react positively to these amendments, they will be put up for adoption at the plenary session on 13 to 16 May.