Brussels, 07 Sep 2005
The Slovenian government has published its position on the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) proposals, and has asked for clarification of the relationship between the new funding instrument and the proposed new Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).
In its position paper, the Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology welcomes the Commission's proposals, supports the doubling of the FP7 budget, and agrees that the programme has been designed in order to enhance European competitiveness.
However, the document adds: 'It must be emphasised that the relations between the Seventh Framework Programme and the proposed Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) remains unexplained. [...] Therefore, in Slovenia we feel that this issue needs further clarification.'
Remaining with the issue of synergies between the new framework programme and other Community instruments, the position paper also calls for bridges to be built between FP7 and the Structural funds, particularly for the development of new infrastructures and capacities. Giving an example of such a linkage, the paper suggests providing complimentary funding from the Structural Funds where a framework programme project is carried out in a convergence region.
Slovenia welcomes the intention expressed in the proposals to significantly simplify the rules governing FP7, and recommends that the Commission focus on the transparency of project administration rules, greater predictability, and the simplification of financial accounting regulations. In addition, it calls for two further improvements: an anonymous and accelerated two-stage procedure of evaluation, and a considerable reduction in the time taken to conduct contract negotiations.
Under the 'Cooperation' heading of FP7, Slovenia offers its full support for the nine proposed priorities and their respective budgets put forward by the Commission. Furthermore, the position paper supports the emphasis placed on European Technology Platforms, but stresses that they must take better account of the needs of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and industry in all Member States.
Similarly, the Slovenian government accepts the case for Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), but stresses that such initiatives should only be established 'where the long term objectives can not be adequately achieved with other instruments of the [framework] programme. There is a considerable risk that these initiatives will be realised under the direction of large scale industrial organisations so that the participants from emerging regions might not see economic benefits from them, unless corrective measures are taken,' it adds.
To enhance the social dimension of FP7, the Slovenian government supports a proposal already backed by the European Parliament to create 'socially motivated platforms'. These platforms would seek to establish research programmes to address social problems - at European and regional levels - which do not attract the interest of industry.
The Slovenian government concludes the position paper by stating its conviction that the proposed programme will bring considerable added value to European research policy and significantly contribute to the development of the European Research Area (ERA).
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