The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), despite its heterogeneous membership especially regarding the status of its member states in relation to the European Union, has successfully built, over the past 12 years, a complex institutional structure and is emerging as a significant actor of new European regionalism in an area of growing strategic importance. While the primary focus of BSEC has been to enhance regional trade and economic cooperation, the Organization has sought to diversify its activities in new areas of interest and competence. Prominent among these areas is the considerable S&T potential that exists, despite the difficulties most of the countries in the region have faced over the last fifteen years.Since the Black Sea is moving in to a new era of stability and growth, and since some of the regional actors are currently involved in the EU's research activities through their association with the Framework Programme, it appears necessary to elaborate an Action Plan in S&T, in ord er to: -Re-confirm the political will for cooperation in S&T among the countries of the BSEC region and also enhance the cooperation with EU, contributing therefore to the opening of the European Research Area; -Define the most promising fields and pr iorities for collaboration in research and innovation among the BSEC countries extending also to other New Independent States ('broader BSEC'); -Sketch out an early version of a structured cooperation mechanism at the BSEC regional level in the sphere of science and technology and procedures for interaction with the relevant departments of the European Commission; It is envisaged that the adoption of the Action Plan at Ministerial level involving also high-level EU participation will constitute a valuabl e basis for the EU's future outreach RTD activities in the wider Black Sea region and for the definition of appropriate activities towards the region in the 7th FP.'
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