News archive - Potocnik Visited Albania

On May 5 and 6, 2008, Commissioner Potočnik visited Tirana and met the authorities to discuss the state of research cooperation between the European Union and Albania. He visited Albania for first time after the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding associating the Country to FP7.

Albania decision to join the European Community’s Seventh Framework for Research (FP7) from January 1, 2008 will allow Albanian Researchers to collaborate with scientists and engineers across the EU Member States and the other Balkan countries on an equal footing.

Janez Potocnik, the European Commissioner responsible for Science and Research, who was in Tirana on 5 and 6 May to meet Albanian authorities and scientists, explained that this is a step in the right direction:

“By engaging more in research Albania will not only improve the quality of life for its citizens, it will also shift to a more competitive knowledge-based economy based on new products and services.”

During his visit Commissioner Potocnik discussed the importance of investing in research with the President, the Prime Minister and the Albanian Minister of Education and Science. He also spoke to 100 scientists, engineers, researchers and policy makers at an Information Day on FP7 organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Albanian Ministry of Education and Science.

Commisioner Potocnik believes that all Western Balkan countries have much to gain form research cooperation with the EU. This is not only because of access to European research funding, but from effective integration into the “European Research Area” (ERA). "By working with scientists and companies throughout the European Research Area, which now includes virtually the whole Balkan region, Albania can get many benefits: scientific, socio-economic and political".

Research cooperation with the Commission’s Joint Research Centre will also help Albania meet European technical requirements and standards in food safety, public health, environment and energy. This will in turn enhance Albania's perspectives of joining the European Union.

But in order to gain maximum benefit from these new research opportunities, the Albanian government will need to take measures to strengthen national research capacity. The main purpose of the European Commissioner’s visit is to encourage Albania to put research policy on the political agenda and to commit more means to strengthening national research.

Commissioner Potocnik’s first state visit to Albania followed less than 5 months after the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding associating Albania to FP7 took place in Brussels on 17 December 2007. This visit is part of a tour to all Balkan countries to discuss with the authorities the importance of research and cooperation with the European Union. The visit included:
-A visit to the Institute of Public Health
-Meetings with the President, Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Education and Minister of Culture
-A keynote address to the FP7 Info Day.

Commissioner Potocnik also spoke at several cultural events to celebrate European Week in Albania.

For further information:
Press & Information Officer

Source: SCORE

Entry created by Elke Dall on May 9, 2008
Modified on May 4, 2008