by: Ilse Strauss
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 | Israel and the European Union (EU) clinched a deal that will see the Jewish state join Horizon Europe, the EU’s largest and most coveted scientific research and innovation program, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
Thanks to the agreement, Israeli researchers and scientists will be able to participate in EU-funded projects and have access to €95.5 billion (US $111 billion) allocated in grants between 2021 and 2027.
According to Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid, joining the Horizon Europe program “situates Israel as a central player in the largest and most important R&D program in the world” and “will bring high-quality jobs, technological advancement, new Israeli businesses and create economic and scientific opportunities.”
“It marks another step in connecting the science and technology sector in Israel with its counterparts on the continent,” Lapid added.
Sealing the deal comes after a year of intensive negotiations between Jerusalem and the EU to hammer out terms. The agreement was supposed to be inked months ago, but a number of sticking points resulted in delays. One of the main stumbling blocks was the EU’s guidelines regarding funding for companies in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights—so-called contested areas. As a solution, research funds will not be used in these areas, while a clause was added to state that Israel disagrees with the EU’s definition of territory it classifies as contested.
Israel will profit from participation in the program in various areas, including scientific research, the high-tech industry and the economy. It also means open doors for Israeli companies eager to break into the European market.
But Israel is not the only one that stands to benefit. According to Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Economics Yael Rabia-Tzadok, the deal constitutes Europe’s vote of confidence in Israel as a science, technology and innovation asset.
The EU agrees. “In return to giving Israel access to a vast international research network, the European Research Area has benefited from Israel’s high levels of excellence as well as outstanding innovation capacity,” an EU statement said.
The deal is expected to be signed before year-end, once both parties have concluded their endorsement procedures.
Posted on October 27, 2021
Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 27, 2021)
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