Answer given by Ms Kroes on behalf of the Commission
Presuming that the continuation of the AAL JP meets the Horizon 2020 objectives and criteria and that the current AAL JP shows significant progress under FP7, the Commission has already initiated the process for the continuation of the Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP). In 2010 an Interim Evaluation has been carried out(1). The main conclusion was that the AAL Joint Programme generates impressive results, but that a follow-up is needed to achieve fully its goals, in particular to make ICT solutions for health and care part and parcel of the daily life of elderly citizens. This corresponds to the DAE target to double the take-up of independent living arrangements for the elderly by 2015.
In reaction to the Commission communication on the AAL JP Interim Evaluation, the Council has requested the Commission in cooperation with participating countries to propose options for the follow-up to the AAL JP under Horizon 2020, in accordance with Article 185 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Work has started on analysing these options, in close cooperation with the AAL governing body of Member States agencies. On this basis, the Commission is working on an Impact assessment exercise Please note that this proposal detailing community participation can only be adopted by the European Commission after Member States have come forward with their joint programme (including planned financial commitments and a commonly agreed research agenda). Before anything is decided decision-making on the Horizon 2020 proposal and the MFF for the EU‑budget have to be awaited. Timely action is needed though, to avoid funding gaps for the JP.
The proposal will take into account recommendations from the interim evaluation (e.g. on increasing user involvement and a close link to the market), as well as from the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing and its Strategic Implementation Plan. The EIP positions the AAL JP as crucial because of its focus on the innovation stage, where in particular SMEs need public support to accelerate innovations from research to market.