Brussels, 07 Apr 2003
The rules of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) and an increased budget for participation by Eastern European countries are likely to strengthen cooperation between Russian organisations and the EU, concluded EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society Erkki Liikanen, on 4 April.
Speaking at an IT security conference in Moscow, Mr Liikanen said that unlike the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), the rules of FP6 would allow EU financing of Russian organisations. 'We expect that this will result in a steep increase in Russian involvement [particularly] in the Information Society Programme of the European Union,' said the Commissioner.
Under FP5's information society technologies (IST) programme, nearly 200 organisations from Russia participated in writing research proposals. Some 25 of these proposals were selected, involving 33 Russian organisations. The total financial volume of joint EU-Russian work in the FP5 IST programme amounted to 58 million euro with some 40 million euro of EU funding.
With regard to FP6, Mr Liikanen referred to the EU-Russia action plan, developed by EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and Russian Research Minister Alexander Dondukov, which identified domains in which cooperation could be strengthened in the short term. These include an interconnection of EU and Russian research networks which will enable Russian scientists to work closely with their colleagues from the EU in European projects, and the use of IST for education.
Mr Liikanen also noted that stepping up cooperation in this way is essential in the light of the EU enlargement process and Russia's ambitions to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
'Application of modern technologies and know-how will increasingly become a crucial element to participating in the worldwide Information Society and developing an efficient economy, not least for Russia,' said the Commissioner.
Mr Liikanen concluded by expressing interest in hearing more about Russia's plans to liberalise its telecommunications market.