Science, technology and innovation will be among the areas of cooperation strengthened if a new Commission proposal for an EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership is approved by the Council and Parliament. 'Over the last years, Brazil has become an increasingly significant global player and emerged as a key interlocutor for the EU. However, until recently EU-Brazil dialogue has not been sufficiently exploited, and carried out mainly through EU-Mercosur dialogue,' opens the communication. Science, technology and innovation have gained in importance in Brazil. Indeed, the Government intends to double the country's investment in research, which currently stands at 1% of GDP, before the end of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's second mandate in 2011. The Commission believes that the recent entry into force of the EU-Brazil S&T (science and technology) Cooperation Agreement, along with the new opportunities for international participation in the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for research (FP7), provide a sound basis for increasing existing cooperation in S&T. The proposal outlines just how the Commission envisages strengthening current ties. Firstly, dialogue should be strengthened, and joint planning improved, so that priorities can be set that address areas of common interest. Both parties should facilitate researcher mobility, and also increase the visibility of cooperation in this area. The Commission also suggests establishing an agreement between Brazil and Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community, along the lines of agreements already in place with other countries. The agreement could either focus on the specific field of fusion, promoting Brazil's accession to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, or on broader areas of nuclear research. The proposal also addresses space. Brazil is already a partner in Galileo, the EU's satellite navigation system project. Cooperation within this framework should be further intensified through a new cooperation agreement based on information exchanges and contacts, suggests the Commission. Other areas selected by the Commission for closer collaboration are information and communication technologies (ICT), the Millennium Development Goals, protecting the environment, energy, trade and economic relations, transport, higher education, culture, and justice, freedom and security. Commission President José Manuel Barroso welcomed the agreement, saying: 'Brazil is an important partner for the EU. We not only share close historic and cultural ties, values and a strong commitment to multilateral institutions, we also share a capacity to make a difference in addressing many global challenges such as climate change, poverty, multilateralism, human rights and others. By proposing stronger ties, we are acknowledging Brazil's qualification as a 'key player' to join the restricted club of our strategic partners.'