Looking beyond 2020 in EU-EaP STI cooperation: Where does the journey lead to?

18. Jun. 2019

The EaP PLUS final event provided a forum to discuss the future of the EU-EaP research and innovation cooperation

In order to take stock of the achievements of the Horizon 2020 funded EaP PLUS project (which ends in September 2019) and to give prospects about the EU-Eastern Partnership cooperation in research and innovation in the upcoming Horizon Europe programme, the EaP PLUS consortium organised a final event on June 11 in Brussels. The event coincided with the overall celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the EU's Eastern Partnership instrument, which was launched at the EU-EaP Prague Summit back in 2009.

The final event attained particular importance since the EaP PLUS project was already in focus in 2017, when the EC - preceding the 5th EU-Eastern Partnership summit in November of the same year - launched a new strategic document titled "Eastern Partnership - 20 Deliverables for 2020 - Focusing on key priorities and tangible results". In this document (p.48) EaP PLUS is explicitly mentioned as a milestone for deliverable no.20, which is the "integration of EaP and EU research and innovation systems and programmes".

During the one-day event, the following topics were covered:

1. Achievements made within the EaP PLUS project, including examples from support to policy-making and researchers' level, from the EaP PLUS grant scheme and from support to clusters

2. EU initiatives towards the EaP, including StartUp Europe, EU4Innovation, MSCA, Erasmus, EIT, COST and Horizon Europe

3. Association to Horizon 2020: Challenges and benefits for the EaP countries

4. Prospectives for the future cooperation, including the recommendations produced by the EaP PLUS project

Almost 60 participants both from EU Member States and the EaP countries were jointly reflecting on the status quo of the EU's work with the region in the specific domain of research and innovation. Regarding the future, representatives of the six EaP countries agreed that their individual countries must strive towards even more and closer cooperation both with the EU as such and the EU MS alone. These efforts were positively acknowledged by the EC representatives at the event, which, at their end, are also aware of the work needed to be done by EU officials to adequatly respond to this will expressed.

About how the - from both partners - desired intensified cooperation between the two regions will be addressed in the upcoming Horizon Europe (with its lifespan from 2021-2017) remains to be seen.

ZSI is a partner in EaP PLUS and Mr. Philipp Brugner and Mr. Gorazd Weiss took part in the Brussels' event

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Tags: Eastern Europe, Eastern Partnership countries, research and innovation policy, research cooperation, research policy

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