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Parlamento Europeo - 17 settembre 1992
Parliament's scientific and technological information

RESOLUTION A3-0246/92

Resolution on improving the European Parliament's sources of scientific and technological information

The European Parliament,

-having regard to the motions for resolutions by

(a)Mr Linkohr and others on improving Parliament's means of obtaining information on research in the field of science and technology (B3-0194/91),

(b)Mr Robles Piquer on encouraging specialization in Community affairs within European associations of science journalists (B3-1601/90),

-having regard to the report of the Committee on Energy, Research and Technology and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A3-0246/92),

A.whereas the Maastricht Treaty assigns Parliament a shared legislative role, particularly with regard to the adoption of the research and development framework programme,

B.whereas the content of the next framework programme will relate to the research activities which are considered necessary on the basis of all the chapters of the Treaty,

C.whereas, to enable better-informed decisions to be taken regarding the choice of R & D programmes, access to the most accurate and extensive information possible on the implications and the effects on society of scientific and technological developments is essential,

D.whereas the speed and complexity of scientific and technological development, the changes which these bring about and the problems they raise are such that the need to be involved in controlling the effects of the process is felt to an ever-greater extent by all legislative bodies,

E.recalling that, in accordance with the 'Tripartite' agreement of 17 April 1991, the Commission has undertaken to have an assessment carried out of the social and economic impact and of any technological risks in respect of all specific research programmes,

F.whereas the European Parliament, which has a prime role to play as the sole institution elected by direct universal suffrage, has at present insufficient resources at its disposal to enable it to appreciate correctly and, where possible, sufficiently in advance the importance of scientific and technological choices,

G.whereas Parliament's own sources of information should be improved and extended, and whereas the scope for extending them through the establishment of genuine interinstitutional cooperation should be considered,

H.whereas it should also help to make the general public more aware of the opportunities and dangers presented by various scientific and technological options,

Internally

1.Considers that the new responsibilities stemming from the Maastricht agreement require an improvement in the services and infrastructures relating to science and technology; to this end, priority should be given to four areas of activity:

(a)an increase in STOA's human and financial resources so as to enable Parliament to develop a genuine in-house instrument for scientific and technological assessment, independent of the Executive and in a position, by means of the EPTA network, to foster cooperation between the parliamentary assessment offices of the various Member States;

(b)the establishment in Brussels of an EP scientific documentation centre to meet Parliament's need for rapid information, together with the establishment therein of a computerized technological assessment data bank linked to an electronic data-transmission network accessible from Parliament's places of work. Such a data bank should allow rapid access to the work of STOA and the EPTA network, and also to the assessment reports drawn up by the Commission for each research programme carried out under the framework programme; according to initial estimates, the cost of setting up such a centre would be approximately ECU 300 000;

(c)the establishment of a science newsletter produced by a small team of independent scientific journalists supported by a network of European correspondents and costing an estimated ECU 200 000 per year;

(d)the organization of a Parliamentary Science and Technology Forum bringing together the European scientific community;

2.(a)Points out that STOA's needs, which have already been assessed in the interim report, are for seven new staff posts and an increase in available financial resources of approximately ECU 1.5 million;

(b)Wishes that STOA, in order to have its own scientific evaluation and socio-economic assessment capability, will be able to develop a policy for the recruitment of administrators possessing a dual 'scientific profile' in the 'hard' sciences and in human sciences;

(c)Wishes to see the societal dimension taken fully into account in the assessment studies carried out or commissioned by STOA;

3.Calls on the administration to provide, for the work of the Scientific Documentation Centre, at least one post for an analyst-archivist specializing in science, together with a reading room in which the studies already produced by STOA and the EPTA network and DG VI are available for consultation;

4.Stresses that the purpose of a scientific and technical information bulletin would be to present for each subject - selected on the basis of its political topicality - the state of R & D, any possible controversial aspects, and the scientific, technical, political, economic and societal considerations underlying the decisions taken;

5.Makes it clear that amounts deemed necessary in paragraphs 1 and 2 above are clearly indicative: the actual funding will be determined each year in the normal budgetary procedure;

At interinstitutional level

6.Calls on the Council to amend, in the light of the new interinstitutional relations stemming from the Treaty on European Union and with the prospect of a new interinstitutional agreement for the adoption of R & D programmes, the Regulation of 14 January 1974 establishing the Committee on Scientific and Technical Research (CREST), so that Parliament, like the Council, may have access to the reports and opinions produced by the Committee and that Parliament representatives may attend its meetings, at least as observers;

7.Considers that the experience accumulated by the Commission regarding the methodology of R & D assessment and actual assessment of research programmes should be exploited, particularly in association with the MONITOR programme, and that the information thus assembled should be circulated and be readily available to MEPs; in this context, regular exchanges could be arranged between the Commission's assessment staff and the members of STOA;

8.Calls, therefore, on the Commission to computerize the research programme assessment reports as soon as possible so that they are readily available for consultation via the data-processing network set up by Parliament;

9.Considers that the minutes, opinions and reports drawn up by IRDAC and CODEST should also be received regularly from the Commission departments responsible for providing secretarial services to these committees;

10.Considers that exchanges of views should be arranged on a regular basis between the chairmen of the above committees and the parliamentary bodies concerned;

11.Considers it desirable, furthermore, to maintain regular contacts with scientific journalists and their professional associations;

12.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.

 
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