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European Integration: Central- and Southeast European Innovation Area

Strategic Initiative for Regional Development - A co-operation agreement has been signed in Budapest between representatives of industry, research organisations and higher education.

The aim of the agreement is to enhance and revitalise the innovation potential of Central- and Southeast Europe (1) in targeted, high technology fields. The initiative intends to be an integral part of the European Research Area (ERA). The key feature of this non-political and bottom-up initiative is regional development based upon active and focused networking regardless of national- and Schengen borders. The initiative will take full advantage of the support mechanisms offered through the EU framework for co-operations between regions, across national borders. These include relevant parts of the EU Structural Funds and the RTD Framework Programme. Participation will be on a voluntary basis and handled directly between industry, public and private research centres and high quality universities that have appropriate complementarities in human resources and research infrastructures.,The initiative has been in preparation since early 2003. For further information, please contact: ,Budapest: ,Mr. József Veress, Senior Advisor ,National Development Office, Office of Prime Minister,E-mail: jozsef.veress@meh.hu Brussels: ,Dr. Gilbert Fayl, Secretary of External Affairs ,European Academy of Sciences and Arts ,E-mail: gilbert.fayl@pandora.be , ,Scientific Secretary: ,Dr. Bilik István, Secretary General ,Conf. of Hungarian Conferences on Higher Education.,E-mail: secretary@fksz.huninet.hu ------------------------------,(1) Trans-border regional co-operation among the new EU member states (i.e. Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic) and current EU member states (notably Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy). ,Whenever appropriate, including regions in the applicant countries (i.e. Bulgaria and Romania) and other parts of Southeast Europe (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro). ,Networking with centres of excellence in Byelorussia, Moldavia, Russia and Ukraine is also desirable.