The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the proposal for a regulation for the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) research and training programme 2021-2025.
The EESC considers the EURATOM budget to be proportionate to the objectives set and considers it essential to maintain this financial allocation regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. The Committee also considers it crucial in this respect to manage the United Kingdom's exit from the Euratom programme with the utmost care, particularly with regard to research already in progress, shared infrastructure and the social impact on staff (e.g. working conditions) both on British soil and elsewhere.
The EESC considers the Joint European Taurus project (JET) to be a key factor for the development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, ITER being, from a scientific point of view, the successor to JET. For this reason, the Committee considers it important that JET remain operational (as an EU project or as a joint EU-UK project) until the ITER project comes into operation.
The Committee emphasises that nuclear safety must be understood as a dynamic concept, which entails constant monitoring of and adjustments to existing legislation in accordance with recent developments and innovations, covering the whole life span of the plants. Plants located on borders between EU countries should be given particular attention, with increased coordination between national and local authorities and the effective involvement of citizens and workers.
The EESC considers education – beginning with compulsory education – and training to be an essential factor in attracting young people to scientific and technological subjects.