News archive - Croatia and FYR Macedonia join Competitiveness and Innovation Programme

Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have joined the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), under which the European Commission promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and growth in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on October 18, 2007.

European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vera Rafajlovska, the Minister of Economy within the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, formalising her country's entry into the programme. A similar agreement was signed with Croatian Ambassador to the EU Branko Baricevic earlier this month.

'There are many areas of entrepreneurship and innovation policy where both countries have made excellent progress,' said Commissioner Verheugen. 'Their participation in the CIP will further consolidate these reform efforts and help them align their policies with those of the European Union, which they aspire to join in the near future.'

Both countries have a high proportion of small companies, and their governments have made great strides towards developing a favourable regulatory framework for SMEs. Now they need to build on this by putting in place policies which will encourage innovation in SMEs and so boost their competitiveness at national, regional and European levels.

By joining projects and networks involving partners from across the EU, the two countries will be exposed to best practice on entrepreneurship, SME policy, competitiveness and innovation.

Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are the first non-EU/EEA (European Economic Area) countries to join the CIP. However, negotiations are already underway for Turkey and several other potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans to join the programme.

The CIP has a total budget of €3.6 billion and will run from 2007 to 2013. It consists of three pillars: the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Framework Programme, the Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme and the Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme. A cross-cutting theme for the entire programme is eco-innovation.

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Source: CORDIS, RCN: 28546
Based on information from the European Commission (press release IP/07/1542)

Entry created by Elke Dall on October 20, 2007
Modified on October 21, 2007