Position7th Framework Research Programme

The 7th Framework Research Programme was formally signed into law, on 18 December, in a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The signing ceremony was carried out by President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, and followed the adoption of the programme by the Council of Ministers earlier the same day. The package of FP7 legislative proposals was adopted at a meeting of the Environment Council as a series of A items' (ie adopted without discussion). These proposals covered the setting up of the Framework Programme itself, the rules of participation applying to undertakings (ie the private sector), research centres and universities, and implementing legislation relating to the specific FP7 sub-programmes.

The major parts of this package, namely the decision setting up the Framework Programme (2005/0043/COD), and the decision on the rules of participation (2005/0277/COD), were the subject of co-decision procedures with the Parliament. A compromise was reached between the institutions on both of them and thus the versions of the texts that have been adopted are identical to those endorsed by MEPs on 30 November in their second reading.

Both the Framework Programme decision and the rules of participation needed qualified majority support in Council to be adopted. While the rules received unanimous support from ministers, Slovakia, Austria, Malta, Poland and Lithuania all voted against the FP7 decision. In all cases this was due to their opposition to the use of the FP7 budget for the funding of embryonic stem cell research.

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