1. The Joint Committee has examined the Commission’s proposal for a Council Decision adopting joint research programmes and programmes for co-ordinating agricultural research [R/1861/78 (AGRI 571) (FIN 514)]. The Committee understands that this proposal has proved acceptable to an ad hoc Council Working Party subject to some textual amendments and is likely to be adopted by the Council in the near future.
Outline of Proposal
2. The proposed programme would be carried out over a five-year period commencing on 1st January, 1979. Community appropriations over the period are expected to amount to 18.6 m. EUA. Apart from the removal of such obstacles to intra-Community trade as inspections for animal and plant diseases, priority would be given in the programme to socio-structural problems and to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, due account being taken of the outlets available for production and special emphasis being laid on the problems of the least favoured regions, especially the Mediterranean region. The programme would cover the ten following specific themes:
(a) land use and rural development
(b) Mediterranean agriculture
(c) agricultural waste and effluents from intensive stockrearing
(d) animal pathology
(e) improving the productivity of European beef herds
(f) biological and integrated pest control
(g) methods of improving plant resistance to disease and environmental pressures
(h) agro-food research
(i) elm disease: this is a pilot scheme for co-ordinating research into tree diseases
(j) improvements in the production of plant proteins.
Implications for Irelana
3. A Community research programme currently in operation and concentrating on four themes will terminate at the end of this year. The emphasis in this programme has been on common action and selected projects have been partly financed by the Community. The emphasis in the new programme will be on co-ordination action and the full funding of projects will be a national responsibility. Community expenditure will be incurred on inter-action between researchers through seminars, workshops, exchange visits, training abroad, etc. The overall result may be that less money will be available for research from the EEC for Ireland but it is expected that there will be considerable benefit in the development of research personnel.
Views of the Joint Committee
4. The Joint Committee would have preferred if the overall budgetary provisions allowed for more flexibility as well as for possible inflation over the five-year period. However, it understands that the proposal is more likely to be acceptable generally as it stands. The Committee agrees in the circumstances that the proposal should be supported.
(Signed) MARK CLINTON,
Chairman of the Joint Committee.
8th November, 1978.