Summary of Conclusions of the 23 Jan meeting of the JAF Group on European Cooperation in Science and Technology (link)

February 7, 2003

Brussels, 06 Feb 2003

Full text of Document 208/03

31 January 2003

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS Subject: Meeting of the JAF Group held in Brussels on 23 January 2003

1. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

The Group adopted the Agenda, as set out in Telex n° 0116 of 10 January 2003 with two additional items:

- Situation report by the Commission and the ESF, and

- COST Strategy 2003.

Item 4: "Rules of Procedure" was removed from the agenda and referred to a future meeting.

2. SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The Group approved the Summary of Conclusions of the JAF Meeting on 19 November 2002, doc. COST 2/02.

3. SITUATION REPORT

The Commission and the ESF reported on the situation of the future contract. The possible outlook is a contract comparable to the "Specific Support Actions" contract type. ESF is currently working on its Technical Annex.

The Italian delegation asked whether the CSO could be informed of the proposed text of the contract. The ESF stated that the contract was dealt with as much transparency as possible, but that it was not foreseen at this stage that the text would be transmitted to the CSO. As to the length of the contract it would be for the duration of the FP6.

The Commission informed the Group that the Scientific Officers continue to support the Technical Committees and ­ to a certain extent - also meetings. The STSMs continue from last year, but there are no new ones committed.

4. DOCUMENTS FOR THE MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE IN MAY 2003

Two draft documents had been distributed to delegations prior to the meeting:

- Table on progress made since previous Ministerial meeting in Prague 1997 (to be used as an aide-memoire / check list for the CSO report),

- Draft Declaration of COST, version dated 19 January 2003, which could serve as Conclusions of the Conference.

After a brief discussion, the Chair concluded that updated versions of the documents would be circulated as soon as possible and delegations were invited to provide their comments to the Council Secretariat by e-mail.

5. COST STRATEGY (chaired by SIG Chair)

A discussion paper on the COST Strategy for 2003 prepared by the Chair of the CSO had been circulated to the delegations. The Chair of the CSO presented the paper, emphasizing the importance of concluding a strategy for COST, and to finalise it in time for the Ministerial Conference in May. He underlined the strategy being a living document to be revised on a regular basis.

The Group had an exchange of views on the need and urgency to finalise a strategy for COST. Several delegations welcomed the draft as an excellent basis for discussion. Although estimating the strategy was important for COST itself, there was hesitation as to whether it was useful to make the document available to the Ministers. Some delegations suggested that the main points should rather be merged into CSO report.

The SIG Chair concluded the discussion by stating that further dialogue would be required to find a common view. SIG Group would continue the discussion at its meeting the next day on both the content and the status of a strategy paper.

6. ASSESSMENT PANEL REPORT ­ DETAILED ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF REFORMS

As the Assessment Panel Report had not been discussed in detail by the CSO, some delegations (DK, I, GR) made interventions in favour of the CSO to give its opinion on the Assessment Report.

During the discussion (on i.a. Action approvals by the JAF/SIG instead of the CSO, Actions managing their own finances, possible use of the final evaluation reports of Actions by the CSO, etc.) it was stated that it was up to the COST Office to make proposals for the future.

The ESF underlined the importance of keeping the existing structures during the transition period to ensure smooth transfer.

The Chair concluded that further discussion on specific elements of the Assessment Panel report is necessary and that general opinion of the CSO on this report can be prepared during this year, taking the ongoing discussion into account.

7. COST CEM DOCUMENT - FINAL UPDATE (COST 6/02)

The revised version of the COST CEM document (COST 6/1/02 REV 1) included some changes to the previous document that were opposed by delegations in their interventions (FIN, I, S and P).

The Group agreed that the final drafting on the document would be made after the meeting by JAF Chair, Prof. Fedi as the CSO representative and the ESF. (After meeting note: doc. COST 6/2/02 REV 2 agreed and to be presented for decision to the next CSO.)

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

- Information on the Annual Report 2002

The Commission informed the Group of the Annual Report 2002 under preparation. The production costs would be covered by the Commission budget and the report was estimated to be available towards the end of February. The delegations will be asked in the near future to indicate the number of copies they wish to receive.

- New Action Proposals

Referring to the six new Action proposals on the next CSO agenda, the Finnish delegation asked whether it was advisable to increase the total number of Actions with the present budgetary restraints.

The Commission presented statistics on the ongoing and finishing Actions during 2003 and the situation at the end of the year. It was reminded that new Actions normally start only approximately nine months after being approved by the CSO.

ANNEX

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