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Research Council

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the European Community Research Council held on 15 December 1989.

I represented Her Majesty's Government at the meeting of the Community's Council of Ministers (Research) in Brussels on 15 December.The council reached a unanimous agreement on a new framework programme for 1990–94. The total level of funding agreed was 5·7 becu (£4·2 billion), comprising 2·5 becu (£1·8 billion) for 1990–92 and 3·2 becu (£2·3 billion) for 1993–94. The programme will cover Community R and D activities in the following six main areas:

  • 1. Information and communications technologies
  • 2. Industrial and materials technologies
  • 3. Environment
  • 4. Life sciences and technologies
  • 5. Energy
  • 6. Human capital and mobility
  • Specific proposals will now be put forward by the Commission under the 15 separate programme lines that were established by the Council.

    Her Majesty's Government regard this as a very satisfactory outcome of the negotiation on the new framework programme, both as regards the overall level of resources and the technical contents, for which there are clear priorities and objectives. We have also ensured that the decision will not prejudice the review of the current inter-institutional agreement on budgetary discipline.

    The Council agreed that it would be logical to conduct future R and D at the Community level on the basis of interlocking rolling programmes. These would have the advantage of allowing additional flexibility in the management of specific programmes in the light of full and effective evaluation carried out as part of a mid-term review.

    In addition, the Council adopted a research and technical development programme, under the current 1987–91 framework programme, in the field of management and storage of radioactive waste covering the period 1990–94. This programme has a budget of 79·6 mecu (£58 million): the objective being to develop systems for radioactive waste management which ensure the safety of the public and the protection of the environment.

    Also under the 1987–91 framework programme, the Council agreed a common position on the human genome analysis programme.

    The Council agreed a statement on the possibility of research co-operation with eastern Europe and invited the Commission to come forward with specific proposals.