(WBC: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as Kosovo under UNSC Resolution 1244/99).
The integration of Western Balkan countries (WBCs) into the European Union (EU) is a major political and economic project designed to assure stability and development in the region. The association of these countries to the Seventh (EC) research framework programme (FP7) has to be seen as a means to facilitate this integration and support their economic development through joint research efforts and allowing the WBCs to get familiar with the EU decision-making on research policy. In short, association to FP7 is a good pre-accession tool.
All WBCs except Kosovo are associated to FP7 ( 92 KB). Kosovo can participate in FP7 as a third country with International Cooperation Country Partner (ICPC) status. Association to FP7 allows for increased research opportunities because associated countries have the same possibilities (minimum requirement for participation) as the Member States.
Regional RTD cooperation
Considerable efforts have been made to foster the integration of the Western Balkan countries within the EU through increased research efforts. Crucial to this purpose is the creation of the Steering Platform on Research for the WBCs. The Platform was launched in June 2006 under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency and Commissioner Potočnik. It aims at identifying the needs and means of research capacity in the Region and consider together, with all stakeholders involved (i.e. WBCs, Member States, countries associated to FP7, and other international organisations and initiatives dealing with research in the Region), how best to address the concerns identified, and strengthen research capacity.
The recently launched INCO-NET project ( 217 KB) also aims to identify the Western Balkan research needs and capacities, to select tools for the upgrading of existing scientific assets, and to create synergies between the different actors and stakeholders. The website is a source of high-quality, targeted information on research in the Western Balkan countries and for the Region, including an eJournal, with analytical studies, reports and directories.
The SEE-ERA.NET PLUS project, will launch a call for Joint European Research projects. This activity will engage scientists and key actors in RTD policy making from the EU member states, FP7 associated countries, and Western Balkan countries. Specific scientific priorities will be based on the regional collaboration needs of the participating countries within FP7 priorities.