A Memorandum of Understanding about Israel joining the EU’s Enterprise and Industry program, one of the components of the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

On Thursday, 1 November 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding about Israel joining the EU’s Enterprise and Industry program was signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai, and his counterpart, the Vice President of the European Commission and the Commissioner for Industry, Gunter Verhuegan.

This program is one of three components comprising the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). The signing of the MOU is the result of successful negotiations conducted between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Industry and Justice, and the Directorate General for Industry of the EU Commission.

Negotiations for Israel to join two additional components of CIP will begin soon with the Directorate General for Information Society in the field of Information Technologies (ICT) and with the Directorate General for Energy and Transport in the field of smart energy. The CIP will be managed in Israel by the chief scientist at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Dr. Eli Opper, whose ministry will be funding Israel’s participation in the program.

The CIP is an inter-European program which aims to promote the competitiveness of small and medium European companies. The signing of the MOU about Israel’s joining the Enterprise and Industry program will enable Israel to be a full participant in inter-European activities related to the business sector. Israel’s participation in this program signals a breakthrough for its participation in other EU programs that have recently been opened to the participation of non-member states. This is in addition to Israel’s participation in the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, as well as its predecessors, and indicates a further strengthening of Israel’s economic-technological relations with Europe.