The EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (FPRI) are a successful instrument of EU policymaking. Their origins can be traced back to two main sources. In 1957, the Joint Research Centre was established under the Euratom treaty for the purpose of conducting research in a single area (essentially nuclear fission). In 1983, the ESPRIT programme, which focussed on computer and telecommunications technology, was proposed by French President François Mitterrand.
On 25 July 1983, the European Council adopted a resolution instituting «framework programmes for Community research, technological development and demonstration activities» (Council resolution on framework programmes for Community research, development and demonstration activities and a first framework programme 1984 to 1987, 31983Y0804(01), adopted on 25 July 1983, OJ of 4 August 1983, p. 1, entry into force in 1984, repealed on 31 December 1987. In EU jargon, the term «resolution» refers to a decision). The following year, 1984, the first Framework Programme was established.
The aim of these Framework Programmes is to encourage a balanced scientific and technological development in Europe. The FPRI establish the scientific and technological objectives to be achieved, the criteria for selection of research activities, the corresponding priorities as well as financial indications. As an instrument, the FPRI are designed to further the development of more integrated research within the EU. According to the European Council resolution, research activities may be justified if they offer advantages over national activities. This is the principle of subsidiarity. The FPRI are prepared by the European Commission, which then presents its proposal in consultation with the EU Member States.