The Commission presents its proposal for a supplementary research programme for the ITER

On 21 December, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Council Decision on the adoption of a Supplementary Research Programme for the ITER project for the period 2014-2018. This proposal aims to define the funding arrangement for the EU contribution to the ITER project for that period.

According to the Commission, given that the financial model for the ITER project turned out to be no longer sustainable, a different approach is needed that would provide long-term certainty to the project. For that reason, through its Communication of 29 June 2011 “A Budget for Europe 2020”, the Commission proposed that after 2013 the EU contribution to the ITER project would come from outside the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). In order to do so, it has proposed to set up a Supplementary Research Programme under the Euratom Treaty for the EU contribution to the ITER project for the period 2014-2018.

Given that the Euratom Treaty limits the duration of Research Programmes to a maximum of five years and that, according to the ITER Agreement, the ITER project will have an initial duration of 35 years, subsequent Council decisions will be needed to continue to fund the EU contribution to this project.

The proposed Supplementary Research Programme covers the contributions to the construction of the ITER facility, procurement of equipment and installations and general technical and administrative support for the project during construction. It also envisages the participation in commissioning and initial operation, as well as other ITER related activities, such as those under the Broader Approach Agreement.