Brussels, 12 Oct 2005
EU ministers gathered in Luxembourg on 11 October heard that the UK Presidency intends to draw up a revised draft text on the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for debate at the next Competitiveness Council on 28 and 29 November.
The new draft will take account of previous discussions on the proposal, and in particular on the programme's budget, as well as work undertaken by the Luxembourg Presidency during the first half of 2005. It is intended that the ministers 'reach a partial general approach' at their next meeting. This is described as 'a way of fixing Council discussions on non-budgetary elements which are linked to the pending negotiation on the financial perspective for the period 2007-2013. It leaves open the possibility of adjusting agreed parts of a proposal should that be necessary following agreement on budgetary amounts.'
The Commission has proposed a significant increase in the EU's research budget, but several Member States are unwilling to increase their contributions to the EU's overall budget - something that would be required for such a budgetary increase for research. The Commission envisages that the greater part of the funds would continue to be channelled into collaborative, applied research, as in previous programmes. But several new elements have been added for FP7, namely: funding for basic research through a European Research Council (ERC); support for large scale public-private partnerships to take forward industrial research; and funding for new research infrastructures.
The ministers will consider the FP7 proposals in parallel to a proposal on a new Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).
The Council also heard presentations from Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes on a State Aid for Innovation communication, and Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen on the content of a progress report on life sciences and biotechnology.
The proposal on innovation aid covers six broad areas: innovative start-ups; risk capital; the integration of innovation into existing rules on state aid for research and development (R&D); innovation intermediaries; training and mobility between university research personnel and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); and poles of excellence for projects of common European interest. To access the Presidency conclusions in full, please visit: http:///ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/doc s/pr essData/en/intm/86532.pdf
For further information on the UK Presidency's activities in the area of research, please visit: