EU and Eastern Partnership countries stepping up cooperation on innovation with the EU4Innovation initiative
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service launched on 17 November 2016 the EU4Innovation initiative together with the Eastern Partnership countries, in Yerevan.
The launch took place during the eighth Eastern Partnership Informal dialogue, hosted by Armenia which brought together Ministers and high level officials of the Eastern Partnership countries for a high-level exchange on future developments in the Eastern Partnership and key areas of cooperation.
Commissioner Moedas commented: "Innovation is crucial to increase Europe's competitiveness and to address global challenges such as climate change or sustainable development. Our new initiative, EU4Innovation, will boost innovation capacities of our Eastern partners. It will stimulate innovative ideas and support them on the way to market, while at the same time drawing on the existing knowledge and networks we are building in the EU."
Commissioner Hahn said: "Developing and implementing Research and Innovation policy is key for improving competitiveness, boosting economic growth and creating jobs. The EU will continue to support Eastern Partnership countries in their efforts to advance their scientific and innovation capacity, to help align and integrate joint research and innovation priorities through joint programmes such as Horizon 2020".
The new EU initiative, EU4Innovation, will combine all EU activities that support the development of Eastern Partnership countries (EaP) innovation capacities, notably those funded under the Horizon 2020 programme and the European Neighbourhood Instrument.
EU Commissioners and the respective Research and Innovation Ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries also discussed common challenges and responses to improving research and innovation cooperation. The Ministers reflected on how to integrate Eastern Partnership and EU Research and Innovation systems better and foster cooperation with and between the six Eastern Partnership countries further. This will bring new mobility opportunities for administrations, businesses, professionals, students and researchers and will foster research-industry partnerships amongst others.
The Informal Eastern Partnership dialogue also gave participants an opportunity to reflect on the progress made across the key areas of cooperation agreed at the Riga Summit last year. They discussed the implementation of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy and exchanged views on ways to enhance the effectiveness of the Eastern Partnership, in light of the next Summit foreseen for November 2017 in Brussels. The Ministers also addressed current international and global security issues, in particular, issues with a impact on the region.
The informal Eastern Partnership dialogues are held twice a year and hosted in turn by the Eastern Partnership countries. They allow for an open, informal exchange of views between the partner countries and the EU high level representatives on foreign policy and sectorial cooperation areas.