HC Deb 22 October 1987 vol 120 cc853-4W
Mr. John Marshall

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress was made at the meeting of the Research Council of European Community Ministers on 28 September; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The Community's Council of Ministers (Research) met on 28 September 1987 in Brussels. I represented Her Majesty's Government.

Following the waiving of the conciliation procedure by the European Parliament, the Council approved the formal adoption of the European Community's framework programme for research and development for the period 1987 to 1991. The programme provides the basis for Community research activities in a wide range of fields. The main effort is focused on the priority of improving Europe's industrial competitiveness through programmes in information and telecommunications technologies, industrial technologies and new materials, but work is also included on health, the environment, energy (fusion, fission and non-nuclear) and agriculture.

Grant applied for Purpose for which sought Grant offered 1987/88
Land use/rural co-ordination
Rural forum Scotland 17,500 Development Officer and Clerical Assistant 7,500
Scottish Wildlife and Countryside Link 9,250 Organising Secretary 7,500
Country/wildlife conservation and improvement work
Scottish Wild life Trust up to 75,000 Management and Administrative Staff Costs 15,000
Scottish Conservation Projects Trust 75,000 Management and Administrative Staff Costs 15,000
Buchan Countryside Group 5,729 Development Officer 5,000

The agreement was based on a total financial provision of 6.480 becu (£4.49 billion) of which 863 mecu (598 million) of new expenditure will not be committed until after 1991. In line with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's agreement at the European Council in June that expenditure on Community research and development should continue at current levels, the sum of 417 mecu (£289 million) has been withheld from the programme. The question of its release will be decided in the light of wider budgetary developments at the European Council in December. The Council noted my statement re-emphasising these conditions as the basis of our agreement to this package.

The Council also agreed a common position on three new or continuation programmes within the framework: RACE (telecommunications); medical and public health and science and technology for development.

Vice-President Narjes outlined the Commission's proposals for the Community's joint research centre (JRC). In the ensuing preliminary informal exchange of views the Council stressed that radical reforms were necessary to make the JRC more relevant to European industrial needs.

The Council also held a short first discussion of the proposals for ESPRIT II. (Information Technologies.)

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