Summary of Conclusions of the 20-21 March meeting of the working group on legal, administrative and financial questions in European Cooperation in Scientific and Technical research (COST JAF group)

May 2, 2003

Brussels, 01 May 2003

Full text of Document 2/03
Suite of documents 2/03

Meeting of the JAF Group held in Zürich on 20 - 21 March 2003

At the beginning of the meeting, Prof. Georges GUEKOS, Vice-Chairman of TIST, welcomed the participants to the meeting, which was held at the ETH premises in Zürich, and briefly presented the structure of the ETH.

1. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

The Group adopted the Agenda, as set out in Telex n° 1321 of 13 March 2003 with some changes to the order. An additional item: "Strategy for COST" would be dealt with under the agenda point preparing for the Ministerial Conference.

2. SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The Group approved the Summary of Conclusions of the JAF Meeting on 23 January 2003 as set out in doc. COST 208/03.

3. TRANSITION PERIOD AND PROGRESS REPORT ON THE COST OFFICE

The ESF representative informed the Group of recent developments concerning the future contract between the Commission and the ESF, indicating 15 May as being the target date for submitting a proposal to the Commission. The proposal would then be subject to an outside evaluation.

The Commission representative estimated that the contract could be signed before the summer break. The delay in transferring funds would be a maximum 60 days after the signature of the contract.

The Group discussed transparency and the CSO involvement in the contract negotiations underway. The Chair concluded the discussion by stating that the Chairman of the CSO, on behalf of the Committee, would be mandated to follow the process and to report to the CSO. It was stated that the CSO would be informed of the contents of the contract before it would be signed.

4. DOCUMENTS FOR THE MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE IN MAY 2003

- Declaration (Draft Conclusions) (COST 221/1/03 REV 1)

The Group examined a revised version of the Draft Declaration, with modifications proposed by the Bureau, and agreed on some further modifications to the draft.

The Group agreed the revised text to be checked by the Legal Service of the Council Secretariat. A new document would be circulated and delegations, in particular those not represented at the meeting, would be invited to send their comments, if any, to the Council COST Secretariat prior to the next CSO meeting.

- Updated Assessment Panel Report

The Council Secretariat informed the Group that an updated version of the Assessment Panel Report would be produced in view of the Ministerial Conference. The new version would include a short introduction outlining the developments since the finalisation of the Report and the MoU between COST and the ESF would be annexed to it.

- CSO Report (COST 220/03)
- COST Strategy (COST 218/1/03 REV 1)

The Group discussed the way to present the COST Strategy to the Ministerial Conference. After an exchange of views the Group agreed that the development lines of the draft strategy document would be integrated into the CSO Report. A Revised Version of the CSO Report would be presented to the next CSO meeting on 10 - 11 April.

5. CREATION OF A FIFTH COST FUND (COST 219/03)

The Council Secretariat introduced the proposal on the creation of a 5th COST Fund as set out in doc. COST 219/03, based on a UK proposal presented as a room document at the last CSO meeting.

The Group agreed to propose to the CSO the creation of a 5th COST Fund of a volume of 1 Meuro and with no fixed duration. In principle the contributions would be called for in four equally sized instalments. However, in view of relatively small contributions and/or the budgetary facilities of Member States, the payment system would allow alternatively for payment of the entire contribution or several of the four instalments in one payment.

6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

- A draft proposal from the German delegation on the voting procedure for activity plans and yearly budget splits was circulated as a room paper. The proposal introduces the principle of double majority voting, implying that the two-third majority of votes required should represent at least 70% of the total GDP of COST Member countries (which is used as reference basis for calculations of contributions to the COST Fund).

As the item had not been included on the meeting agenda, the German delegation agreed to the Chair proposal to submit a new version of its proposal to the next CSO meeting.

- Information by the Commission on the

= Annual Report 2002

The Commission representative informed the Group that the Annual Report 2002 would be available very soon in a printed version. (after meeting note: available on website: http://cost.cordis.lu/src/forum/attachme nts/COSTannualreport2002.pdf)

= document on 'COST Success Stories'

A 25-page document on 'COST Success Stories' is being prepared with the assistance of outside scientific journalists. The aim is to have the document available well before the Ministerial Conference in May.

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