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As a regional actor, the European Commission pays particular attention to cooperation with other regions in the world. In the area of science and technology, it combines policy dialogue with project-based and other bottom-up cooperation.

Regional scientific and technological cooperation seeks synergies with other Community policies and activities, as well as complementarity with EU member states bilateral actions. Many European policies have traditionally looked towards science and technology for support in development and implemention. As the global knowledge society develops, international scientific cooperation has an emerging role as a new pillar of external relations in addition to the traditional ones of diplomacy, trade and development cooperation.