Brussels, 19 February 2002
Speaking at a Belgian Royal Military Academy workshop on humanitarian mine clearance on 18 February, EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin highlighted how the European research area (ERA) and the Sixth Framework programme (FP6) will support research and development (R&D) in this area.
Mr Busquin underlined how the problem of humanitarian mine clearance is complex, and that success will only be achieved through the combination of competencies and resources available in national research centres and in industry, and through achieving a common R&D strategy, all of which are envisaged in the Commissioner's ERA proposal.
'It seems to me to be important to develop a strategy for research and development for humanitarian mine action technologies, which will allow us to create a critical mass of resources, activities, competencies and expertise,' said Mr Busquin.
The Commission has already provided support for landmine clearance research. In the Fifth Framework programme (FP5), this amounted to 13 million euro for improved detection devices and methods for improved minefield survey.
Mr Busquin believes that the new tools to be incorporated into FP6 will allow yet more support. He described to his audience how the purpose of FP6's networks of excellence are to 'strengthen excellence and stimulate gradual and lasting integration of research capacities existing or emerging in Europe [...] This instrument is therefore well adapted for the problem of humanitarian mine action,' said Mr Busquin.