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Brussels, 7 May 2008

President Barroso and Dr. ElBaradei, Director-General of the IAEA, express their commitment to reinforce cooperation on nuclear energy

President Barroso and Dr. ElBaradei had today an exchange of views in Brussels on current political issues and increased cooperation between the Commission and the IAEA on nuclear energy. President Barroso declared that "it is important to join our efforts to monitor the development of nuclear energy in a peaceful, safe and secure manner, fully respecting global non-proliferation objectives". On the occasion of this meeting, a Joint Statement was signed between the Commission and the IAEA services to reinforce mutual cooperation on nuclear energy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) - which both celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in 2007 - share common objectives on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, in particular the strengthening of nuclear safety and global guarantees for non-proliferation. Safe and secure use of nuclear energy led both organisations to establish high level safety standards to protect people, the environment, as well as strict measures for the non-proliferation and safeguarding of nuclear materials.

Over the last two years the Commission and IAEA services have significantly reinforced the quality and intensity of their cooperation.[1] The most visible cooperation is in the field of nuclear safeguards, where Euratom and IAEA inspectors cooperate closely, and on a complementary basis, in the application of the safeguards agreements between the Euratom Community, the IAEA and the EU Member States. Technology and scientific research, including on new reactors (Generation IV) and fusion energy research (ITER), are also important fields of cooperation.

In its 2007 Communication on "An Energy Policy for Europe"[2], the Commission identified the promotion of non-proliferation as one of the key priorities to be pursued by an effective external EU energy policy. The Commission highlighted in this context the need for strengthening cooperation between the Euratom Community and the IAEA in order to achieve the desired effect at international level.

The concrete purpose of the Joint Statement which was signed today by the Commission and IAEA services is therefore to highlight the mutual will to further strengthen cooperation, emphasise the specific priority areas and provide for regular high-level meetings to facilitate this reinforced cooperation.

[1] On the basis of the 1975 Cooperation Agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 75/780/Euratom, OJ L 329, 23/12/1975, p. 28 - 29

[2] Communication from the Commission of 10 January 2007 on "An Energy policy for Europe".

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