Brussels, 1st November 2007
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Israel is the first neighbouring country to join the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) under which the European Commission promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Memorandum of Understanding on the CIP was signed by Vice-President Günter Verheugen, and the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Eliyahu Yishai, in Tel Aviv. The participation of Israel in community programmes is an important step in the process of progressive economic integration between Israel and the EU in the framework of the ENP. During his visit to Israel on 1-2 November 2007 VP Verheugen will also participate in the EU-Israel business dialogue and discuss with key decision makers the priorities for future enterprise and industrial cooperation between the European Union and Israel.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “Competitiveness and innovation are joint challenges for Israel and the EU. There are many areas of entrepreneurship and innovation policy in which Israel and the EU have a lot to offer , and where cooperation in joint projects and business and innovation networks will create a win-win situation. In today`s world the key to success is not isolation but cooperation. ”.
Israel will join the first pillar Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EIP) under the CIP Programme. EIP will foster the competitiveness of enterprises. EIP will also link providers of business and innovation services into a European network, and link innovation actors and clusters in European networks.
Israel also expressed interest to join the other two CIP pillars, the Information and Communication Technologies and the Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme in the future. The promotion of small and medium sized enterprises and eco-innovation are cross-cutting priorities for each of the three pillars.
Through the CIP, Israel can cooperate with all 27 Member States of the European Union, as well as with other third countries joining the CIP, on a whole host of projects and schemes on competitiveness and innovation in environmentally friendly way. The CIP Programme runs from 2007 to 2013 with a budget of € 3.6 billion.
Israel participated already actively in innovation related activities under the “Research and innovation” programme of the sixth Framework Programme. These have been extended and further developed under the CIP.