Thursday, 8 January 2009

EU Law: International research cooperation

A further option offered by the current Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is research cooperation between the European Community (European Union) and third countries or international organisations.

This international cooperation is tied to the multiannual framework programme, currently the European Community’s (European Union’s) Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), running from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

After looking at the relevant treaty provisions, we offer some suggestions for further reading on the European Union’s efforts to promote international research cooperation.


***


Article 170 TEC

Article 170 (ex Article 130m) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) provides an option for the European Community to cooperate with third countries or international organisations when implementing the framework programme for research and technological development.

The cooperation is based on the framework programme, currently the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), running from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

The second paragraph of Article 170 TEC offers a second option (‘may’): international agreements between the EC (EU) and third countries or international organisations.

The paragraph refers to Article 300 TEC on negotiating and concluding international agreements.


The current Article 170 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), as published in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E/122:

(TITLE XVIII
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT)


Article 170 TEC

In implementing the multiannual framework programme the Community may make provision for cooperation in Community research, technological development and demonstration with third countries or international organisations.

The detailed arrangements for such cooperation may be the subject of agreements between the Community and the third parties concerned, which shall be negotiated and concluded in accordance with Article 300.



***


Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Article 2, point 141 amended Article 170 TEC (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/86):

141) In the second paragraph of Article 170, the words ‘, which shall be negotiated and concluded in accordance with Article 300’ shall be deleted.



***


Renumbering the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL)

(The Table of equivalences of the original Treaty of Lisbon tells us that Title XVIII first became Title XVIII with the addition of space in the TFEU (ToL), and later renumbered Title XIX Research and technological development and space in the consolidated version.)

Article 170 TEC initially became Article 170 TFEU (ToL) before the renumbering of the treaty made it into Article 186 TFEU in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/217–218).


***

Deleted procedure

The Treaty of Lisbon deleted the reference to the Article 300 procedure for negotiating and concluding international agreements. This was in line with Article III-252(4) of the Constitutional Treaty.

***


Lisbon Treaty consolidated

Article 186 TFEU

The ‘Community’ was replaced by the ‘Union’ (horizontal amendment) and the Article was renumbered. Article 186 TFEU dropped the reference to Article 300 TEC, and it appears like this in the consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/131):

(TITLE XIX
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND SPACE)


Article 186 TFEU
(ex Article 170 TEC)

In implementing the multiannual framework programme the Union may make provision for cooperation in Union research, technological development and demonstration with third countries or international organisations.

The detailed arrangements for such cooperation may be the subject of agreements between the Union and the third parties concerned.



***

FP7 – Seventh Framework Programme (2007–2013)


Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013), published in OJEU 30.12.2006 L 412/1, is available here:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:412:0001:0041:EN:PDF

Recital 27 of the FP7 indicates the state of affairs and the efforts to strengthen international research cooperation:

(27) The Community has concluded a number of international agreements in the field of research and efforts should be made to strengthen international research cooperation with a view to reaping the full benefits of internationalisation of RTD, to contributing to the production of global public goods and to further integrating the Community into the world-wide research community.


***

Research Directorate-General

The Commission’s Directorate-General Research offers a gateway to International Cooperation here:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm


A table of various agreements on research and technological development is accessible here:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/st_agreement_ec_euratom_en.pdf

The Commission staff working document A new approach to international scientific and technological co-operation in the 7th Research Framework Programme (2007-2013) and 7th Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) (2007-2011), Bussels, 12.1.2007 SEC(2007)47, explains the objectives of the Commission to foster international research cooperation during the existing framework programmes:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/newapproach_en.pdf


The Commission has followed up with the recent forward looking Communication A strategic European framework for international science and technology cooperation, Brussels, 24 September 2008 COM (2008) 588 final:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/com_2008_588_en.pdf


This is how the Commission presents its view:

This Communication presents a strategic European framework for international cooperation in science and technology (S&T). It also covers the specific aspects of such cooperation in information and communication technologies (ICT).

By strengthening its research effort and facilitating the use of new technologies, Europe can respond more effectively and efficiently to the major challenges society is facing today. Deepening the European Research Area (ERA) through greater integration and cross-border coordination of research investments and activities will increase Europe's competitiveness and its attractiveness as a place to invest in research and innovation. Promoting European ICTs worldwide as a key driver of socio-economic growth will also contribute to the Growth and Jobs agenda1. Deepening the ERA should go hand in hand with widening it, through enhanced cooperation with international partners.


Ralf Grahn