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18.2.6.  EU transnational R & D cooperation

    The 'Horizon 2020' programme is open to the association of: (a) acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and decisions of association councils or similar agreements; (b) European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members, or countries or territories covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy that fulfil certain criteria: and (c) countries or territories associated to the Seventh Framework Programme [Regulation 1291/2013].

    In particular, the specific research programmes of the European Union are open to the participation of EFTA countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the new independent States of the former Soviet Union [see sections 25.1, 25.2 and 25.4]. Scientific and technical cooperation (Cost) covers the countries of the EFTA and of Central and Eastern Europe. It is managed by a Committee of Senior Officials and by specialised committees. It takes the form of memoranda of understanding by the Cost States on the execution of Cost activities in the most varied fields, such as medicine, transport or materials. The Council concludes coordination agreements between the EC/EU and the Cost countries relating to concerted actions forming part of the European research programme [See e.g. Decision 88/615 and Decision 92/181]. The EC/EU participates in a European metrology research and development programme undertaken by several Member States [Decision 912/2009].

    The implementation of Horizon 2020 may give rise to supplementary programmes involving the participation of certain Member States only, the participation of the Union in programmes undertaken by several Member States, or the setting up of joint undertakings or other arrangements within the meaning of Articles 184, 185 and 187 TFEU. Such supplementary programmes should be identified and implemented in an open, transparent and efficient way [Regulation 1291/2013].

    The Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (2007-2013) provided for a Community contribution for the establishment of long term public-private partnerships in the form of Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) which could be implemented through Joint Undertakings within the meaning of Article 171 of the EC Treaty (new Article 187 TFEU). Several Joint Undertakings were set up as public-private partnerships aimed at mobilising and pooling European, national and private efforts, for a period up to 31 December 2017 extended until 31 December 2024, in order to take into account the duration of Horizon 2020. The Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines (IMI 2 Joint Undertaking) has the objective of significantly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the drug development process with the long-term aim that the pharmaceutical sector produces more effective and safer innovative medicines [Regulation 557/2014]. The Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking aims at: (a) accelerating the development, validation and demonstration of clean Air Transport technologies; (b) ensuring coherent research efforts aiming at environmental improvements in the field of air transport; (c) reducing the environmental impact of air transport through significant reduction of noise and gaseous emissions, and improvement of the fuel economy of aircrafts; (d) accelerating the generation of new knowledge, innovation and the uptake of research, leading to strengthened industrial competitiveness [Regulation 558/2014]. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH 2 Joint Undertaking) aims at placing Europe at the forefront of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies worldwide and at enabling the market breakthrough of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies [Regulation 559/2014]. The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI Initiative) aims at a more resource efficient and sustainable low-carbon economy and increasing economic growth and employment, in particularly in rural areas, by developing sustainable and competitive bio-based industries in Europe based on advanced bio-refineries that source their biomass sustainably [Regulation 560/2014]. The Joint Technology Initiative on ‘Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (the ECSEL Joint Undertaking), which replaced the former ENIAC and ARTEMIS Joint Undertakings, aims to enable European industries at large to design, manufacture and use the most innovative technologies in electronic components and systems [Regulation 561/2014]. The Shift2Rail (S2R) Joint Undertaking is aimed at stimulating and better coordinating Union research and innovation investments in the rail sector with a view to accelerating and facilitating the transition towards a more integrated, efficient, sustainable and attractive Union railway market [Regulation 642/2014].

    The Joint European Torus (JET) fusion research project, established in 1978 [Decision 2002/837, see section 18.3.2], has met its design objectives including demonstrating the release of significant amounts of fusion energy in a controlled manner. The EC/EU has played a key role in the development of a next step international fusion project (ITER), which, in 2001, produced a detailed engineering design for a research facility aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of fusion as an energy source. The seven parties to the ITER negotiations (Euratom, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States) have concluded the Agreement on the Establishment of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organisation, with headquarters in St Paul-lez-Durance, Bouches-du-Rhône, France [Agreement and Decision 2006/943]. The ITER Organisation has full responsibility for constructing, operating, exploiting and de-activating the ITER facilities. The international project aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes, an essential feature of which would be achieving sustained fusion power generation ensuring the security and diversity of the Union's long-term energy supply.

