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Annual Report 2003


This Report relates, in principle, to the period from January 2002 to March 2003.

To read the annual report click on the following link to Prelex and choose a language from the list at the top right.

Then click on the link to the COM document (2004/533) to find the text in a choice of PDF and WORD.


More details and information are contained in a Commission working document (PDF 497kB)
(Available in English only)

2002 was the last year of the implementation of the Fifth Framework Programme for R&D (“FP5”). It saw also the successful and timely conclusion of the negotiations for the Sixth Framework Programme for research (EC and Euratom) (“FP6”), the specific programmes implementing them, as well as the Rules of participation and dissemination relating to them. This was the result of the very good collaboration and the consensus existing among the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. It is important to note that there has been no recourse to the conciliation procedure for the co-decided acts of the EC FP and the Rules for participation and dissemination relating to it. Actually, the Rules, that for the first time had to be adopted by co-decision, were approved already at first reading.

This has greatly facilitated the timely launch of the implementation of the Framework Programme. By the end of 2002, the Commission adopted the work programmes for the Specific Programmes and published the first calls for proposals.

A first also in terms of its use was the proposal put forward by the Commission under article 169 of the EC Treaty. This Article allows the Community to participate in research programmes undertaken jointly by several Member States, including participation in the structures created for the execution of these programmes. In the course of 2002, a number of potential topics were identified. In the context of FP6, one formal Article 169 proposal about the poverty-related diseases (AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis) in the developing world was put forward by the Commission. It was swiftly adopted in co-decision by the European Parliament and the Council. Here, again, the broad agreement among the three European institutions was evident. This first-ever practical application of Article 169 constitutes one of the major innovations of FP6 with direct bearing on the creation of the European Research Area.

An interesting new point was the examination of the main trends of the national R&D policies in Europe. It showed the common drive towards certain priorities and it confirmed that the creation of the European Research Area is necessary for Europe to avoid fragmentation of its research efforts.

On top of these very welcome developments in the domain of the Sixth Framework Programme, major efforts have been undertaken towards the creation of the European Research Area. The Heads of State and Government agreed at the Barcelona European Council to raise investment in research and development from 1.9% of gross domestic product in 2000 to approach 3% by 2010. The Commission launched a debate on the issues to be tackled and policy measures required to realise the Barcelona goal.

Date of report's adoption: 2 August 2004

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last update: 27/10/04