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Romania requests cut in financial contributions to FP6

The European Commission is considering a request by the Romanian government
for or a decrease in the country’s budgetary contribution to the Sixth
Framework Programme (FP6).

The appeal was made during a recent visit to Romania by EU Research
Commissioner Philippe Busquin, who promised that a full analysis of Romania’
s situation will be carried out. The results of this assessment will then be
used by Mr Busquin and his colleagues in the College of Commissioners to
reach a decision.

‘It appears that the situation is very difficult in Romania, and [a decrease
in the country’s budgetary contribution] could therefore benecessary,’ a
Commission official working in the field told CORDIS News.

The Romanian national press agency (Rompres) reports that the country’s
Minister for Education, Research and Youth, Alexandru Athanasiu, together
with the ministry’s State Secretary, Gheorghe Popa, requested a 25% cut in
Romania’s contribution of ? 77 million. ‘The funds gained by this
contribution cut will be used to make investments in our research institutes
so that they should be better trained for project competition,’ Mr Athanasiu
told Rompres. Mr Athanasiu added that the Commissioner had suggested that
the government consider implementing tax incentives, in order to encourage
Romanian entrepreneurs to take up the results of Romanian research.

Of the three remaining candidate countries,Romania currently channels the
highest percentage of its gross domestic expenditure on research and
development (GERD) into the Framework Programmes at 19%. Bulgaria allocates
12%, while Turkey contributes 7.5%.

Mr Busquin said that some of the aims of his visit to Romania were to learn
more about the difficulties facing Romanian researchers who wish to
participate in FP6, and to review the government’s support mechanisms for
facilitating participation.

Some 8.68% of FP6 proposals involving Romanian researchers were selected for
funding by external evaluators – well below the average of 31.58%. Romanians
were most successful in the ‘aeronautics and space’ thematic priority, where
six out of 16 proposals were retained. At the other end of the scale, only
one out of 25 proposals involving Romanian organisations was selected under
the ‘life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health’ priority.

(Cordis news – 23 February 2004)