International Cooperation

2 December 2019

Strengthening Collaboration in Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Region

Ms. Maria Cristina Russo, 5th from the right, and Mr. Khaled El-Shuraydeh, 5th from the left
with the rest of the participants

Group of Senior Officials (GSO) on Research and Innovation took place in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting was co-chaired by Ms Maria Cristina Russo, the Director for International Cooperation of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, together with the Secretary-General of the Higher Council for Science & Technology of Jordan, Dr Khaled El-Shuraydeh. The meeting took place under the auspices of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and gathered participants from the EU Member States, the EU institutions and countries from both shores of the Mediterranean.

The objective of the meeting was to take stock of progress achieved since the signing of the Ministerial Valetta Declaration on Strengthening Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation through Research and Innovation (May 2017). Notably, according to the three pillars of the Valetta Declaration on the BLUEMED initiative, the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), and Migration-related research. Looking to the future, the countries agreed to a set of conclusions emphasising the need to revitalise the GSO Secretariat together with the UfM in order to prepare for a strategic discussion to take place at the next GSO meeting in early 2020 and to ensure follow-up including the possibility of setting up a Working Group on Research and Innovation.

8 March 2019

Conference on The Middle East and the EU: New Realities, New Policies

F. Mogherini and J. Verbeke at the meeting

Two collaborative projects, funded under Horizon 2020, MENARA and MedReset organised the conference in Brussels. The agenda fostered a debate among the expert and policy communities on the present and the future of the Middle East and North Africa, and in particular on the EU’s role towards this region.

The event included a keynote speech by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission Federica Mogherini, introduced by Ambassador Marc Otte. HRVP Mogherini noted that “when scientists, academics, think-tankers and researchers of our region work together, it is a contribution to building a more cooperative and peaceful region (…), a more cooperative regional dynamic”.

MENARA stands for Middle East and North Africa Regional Architecture. It is also the Arabic word for lighthouse, evoking the project’s aim to shedslight on the emerging regional order and geopolitical shifts in the region amid increasingly volatile and uncertain times. MedReset is a consortium of research and academic institutions from different disciplines from the Mediterranean region to develop alternative visions for a new Mediterranean partnership and corresponding EU policies.

More information
8 March 2018

Lebanon joins PRIMA: signature of the EU-Lebanon International Agreement

From left to right: Mr Fadi HAJALI, Ambassador of Lebanon to the EU; Mr Dimiter TZANTCHEV, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to the EU; Ms Maria Cristina RUSSO, European Commission's Director for International Cooperation

On 27 February 2018 the EU and Lebanon made an important step towards strengthening their research and innovation cooperation. The two parties signed an International Agreement for Lebanon's participation in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA).

PRIMA is a bi-regional science diplomacy initiative which brings together both shores of the Mediterranean in a joint research programme to work on two of its major challenges: water scarcity and food security. This initiative also contributes to addressing the root causes of migration by transforming it from a challenge and human tragedy into an opportunity for all.

The International Agreement was signed by Ms Maria Cristina Russo –Director for International Cooperation of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission–, Ambassador Dimiter Tzantchev –Permanent representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Union– on behalf of the European Union and H.E. Mr Fadi Hajali –Ambassador of the Republic of Lebanon to the European Union–, on behalf of Lebanon.

Lebanon has been one of the most active countries since the inception of the PRIMA initiative and will be contributing €5 million over a period of ten years, which reflects the country's commitment to fostering its ties with the EU.

PRIMA is supported by Horizon 2020 –the EU's research and innovation framework programme– with €220 million and by the contribution of a number of EU Members States and Southern Mediterranean Countries with €274 million.

8 December 2016

21st meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials in Research and Innovation

Networking reception at the 21st meeting of the Euro-Med GSO in Research and Innovation

The Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission organized on 22 November 2016, in Brussels, the 21st meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials (Euro-Med GSO) in Research and Innovation with a view to preparing a Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference on Research and Innovation, scheduled to take place in Malta, on 3-4 May 2017, under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Acknowledging that water, food and migration remain among today's most pressing challenges for the Mediterranean, the agenda of the ministerial will be built around three pillars: "the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)", "Addressing the root causes of migration through research and innovation" and "R&I for blue jobs and growth in the Mediterranean (BLUEMED)".

The GSO meeting brought together participants from the EU member states, the EU institutions and countries from both shores of the Mediterranean as well as representatives of the Union for the Mediterranean and partners of EU-funded projects with a focus on the Mediterranean, who held a comprehensive discussion around the aforementioned topics.

The participants highlighted the importance of sustainable water, farming and food systems for local and regional development through innovative solutions. What is more, special focus was put on coordinating efforts to collect data across the region to avoid fragmentation and strengthen the ability of the research community to increase their understanding of complex drivers of migration. Finally, the participants reiterated the need to stimulate ‘blue’ jobs and growth in the Mediterranean by unlocking the potential of marine and maritime sectors while seeking more synergies.

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