5 June 2013
Europolitics Energy

The European Commission's idea to contribute to the financing of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) via an ad hoc contribution by the member states calculated on the basis of their gross national income (GNI) for the 2014-2018 period is not a good one, says the European Parliament's Committee on Energy (ITRE). ITER financing for the period 2014 to 2018 should be reintegrated in the multiannual financial framework (MFF), MEPs said. The vote on a draft by Czech MEP Vladimír Remek (GUE/NGL) was 37 in favour, five against and six abstentions.

MEPs agree with the budget set by the Commission for the EU's contribution to ITER – €2.573 million. But, says the text adopted by the committee, this programme should be financed “over and above the MFF ceilings, namely outside Heading 1A and additionally to the budget proposed by the Commission for the Horizon 2020 programme, the Euratom programme or other Union programmes”.

By proposing to finance ITER outside the MFF, the Commission had hoped to secure the EU's financial contribution to a technologically and financially risky project, and thus avoid not being able to fulfil its obligation if the budget is exceeded. MEPs admit that this risk does exist. But they say that any cost overruns should not have any impact on the budgetary allocations for other projects financed from the Union's budget and should thus be financed through “additional resources over and above the ceilings as appropriate”.

Lastly, “reintegrating ITER in the MFF will provide the European Parliament with a better control of the project”, said Remek. The report will be voted on in plenary in July.

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