Philippe Busquin, European Research Commissioner, held a series of ministerial meetings in Moscow from 8 to 11 September 2000. His visit was aimed at strengthening cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation in science and technology, and at giving a political impetus to the bilateral Space Dialogue.

Philippe Busquin said ‘We are building on existing frameworks for cooperation under which the EU has spent 180 million euros since 1993, benefiting more than 45 000 Russian scientists who have participated in EU programmes dedicated to cooperation with the New Independent States, especially Russia. These include Copernicus, Intas, the International Center for Science and Technology (ISTC), and Tacis. Cooperation in science and technology, as well as space, is in our mutual interest and we must strengthen it further.’

On 8 September the EU Commissioner met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is in charge of science, industry, nuclear energy and space. Mr Klebanov stressed that research is one of the priority areas of President Putin’s programme and that Russia wishes to strengthen scientific and technological cooperation with the European Union. Mr Busquin stressed the need to examine concrete ways of cooperation, in particular within the European Research Area, and in view of the European Union’s next (Sixth) research Framework Programme.

Mr Busquin also discussed current bilateral activities with Yuri Koptev, Director-General of the Russian Space Agency, especially those concerned with the Space Dialogue between the EU and Russia, which was initiated in 1997 and which, in their view, needed to be enhanced further. They also touched upon the European Space Strategy that the European Commission is drawing up jointly with the European Space Agency and that it will adopt in the near future.

Alexander Dondukov, Minister for Industry, Science and Technologies, also affirmed Russia’s wish to closely cooperate with the European Union, calling for concrete actions and cooperation to take place, suggesting that this could start with the identification of relevant sectors. In this context he indicated several scientific areas such as information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology and norms and standards. He also emphasised a desire for cooperation on research exploitation and intellectual property, particularly in view of the planned Community patent. Moreover, Mr Dondukov stressed the need to conclude the EU-Russia Science and Technology Agreement as soon as possible.

In a meeting at the Russian Academy of Sciences, both the EU and the Russian representatives underlined the necessity of implementing an efficient network and concentrating efforts on a limited number of priority areas for improved cooperation. Here, too, the Russian side expressed its great interest in the European Research Area.

At a meeting with Evgeny Adamov, Minister for Atomic Energy, the European Commissioner discussed the role of ISTC, which is co-funded by the EU, and cooperation under the Tacis programme. Mr Adamov thanked the EU for its efforts under these programmes.

Mr Busquin also paid a visit to the Duma where he met with Ivan Melnikov, Chairman of the Education and Science Committee, to discuss the role and cooperation of the Duma and the European Parliament in the areas of science and technology.

In concluding his visit, Mr Busquin said, ‘These meetings have confirmed that Russia is very interested in cooperating with the European Union in both science and technology and space activities. I will aim to strengthen these endeavours on behalf of the European Commission.’

Notes for Editors

Contact: Mr Michel Chapuis, EC DG RTD, Tel: +32 2 296 33 08

Michel Chapuis Desk Officer for Russia, Research DG
Tel: + Fax: +32 2 296 33 08

Stephen Gosden Press and Information Officer, Research DG
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