FM Sharon Expresses Satisfaction at EU Decision

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
22 February 1999

Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, today (Monday), 22.2.99, expressed his satisfaction at the EU Council of Ministers’ decision to approve Israel’s joining its fifth program for research and development. The decision will come into force in the coming days, after the agreement to this effect receives its final signatures.

Israel will thus be able to participate in the program, due to get underway in March, from the start. The agreement paves the way for Israeli research institutes and companies to participate in various European programs, worth approximately $15 billion over the next four years.

Israel views the decision, which was achieved by a near-consensus (14 out of 15 countries), as proof that Israel and the EU share common interests and as an indication of the EU’s confidence in Israel’s scientific and technological capabilities.

Foreign Minister Sharon noted that both the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers have accepted Israel’s stance against "the politicization of research and development." He added that the decision underscores Israel’s determination to promote technological cooperation in particular, and its relationship with the EU in general, on the basis of mutual considerations, interests and benefits.