Research in the European Treaties

16-03-2016

Whilst Community research activities were a key component of the Treaties establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and the European Atomic Energy Community in 1957, there were no provisions related to research policy in the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958. In 1972, the European Commission proposed to define and implement a Community research policy; however, there was no legal basis for it in the EEC Treaty. That is why in the 1970s and early 1980s, the first EEC research programmes were adopted on the basis of Article 235 of the EEC Treaty, which gave the Council the implicit competence to adopt Community measures on policy areas not included in this Treaty. In 1982, the European Parliament called for the situation to be clarified. The Single European Act, signed in 1986, enshrined research policy in the EEC Treaty. It defined cooperation and coordination of national research policies as the objectives of the common research policy, provided a clear legal framework for the adoption of the Community framework programme for research, and offered additional tools for the implementation of research policies. The amendments introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 concerned mainly the legislative procedures to be used for the adoption of the relevant provisions. The inception of the European Research Area (ERA) in 2000 triggered the use of articles, dormant since 1986, for the establishment of public-public and public-private partnerships (Articles 185 and 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, TFEU). While the Treaty of Nice (2001) did not amend the articles related to research, the Treaty of Lisbon (2007) recognised research and space as a shared competence. It made the completion of ERA a Treaty requirement and provided the legal basis for the adoption of legislation to implement ERA. So far, this possibility, supported by the Parliament, has not been used due to opposition from the Council.

Whilst Community research activities were a key component of the Treaties establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and the European Atomic Energy Community in 1957, there were no provisions related to research policy in the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958. In 1972, the European Commission proposed to define and implement a Community research policy; however, there was no legal basis for it in the EEC Treaty. That is why in the 1970s and early 1980s, the first EEC research programmes were adopted on the basis of Article 235 of the EEC Treaty, which gave the Council the implicit competence to adopt Community measures on policy areas not included in this Treaty. In 1982, the European Parliament called for the situation to be clarified. The Single European Act, signed in 1986, enshrined research policy in the EEC Treaty. It defined cooperation and coordination of national research policies as the objectives of the common research policy, provided a clear legal framework for the adoption of the Community framework programme for research, and offered additional tools for the implementation of research policies. The amendments introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 concerned mainly the legislative procedures to be used for the adoption of the relevant provisions. The inception of the European Research Area (ERA) in 2000 triggered the use of articles, dormant since 1986, for the establishment of public-public and public-private partnerships (Articles 185 and 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, TFEU). While the Treaty of Nice (2001) did not amend the articles related to research, the Treaty of Lisbon (2007) recognised research and space as a shared competence. It made the completion of ERA a Treaty requirement and provided the legal basis for the adoption of legislation to implement ERA. So far, this possibility, supported by the Parliament, has not been used due to opposition from the Council.