Brussels, 13 Jul 2004
Proposal for a
on the signing of the Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Arab Republic of Egypt
1. The Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Arab Republic of Egypt, of the other part, was signed on 25 June 2001. Article 43 of the Agreement identifies scientific and technological cooperation as an area of particular interest and potential, and provides, amongst other things, for the establishment of permanent links between the parties' scientific communities.
2. In the context of the implementation of an ambitious international dimension of the European Research Area (see Commission communication COM(2001) 346 final of 25 June 2001, "The International Dimension of the European Research Area"), the Commission emphasised the need to strengthen relations with the Mediterranean partner countries in the fields of science, technology and innovation in order to promote socio-economic progress throughout the Euro-Mediterranean area.
3. On 29 May 2002 the Minister for Higher Education and Minister of State for Scientific Research of the Arab Republic of Egypt sent Commissioner Philippe Busquin a letter in which he expressed the satisfaction of the Egyptian authorities and scientific community with the scientific cooperation already taking place and asked for negotiations with the Community with a view to concluding a scientific and technological cooperation agreement supplementing and strengthening existing cooperation, with emphasis on regional cooperation.
4. Exploratory meetings were held with the Egyptian authorities responsible for science and technology policy and with representatives of the country's scientific community with a view to assessing Egypt's scientific potential and stepping up its participation in research of mutual interest with the European Community.
These contacts confirmed that greater cooperation on science and technology with Egypt would be in the mutual interest of both parties. In conclusion, it would be fully in the interest of the Community to respond positively to Egypt's request and an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation would be the appropriate instrument for supplementing existing cooperation and expanding it at international and regional level.
5. On 14 November 2002 DG RTD accordingly initiated the procedure for obtaining a negotiating mandate for such an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation. On 12 March 2003 the Commission sent the Council a recommendation for the adoption of a negotiating mandate, and on 14 April 2003 the Council adopted a decision authorising the Commission to negotiate an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation with Egypt.
6. The Agreement was negotiated in accordance with the directives attached to the Council Decision of 14 April 2003. The negotiations culminated in the draft Agreement and Annexes attached hereto, which were initialled on 4 March 2004 by the authorised representatives of the two parties following two sessions of negotiations.
7. The draft Agreement is based on the principles of mutual benefit, reciprocal opportunities for access to each other's programmes and activities relevant to the