HC Deb 16 December 1986 vol 107 c440W
Mr. Colvin

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the meeting of the Council of European Communities (Research) on 9 December.

Mr. Pattie

The Community's Council of Ministers (Research) met on 9 December in Brussels: I chaired the meeting; Mr. John Fairclough, the Government's chief scientific adviser, represented the United Kingdom.

The Council agreed a resolution taking note of the Commission's communication on a plan of action for the evaluation of Community research and development. The plan anticipates proposals for a formal programme of evaluation activities to be submitted early in 1987.

The Council considered a Commission paper on the relationship between Community research and EUREKA projects and agreed on the importance of drawing maximum benefit from the complementary nature of the two types of activity, while avoiding unnecessary duplication.

The Council discussed the report prepared by an independent panel of European industrialists on the Community's joint research centre (JRC) together with a Commission proposal for a revision in 1987 of the current JRC programme. The Council welcomed the panel's emphasis on the need for reform to make the JRC more effective and to increase its links with European industry.

The greater part of the Council's meeting was devoted to discussion, both in full session and in a series of bilaterals between all member states and the presidency, of the Commission's proposals for expenditure of 7.7 becu (£5.5 billion) for a new five-year framework programme of Community research and development. Despite intensive and lengthy negotiations, a consensus could not be reached. The Commission then put forward a proposal for a partial decision covering a three-year period at a cost of 3.7 becu (£2.25 billion).