§ Mr. Richard Page
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the European Community Research Council on 30 June.
§ Mr. MacGregor
I attended a meeting of the Research Council in Luxembourg on 30 June 1982.
The council held a further discussion of the evolution of Community research and development strategy. In the light of the debate, the Commission was invited to present concrete proposals for a medium term plan for research activities. The Commission indicated that it might also bring forward proposals for speeding the decision making process for research programmes.
The council provisionally adopted a common position on the Commission's proposal for a new five-year research programme on medical and public health research. Under the programme, research institutions in the member Stales would coordinate their activities in certain areas, and the Commission would provide means for the participants to coordinate the work and share results. Final adoption will have to await the views of the Economic and Social Committee and the European Parliament.
Ministers discussed in general terms the future work programme of the Community's own research laboratories (the joint research centre). Particular attention was given to the major project being carried out at the Ispra establishment in Northern Italy relating to the safety of nuclear reactors, and a number of key questions were raised for further consideration. In the light of the discussion, the Commission is to bring forward formal proposals for changing the current work programme.
The Council gave general support to the Commission's intention to launch an initiative to improve the competitiveness of Europen industry in the medium to long term in the field of information technology. A series of pilot projects in collaborative research involving the companies concerned would be launched in 1983 leading to a major programme starting in 1984. The formal proposals for the future work will be drawn up in the light of the discussion for decision later in the year.