Brussels, 17 December 2007
Today, Albania will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the European Commission allowing it full participation in the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). "Associated status" allows Albania to participate in all calls for proposals and compete on an equal footing with the EU Member States for research co-operation and support actions funded by FP7, as of 1 January 2008. As such, this agreement is an important part of the process of applying to join the EU, allowing scientists, universities and companies to create links with their counterparts across Europe and build up their scientific expertise, including in scientific fields crucial to implementing the body of EU legislation. Albania is now added to other countries in the Western Balkans regions that are associated to FP7 – Serbia, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“I strongly believe that the countries of the Western Balkans have
much to gain from participating in FP7, as part of their EU membership
perspective,” said Science and Research Commissioner Janez
Potočnik. “Working with EU scientists and companies, and other
scientists and companies in their own region, can bring many benefits –
scientific, commercial and political. I applaud Albania for the decision which
they are taking today to work with us and their regional
The Seventh Research Framework Programme is the biggest EU programme with a budget of more than 50 billion Euros over a time span of 7 years (2007-2013). It allows for funding of collaborative research in strategic areas such as health; energy; information technologies, nanotechnology or transport. FP7 also stimulates the mobility of researchers through Marie-Curie grants and has special programmes to support capacity building such as research infrastructure, research for small and medium sized enterprises, Science in Society, Research potential with special calls for the Western Balkan Countries and international cooperation actions aiming at improving the dialogue among regional partners.
Association to FP7 means that these countries compete in FP7 on the same
basis as EU Member States. It opens up research opportunities for the European
scientific community. Traditionally the Balkan countries have a solid scientific
base and deeper research cooperation with the EU will allow for a greater flow
of ideas, people and transfer of technology.