Brussels, 26 Jun 2006
Today Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, is participating in the official launch of a steering platform on research for Western Balkan countries in Vienna, organised by the Austrian Presidency. Research is an invaluable tool for the region to enhance cooperation, boost sustainable economic development and facilitate integration into the European Union. All Member States, candidate countries and Western Balkan Countries, as a follow-up to the Thessaloniki S&T Action Plan, are encouraged to participate actively in this initiative, as its success relies on a concerted joint effort. Mr Potočnik will call upon other institutions present in the region, such as the Stability Pact for Eastern Europe and the European Investment Bank, to contribute to scientific capacity-building in the Balkans. The Steering Platform will be assisted by an Information Office, financed as a Specific Support Action by the International Cooperation Programme of the Sixth Research Framework Programme. This Steering Platform is another demonstration of the priority the Commission attaches to research links with potential and current candidate countries.