Since 1994, the EU has signed international agreements for scientific and technological cooperation with 20 ‘third’ countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Japan, Jordan, Rep. Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Russian Federation, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine and the USA.
The European Parliament noted in its 2015 briefing that ‘the science diplomacy aspect of this cooperation is emphasized at EU level to facilitate interactions with third countries, as well as to increase the EU’s soft power’.
The vehicles for this scientific cooperation are the successive seven-year framework programmes for research and innovation elaborated by the European Union for its member states and selected ‘third countries’.
As the UNESCO Science Report for 2015 recalls, ‘the current programme, Horizon 2020, is the bloc’s biggest ever, with a seven-year budget of close to 80 billion… Some 17% of the Horizon 2020 budget has been earmarked for basic research through the European Research Council and 39% for societal challenges, such as health, demographic change and well-being, climate action and secure, clean and efficient energy… The environment industry is one of the few economic sectors that has flourished in Europe since 2008′.
‘The European Union (EU) invites countries beyond the bloc to participate in its framework programmes for research and innovation, including developing countries’, observes the UNESCO Science Report. Some countries are associated with the programmes through a formal agreement. For Horizon 2020, this includes Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, Israel and countries at various stages of negotiations regarding their future accession to the EU, as in the case of several Southeast European countries.
One of the strategic goals of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is to deepen ties with the European Commission in Brussels. BSEC was founded in 1992, shortly after the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in order to develop prosperity and security in the region. It comprises 12 members: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, The Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.
BSEC has adopted three Action Plans on Cooperation in Science and Technology (2005-2009, 2010-2014 and 2014-2018).
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