Wednesday, 7 January 2009

EU Law: Joint implementation of research programmes

One of the options offered by the current Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is for the Community to participate jointly with member states in research programmes.

Under the European Community’s (European Union’s) Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) the references to the potential use of this option have multiplied.

We look at this optional instrument both at treaty level and in the FP7, running from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

CORDIS has recently established a portal dedicated to Article 169 initiatives.

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Article 169 TEC

Article 169 (ex Article 130l) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) provides an option for the European Community to participate in the implementation of the framework programme for research and technological development.

In agreement with the member states concerned, the Community can participate in concrete research and development programmes undertaken by some member states. This can include participation in the structures created for the execution of those programmes.



The current Article 169 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 169 TEC

In implementing the multiannual framework programme, the Community may make provision, in agreement with the Member States concerned, for participation in research and development programmes undertaken by several Member States, including participation in the structures created for the execution of those programmes.


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Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Article 2, point 140 of the Lisbon Treaty amended Article 168 TEC and point 141 amended Article 170 TEC (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/86).

In other words, there were no specific amendments of Article 169 TEC.

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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 169 TEC initially became Article 169 TFEU (ToL) before the renumbering of the treaty made it into Article 185 TFEU in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/217–218).


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Lisbon Treaty consolidated

Article 184 TFEU

The ‘Community’ was replaced by the ‘Union’ (horizontal amendment) and the Article was renumbered. Article 185 TFEU 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 185 TFEU
(ex Article 169 TEC)

In implementing the multiannual framework programme, the Union may make provision, in agreement with the Member States concerned, for participation in research and development programmes undertaken by several Member States, including participation in the structures created for the execution of those programmes.



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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 26 of the FP7 Decision 1982/2006 refers to potential Community participation within the meaning of Article 169 TEC:

(26) Implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme may give rise to supplementary programmes involving the participation of certain Member States only, the participation of the Community in programmes undertaken by several Member States, or the setting up of joint undertakings or other arrangements within the meaning of Articles 168, 169 and 171 of the Treaty.


The possibility for European Community participation under Article 169 TEC is evoked in Annex I under the Cooperation programme:

Coordination of Non-Community Research Programmes

The action undertaken in this field will make use of two main tools: the ERA-NET scheme and the participation of the Community in jointly implemented national research programmes (under Article 169 of the Treaty). The action may cover subjects not directly linked to the ten themes in so far as they have sufficient European added value. The action will also be used to enhance the complementarity and synergy between the Seventh Framework Programme and activities carried out in the framework of intergovernmental structures such as EUREKA and COST.


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In the context of the ERA-NET scheme large scale projects in ‘variable geometry’ are mentioned:

The participation of the Community in research programmes jointly implemented on the basis of Article 169 of the Treaty is especially relevant to European cooperation on a large scale in ‘variable geometry’ between Member States sharing common needs and/or interests. In well-identified cases such Article 169 initiatives could be launched in areas to be identified in close association with the Member States, including the possible cooperation with intergovernmental programmes, on the basis of a series of criteria.


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In the context of funding schemes additional details of the application of Article 169 TEC are presented:

To support actions implemented on the basis of decisions by the Council and the European Parliament (or by the Council in consultation with the European Parliament) based on a proposal from the Commission, the Community will provide financial support to multi-financed large-scale initiatives.

— A financial contribution from the Community to the joint implementation of well identified national research programmes, on the basis of Article 169 of the Treaty. This joint implementation will require the establishment or existence of a dedicated implementation structure. Community financial support will be provided subject to the definition of a financing plan based on formal commitments from competent national authorities.



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Research Directorate-General

Within the context of the Sixth Framework Programme, the Directorate-General for Research presented this short view on the potential use of Article 169 TEC. The undated text offers us a picture of the Commissions thinking, and it is available here:

ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/documents_r5/natdir0000039/s_1975005_20030320_152242_6FPL021975en.pdf

For ease of use, we reproduce the text of the one page document here:

Article 169

Objectives

Article 169 enables the Community to participate in research programmes undertaken jointly by several Member States, including participation in the structures created for the execution of national programmes.


Characteristics

Article 169 is potentially a very powerful instrument:

· Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence integrate individual performers of research;

· Article 169 integrates national programmes.

Article 169 is adopted by a co-decision process between the European Parliament and the Council. The originality of Article 169 is related to the fact that the proposal comes from the Member States.

Players involved

The political players from the Member States are the policy makers and the operational players are the programme managers of national programmes. The Commission is responsible for transforming each initiative into a formal proposal of Article 169 to the Council and Parliament who then decide through the co-decision process.

Basic criteria

The basic criteria for the selection of the proposals of Article 169 are as follows:

· involvement of enough Member States to obtain a significant structuring effect and critical
mass;

· topic of great interest to the Community and fits with the thematic priorities of the Framework Programme;

· principles of co-funding by Member States and Community, and of additionality are respected;

· significant European added-value;

· Article 169 is the only way the project could be implemented.

First achievements

Several topics have been identified and one topic has been submitted as a formal proposal of Article 169: “European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership” (EDCTP). This proposal was adopted by the Commission, 28 August 2002 and has been transmitted to Council and the Parliament.


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CORDIS 169 portal

CORDIS (the Community Research and Development Information Service) has established a portal dedicated to Article 169 initiatives:

http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/art169/home_en.html

The web pages seem to contain ‘everything’ you need to know about joint implementation.


Ralf Grahn