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Headlines Published on 11 July 2007

Title EU and Egypt: an international milestone achieved

A landmark funding agreement totalling EUR 11 million has been reached between the European Union and Egypt, signalling the first-ever grant of its kind offered by the EU to an Arab country. The funding will support a four-year technology and knowledge exchange between science researchers and institutions, focusing on development in areas such as biotechnology, information technology, renewable energy and health. It heralds the initiation of a fruitful partnership between the Mediterranean neighbours and a declaration towards the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean area for higher education and research.

Europe and Egypt embark on a four-year technology and knowledge exchange. © Matt+
Europe and Egypt embark on a four-year technology and knowledge exchange.
The programme will provide the necessary access points for Egyptian researchers and institutions to collaborate with their European counterparts in scientific areas of mutual interest. In addition to supporting research and development, over half of the grant (almost EUR 7 million) has been allocated to an innovation fund, which will finance joint projects to help commercialise new technology-based products and processes.

The agreement was announced on 18 June 2007 in Cairo at the inaugural Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Higher Education and Scientific Research. The conference was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Higher Education and Research from the 27 EU Member States and ten Mediterranean partner countries of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

'As Egypt is the first Arab country to sign such an agreement with the EU, it could be used as a model for other Arab Mediterranean countries to follow,' says Hassan Moawad, former President of Alexandria’s Mubarak City for Scientific Research and Technology Applications.

Conference attendees, including the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Hany Helal, and the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Dr Janez Potocnik, also adopted a declaration entitled "Towards the Creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Higher Education and Research Area".

Among the many pragmatic measures to achieve its objectives, the Cairo Declaration calls for the development of a Euro-Mediterranean university forum, participation in a Euromed scholarship scheme, enhanced mobility in the Euromed region, as well as the integration of the Mediterranean partner countries in the European Research Area.

The Europe-Egypt funding initiative and the landmark conference on higher education and scientific research, represent important achievements within the overarching principles of the 1995 Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process). This partnership represents a broad framework of political, economic and social relations between the Member States of the European Union and Partners of the Southern Mediterranean. It places great importance on the role of education and research, technological development, and innovation. These priority areas were reinforced by Euromed Partners at the 2005 Barcelona Summit (the Five-Year Work Programme), and most recently at the 8th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs (November 2006).

More information:

  • Euromed Info Centre
  • Euromed Ministerial Conference

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