Enlargement becomes an early reality as candidate countries sign 6th EU Research Framework Programme

October 29, 2002

Brussels, 28 October 2002

On 29 October 2002 in Brussels, the European Commission and Candidate Countries (CCs) will sign association agreements on the €17.5 billion 6 th EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006).

Commission President Romano Prodi, Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and Enlargement Commissioner Günther Verheugen will welcome Research Ministers from Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey, to sign Memoranda of Understanding.

Participants will also discuss the role and opportunities for Candidate Countries in FP6. Candidate countries will have the same rights and obligations as EU Member States within FP6. Research will therefore be the first area in which EU enlargement becomes a reality.

"With the signature of FP6 Memoranda of Understanding by Candidate Countries, enlargement becomes a reality, well in advance on the accession schedule. This is recognition of the scientific potential that Candidate Countries possess. Current EU Member States will also benefit from this," said Commissioner Busquin. "Scientists and engineers from Candidate Countries will now be able to contribute their know-how and experience to the broader challenges of European research and feel part of the forthcoming European Research Area, a true internal market for knowledge and science. The signing of these association agreements will mark a major step forward for Candidate Countries and enhance their input to European competitiveness and quality of life."

CCs are already involved in the EU 5 th Research Framework Programme (FP5 1998-2002). To tackle the issues that have slowed down their involvement in FP5, the Commission will launch a range of "Specific Support Actions" to stimulate, encourage and facilitate their participation, particularly in Networks of Excellence and Integrated Projects.

Research centres, universities and enterprises from Candidate Countries have already displayed enthusiasm for FP6 by presenting many "expressions of interest" (EoIs). On March 20, 2002, the Commission invited the European scientific and business community present ideas on the most promising topics for research. Some 12,000 Eol's were received in response to this invitation.

Seven Candidate Countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary Latvia, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia) have also expressed interest in being associated with the €1,230 billion EURATOM Framework Programme (2003-2006) for nuclear research.

For further information on Candidate Countries participation in FP5 (1998-2002):



Information on FP6:


DN: IP/02/1559 Date: 28/10/2002

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