Jerusalem, 22 February 1999

Israel Joins EU R&D Program

(Communicated by Industry and Trade Ministry Spokeswoman)

The Council of Ministers of the European Union today (Sunday) 22.2.99 approved Israel joining the fifth program for research and development at a vote held in Luxembourg. Minister of Industry and Trade Natan Sharansky said, "This is a great achievement for the State of Israel. Israel’s economic strength and technological superiority have proved themselves in the field and extraneous considerations, including political ones, did not succeed in sabotaging Israel’s joining the fifth program." He added that Israel has become a key technological player in the world arena and is certain that Israelis will play a respectable part in R&D within the fifth program.

Ministry Chief Scientist Dr. Orna Berry notes that the program opens before Israel access to Euro 14 billion ($15 billion). Israel will pay $45 million annually to join the program. The vote ends a stubborn 5 month battle led by Minister Sharansky, aided by professionals from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Foreign Ministry.