News archive - Four WBC Association Procedures in the Pipeline

Tania Friederichs from DG Research shows how the Platform Strategy pays off and informs about the requests for association to the Seventh Framework Programme on RTD by Serbia, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia and Montenegro.

EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potoènik, speaking at a policy meeting organised by 'Friends of Europe' in Brussels in the beginning of December 2006 on stability in the Balkan Region, recalled the so-called WBC Platform strategy and encouraged all Balkan countries to become associated to the Seventh Framework Programme on Research and Technological Development (FP7). He clearly said, 'I have made the conditions for Balkan countries to associate with FP7 as attractive as possible. I have done this because I believe that, more than in the past, research has become an important accession tool and, more than in the past, the Balkans need a clear message of our willingness to help.' In conclusion, Mr Potoènik said that he wanted the doors of the European Research Area to be 'wide open to all Balkan countries'. Full involvement would help these countries to develop, enabling them to become a part of the EU, and to permit collaboration between excellent scientists and researchers from the Balkans and the European Research Community. However, these are not the only reasons to pursue participation in EU research: 'I want Balkan countries to be fully integrated into research because it is also an undeniable step on the path to stability and integration into the EU,' he said.
And his strategy is already paying off: In mid-February 2007 Serbia, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia and Montenegro requested to become associated to FP7. For these four countries, the procedure has been launched (preparing a Memorandum of Understanding on terms and conditions for participation as an Associated Country in FP7), for approval of the decision by the European Commission. Once the internal EC procedure is finalised, and the Memorandum is also approved by the associating country, the signing ceremony can take place. These Memoranda of Understanding take, however, effect from January 1, 2007. This means that all researchers, institutes, universities and SMEs from these countries are eligible as Associated Countries in the calls for proposals organised under FP7 and can be project coordinators. Participation as an Associated Country means that the national researchers have equal status as researchers from the 27 Member States. Consequently, they enjoy more opportunities than if they had remained a third country under FP7. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania are also actively considering their association to FP7. With regard to Kosovo, research institutions and scientists from Kosovo, pending the status discussions, are encouraged to actively consider research cooperation with EU partners under the special calls for third countries (see further SICA calls).

Article published in eJournal winter 06/07.
Information provided by Tania Friederichs, EC, DG Research

Entry created by Tania Friederichs on March 5, 2007
Modified on February 13, 2007