    The functions of the ITER Organization are in particular: a) construct, operate, exploit, and de-activate the ITER facilities; and (b) encourage the exploitation of the ITER facilities by the laboratories, other institutions and personnel participating in the fusion energy research and development programmes of the Members. Euratom and Japan have concluded a bilateral Agreement for the Joint Implementation of the Broader Approach Activities for the rapid realisation of fusion energy [Decision 2007/614]. The European Council (26- 27 November 2003) authorised the Commission to put forward France as the ITER host State and Cadarache as the ITER site.

    The fundamental importance of the ITER Project and Broader Approach Activities for harnessing fusion as a potentially limitless, safe, sustainable, environmentally responsible and economically competitive source of energy made it necessary to establish the European Domestic Agency in the form of a Joint Undertaking as provided for in Chapter 5 of the Euratom Treaty. The European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy, having its seat in Barcelona, was established for a period of 35 years starting on 19 April 2007 [Decision 2007/198, last amended by Decision 2015/224]. The tasks of the Joint Undertaking are notably to provide the contribution of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to the ITER International Fusion Energy Organisation and to Broader Approach Activities with Japan for the rapid realisation of fusion energy. The Joint Undertaking has the following Members: (a) Euratom, represented by the Commission; (b) the Member States of Euratom; (c) third countries which have concluded cooperation agreements with Euratom in the field of controlled nuclear fusion and which have expressed their wish to become Members of the Joint Undertaking.

    In 1992, the European Community, the United States of America, Japan and Russia concluded an Agreement setting up an International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC) superseded by Agreement continuing the ISTC [Regulation 3955/92 and Regulation 3956/92 and Regulation 500/94 and Regulation 501/94]. Established in Moscow, the ISTC channels the know-how of military research scientists and technicians of the former Soviet Union into non-military projects. A similar Agreement between the European Communities, the United States, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine strives to redirect the talents of Ukrainian weapons scientists and engineers towards peaceful activities [Regulation 1766/98 and Regulation 2387/98]. Since 1998, an agreement exists for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the United States of America [Decision 98/591 and Agreement, OJ L 284, extended by Decision 2014/240].

    The EU's scientific cooperation with the countries of the Third World forms part of the R & D framework programme. The research programme in the field of sciences and technologies for development covers the areas of tropical agriculture (improving food plant production using systems suited to local conditions, restoring the environment, etc.) and medicine, health and nutrition (new methods for diagnosing and treating diseases, improving the nutrition of the population) [COM/96/344].

    Euratom has concluded agreements for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with Uzbekistan [Agreement and Decision 2003/744], Kazakhstan [Agreement and Decision 2004/282] and Ukraine [Decision 2014/668, last amended by Decision 2014/691]. On its part, the European Community concluded Agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with Canada [Agreement and Decision 96/219], South Africa [Agreement and Decision 97/763], the Republic of India [Agreement and Decision 2002/648], Chile [Agreement and Decision 2003/589], the Ukraine [Agreement and Decision 2003/737], the Kingdom of Morocco [Agreement and Decision 2004/126], the Tunisian Republic [Agreement and Decision 2004/127], the United States [Agreement and Decision 2004/756], Egypt [Agreement and Decision 2005/492], Brazil [Agreement and Decision 2005/781], Mexico [Agreement and Decision 2005/766], Israel [Agreement and Decision 2007/585], and the Republic of Korea [Agreement and Decision 2007/241]. By setting out the areas and the forms of cooperative activities (such as joint research projects, visits and exchanges of scientists), these agreements seek to encourage, develop and facilitate cooperation activities in areas of common interest in which the parties carry out research and scientific and technological development.

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