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FP5 will fully involve candidate countries

Candidate countries for membership of the European Union will soon be able to participate fully alongside existing Member States in the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (RTD)(1998-2002).

The European Commission has subm...
Candidate countries for membership of the European Union will soon be able to participate fully alongside existing Member States in the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (RTD)(1998-2002).

The European Commission has submitted draft Decisions to the Council of Ministers on the association of the first seven candidate countries with FP5.

The first seven are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia. Similar proposals should follow shortly for Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus.

These 11 candidate countries had negotiated association with FP5 on the basis of the mandate given by the Council on 13 October 1998. Seven of these countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) have also asked for association with the Euratom programme of FP5 (nuclear research); the others will only be associated with the EC FP5 (non-nuclear research).

If, in future, requests for association with FP5 are received from Turkey or Malta, similar negotiations will be carried out following appropriate procedures.

Participation in EU programmes is an important step towards full EU membership for all candidate countries.

Candidate countries will contribute to the budget of FP5 and, in return, their research institutes, universities, and industry will be able to participate in the programme under very similar conditions to those for organisations from the Member States (especially with regard to funding).

However, the financial contribution required from the countries could present some difficulties. Therefore, the countries are being offered a reduction in their contributions in the early years. In addition, for the CEECs (central and eastern European countries), some funding could be made available from the national Phare programmes.

Candidate countries will also be able to participate as observers and for the points which concern them in the management committees responsible for monitoring the programmes of FP5.

One important factor for the successful integration of the candidate countries into FP5 is their awareness of the opportunities the programme provides. The Commission will devote special attention to raising awareness through a series of measures, including conferences, training seminars, brochures and information on the World Wide Web.

Source: European Commission, Spokesman's Service

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