Brussels, Nov 2003
Proposal for a
DECISION OF THE COUNCIL AND OF THE COMMISSION
on the signature on behalf of the European Community and of the European Atomic Energy Community of the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Communities of the one part and the Swiss Confederation of the other part
1. By their joint decision of 4 April 2002 the Council and the Commission concluded the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Community and the European Atomic Energy Community of the one part and the Swiss Confederation of the other part. This Agreement entered into force on 1 June 2002.
2. This Agreement associated Switzerland in the specific programmes of the Fifth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes. Article 9(2) thereof provided for renewal of the Agreement should the Community adopt new Framework Programmes.
3. On 7 June 2002, as the Sixth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes were being adopted by the Communities, the Swiss Confederation officially requested the Commission to renew the abovementioned Agreement with a view to being associated in them.
4. It is in the interest of the Communities to renew this Agreement in order to associate the Swiss Confederation in the Sixth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes and thereby expand the European Research Area.
5. Consequently, on 26 November 2002 the Commission proposed that the Council authorise it to negotiate the renewal of this Agreement with a view to associating the Swiss Confederation in the Sixth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes. On 20 February 2003 the Council gave the Commission a mandate to negotiate renewal of the Agreement, including the possibility of provisional application so as to allow legal entities from the Swiss Confederation to participate, as early as possible, in the calls under the Sixth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes.
6. Renewal of this Agreement has been negotiated in line with the negotiating directives annexed to the Council decision of 20 February 2003. These negotiations were completed on 5 September 2003, when the authorised representatives of the two parties initialled the annexed draft Agreement.
7. This new Agreement is based on the principles laid down in its predecessor, particularly with regard to the contribution from the Swiss Confederation to the budgets for the Sixth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes. However, it has been adapted to take account of the specifics of the Sixth (EC and Euratom) Framework Programmes. In addition, Annex C contains new provisions on cooperation between the Communities and the Swiss Confederation on control of Community funds.
8. Finally, following the entry into force of the Sixth Framework Programmes, in view of the fact that the associated States make annual contributions to their individual budgets and of the time needed for negotiation of this renewal, it is proposed that this Agreement should enter into force on 1 January 2004 and, if it is not concluded in time, should apply provisionally from that date on, subject to signature at a later date.
9. In the light of the foregoing, the Commission proposes that the Council:
approve, on behalf of the European Community, together with the Commission, acting on behalf of the European Atomic Energy Community, the signature of the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Communities of the one part and the Swiss Confederation of the other part; and
on this basis, authorise provisional application of the Agreement with effect from 1 January 2004, under the terms laid down therein, if the Agreement has not been concluded by that date.