News archive - Visit of Commissioner Potocnik to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for Science and Research, visited Sarajevo on October 4-5, 2007. During his visit he met representatives of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the country’s European perspective as well as cooperation between it and the European Union in the field of science and research.

On October 4, 2007, Commissioner Potočnik attended a round table in the Academy of Science and Arts of BiH. In his speech, he stressed the importance of research and the vital role of the scientific community. He said that he had not come to BiH to make promises but to share his experiences as a Commissioner and as a professional. Research is among the top EU priorities and he expressed his willingness to show which direction BiH should take to achieve the necessary strength in academic circles and what are the required steps to enhance political will, since he is convinced that this is where the main problem lies.
The fact that BiH currently invests only 0.05% of GDP in research as opposed to the average 1.9% spent in the EU (with a target of 3% by 2010) speaks for itself. Božidar Matić, President of the Academy of Science and Arts of BiH, stressed that the cause of the dire situation faced by scientific research in BiH is the Dayton agreement because it had never been included and, hence, there is no political will to support it.
The EU is offering BiH association to FP7 which would allow for a number of funding possibilities, such as allowing BiH scientists access to EU laboratories, funding to support the reintegration of BiH scientists who have spent more than three years abroad and wish to return, financing BiH researchers to work anywhere in the world provided that having completed their research they return to BiH so that the country can benefit from their knowledge, etc. BiH has not requested access to these funds yet. The Commissioner has offered all WBC an 80% rebate of the “entry fee” for the first year, a 75% rebate for the second year and so on, with a sliding scale of 5% less per year. BiH’s fee could be paid, partially or in full, through funds of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

(Information provided by Dina Masnik, NCP in BiH)

Article published in eJournal fall/winter 2007.

Entry created by Dina Masnik-Culahovic on December 17, 2007
Modified on December 17, 2007