EUROFER view on post-ECSC Treaty steel research
The Amsterdam European Council in June 1997 adopted a resolution inviting the Commission to make proposals in order to ensure that, upon expiration of the ECSC Treaty in 2002, the revenues of outstanding reserves are used for a research fund for the coal and steel industry and to sectors related to them.
In October 1997, the Commission issued a communication to the Council, setting out the arrangements for continued coal and steel research using the revenues from the ECSC assets remaining after the expiry of the ECSC Treaty.
In July 1998, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on the expiry of the ECSC Treaty, stating in some detail how the ECSC assets should be managed to let the revenues constitute dedicated funds for coal and steel research along lines similar to the existing ECSC research programme and in close consultation with industry.
In April 1999, the Council of Ministers agreed that the ECSC assets and liabilities should revert to the Communities remaining, that the ECSC funds should remain separate from other Community funds, and that administration of the assets should be entrusted to the Communities remaining, as represented by the Commission.
More details on the Council and Commission resolutions and proposals are shown in Annex 1.
EUROFER supports the above-mentioned Commission communication and Council conclusions. Noting the Council's demand that the Research and Technical Development (RTD) programme should be managed in close consultation with industry and that existing procedures should be respected, EUROFER proposes the following for implementation of the Commission proposals and Council conclusions regarding ECSC-funded steel RTD after 2002.
A Steel RTD Committee should be appointed by the Commission from nominations received from the EU steel industry. The committee, chaired by the Commission, should comprise RTD executives from EU steel companies and steel RTD organisations. The main tasks of this committee should be to:
For regular monitoring of the entire programme, Expert Committees should be appointed by the Commission from nominations received from members of the Steel RTD Committee. Members, covering specialist areas of steel process, product and application technologies, should be drawn mainly from steel companies and RTD institutions involved in the programme. The main tasks of these expert committees should be to:
Programme management and co-ordination
As the case has been so far, the Commission should be responsible for the overall programme management and co-ordination.
Thematic networks or similar actions with ECSC projects and related Framework Programme projects should be established in order to stimulate cross-fertilisation between projects and to maximise added value.
Structured dialogue with stakeholders
An RTD Advisory Committee should be formed in which the steel industry can present its view on political and financial aspects of the management and use of the research assets. The members should be appointed by the Council. The committee should also comprise representatives of steel-industry employees and steel users.
The Commission should consult the RTD Advisory Committee on:
EUROFER is in favour of a continued structured dialogue with the European Commission after the expiry of the ECSC Treaty and has therefore proposed the formation of a Steel Forum for this purpose. If this forum is created, it should also assume the role of the RTD Advisory Committee proposed above.
Annex 1Council and Commission resolutions and proposals
The Amsterdam European Council on 16 and 17 June 1997 concluded: The Commission is invited to make the appropriate proposals in order to ensure that, upon expiration of the ECSC Treaty in 2002, to use the revenues of outstanding reserves for a research fund for sectors related to the coal and steel industry.
On 8 October 1997, the Commission issued a communication to the Council, COM(97)506. In the communication, the Commission set out the arrangements for a research mechanism along the following lines:
On 16 November 1998, the Commission issued a working paper SEC(1998)1948 Expiry of the ECSC Treaty Financial Activities. The paper provides a number of strong arguments for the Commission's proposal that the ECSC assets and liabilities should revert to the Communities remaining at the expiry of the ECSC Treaty. It is also stated that the percentage contributions of the coal and steel industries during the period 1953-1998 were 27.2 and 72.8 percent, respectively. Finally, the paper discusses the problems related to the accession of new Member States and the conditions for their participation in future ECSC RTD but without giving any firm conclusions.
On 29 April 1999, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on the expiry of the ECSC Treaty. Main points of the resolution concerning the ownership of the ECSC assets and liabilities:
Furthermore, the Council considered that