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Q: What is the role of the European Commission in the formulation of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development?
A: The European Commission was created to represent the European interest common to all Member States of the Union. So that it can play its role as guardian of the Treaties and defender of the general interest, the Commission has been given a right of initiative in the legislative process, proposing the legislation on which the European Parliament and the Council decide. A Commission proposal must have the European interest at heart and it must respect the principles of subsidiarity (whenever there is no exclusive Community competence) and proportionality. This means that the Commission shall only propose legislation if it is more effective to do so on the EU level and with the intensity necessary to achieve the desired objectives. If it would be more effective if done on a national, regional or local level, the Commission shall not propose the piece of legislation. The Commission works for the good of the EU as a whole and not for the benefit of any one Member State or interest group. In response to the legal obligations imposed by the Treaties, and in accordance with this right of initiative, the European Commission prepares the legislative proposal for all legislative acts in relation to any Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP). Before doing so and in promoting a culture of dialogue and participation, it carries out extensive consultations with all interested parties (academia, industry, civil society, expert groups, as well as other European Institutions) on the basis of preparatory documents that it has put forward (in the nature of "Green Papers" or "White Papers"). In this way, the parties concerned by the legislation have a say in its preparation. Some of the proposed legislative proposals are also accompanied by assessments of their economic, environmental and social impacts, as well as their budgetary aspects, in order to ensure that both the benefits and costs of a piece of legislation are clear in advance. These assessments are often drawn up and made publicly available together with the proposal. These legislative proposals are then subject to the pertinent procedures as provided for by the Treaties before they are finally adopted by the Council and the European Parliament or the Council alone, as the Treaties foresee. The Commission is actively present throughout this decision-making process, amending its proposals, if it deems appropriate. Following the end of the legislative procedure, the Commission begins with the implementation of the FP. It is responsible for administering the EU research budget. In doing so, it takes legally binding decisions itself that form the basis for the provision of the financial support under the FP.
Category : General , FP7 (Seventh Framework Programme)