Brussels, 23 September 2002
Philippe Busquin, EU Commissioner for Research, and Soledad Alvear, Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, today signed a scientific and technological cooperation agreement in Brussels between the EU and Chile in a ceremony attended by Mariana Aywlin, Chilean Minister of Education, in the framework of the special EU-Chile relationship. This is part of a process aimed at an association agreement, and both the EU and Chile have agreed to combine efforts on scientific matters. The cooperation agreement will allow scientists to take part in the other side's research programmes and joint research projects and also provides for visits and exchanges of technical experts, joint conferences and workshops, scientific networks and training, and the exchange and sharing of facilities and equipment. Initial joint initiatives will focus on the genome, biotechnology and health, information technology, food safety, sustainable growth and climate change. The agreement will be managed by a joint steering committee.
"In both Europe and Chile the essential contribution which science and technology make to sustainable economic development and competitiveness has been recognised", Commissioner Busquin said. "Research plays a very important part in improving quality of life and the environment. International cooperation helps provide joint solutions to global problems. The aim of the EU's scientific and technological cooperation with Chile is to support the internationalisation of the Chilean economy by helping it become knowledge-based. The scope for cooperation is well above what exists at the moment".
As Minister Alvear put it: "Let us consider the agreement as recognition of the effort we have put into building a solid scientific and technological community capable of dialogue with its peers worldwide. We must try to boost and draw maximum benefit from cooperation activities between the European Union and Chile in areas of common interest in which scientific and technological research is being carried out."
Apart from the Chile-based European Southern Observatory (ESO), this kind of cooperation with Chile has until now been financed through the development fund. Under the new agreement Chile becomes a partner under the 6th Research and Development Framework Programme (2002-2006). The agreement extends beyond the confines of this Programme, however. Scientific cooperation will contribute to the creation of a joint scientific basis and enable Chile to open up its research system to make it part of the global effort.
The agreement is based on the principles of mutual benefit, reciprocal scope for access to each other's programmes and activities, non-discrimination, the effective protection of intellectual property and the fair sharing of intellectual property rights.
The aim is to support each other's economic interests, to reduce poverty and to achieve sustainable development.
A scientific cooperation agreement already exists with Argentina. In the case of Brazil and Mexico talks are in progress.
The Commission has funded 17 research projects totalling €8 million, in which Chile is involved, under the 4th Framework Programme, and 16 projects totalling €12 million under the 5th Framework Programme. These figures are likely to rise significantly with the new agreement.
For more information about the EU's international scientific cooperation policy, see:
DN: IP/02/1352 Date: 23/09/2002
DN: IP/02/1352 Date: 23/09/2002