§ Sir Michael Grylls
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the outcome of the EC Research Council held on 25 March. 
§ Mr. Ian Taylor
The Council undertook an initial exchange of views on the Commission's proposal to increase the funding of the fourth framework programme for research and technological development by 700 mecu. Such an increase would require amendment of the financial perspectives. The UK, with five other member states, repeated its opposition to such amendment.
The Council adopted a resolution outlining a strategy for the EU' s relations with third countries in research and technological development. The Council met the research Ministers of the nine associated states of central and eastern Europe and the Baltic to exchange views on the scope for strengthening their scientific and technological links with the EU.
The Council had a brief initial debate on the Commission's green paper on innovation. The Council will return to the matter in June. The UK drew attention to the contribution that the launch of EASDAQ in September 1996 would make to improving financing for high technology ventures, a key concern of the green paper.