EU - Russia S&T cooperation policy

A brief introduction into the aims and objectives of EU-Russian S&T cooperation policies. For cooperation agreements and other relevant documents, please also visit the "Important documents/publications" section of this website.

As a global player on the political and economic stage and as the European Union's largest direct neighbouring country, the Russian Federation is considered as one of the main strategic international partners of the EU. During recent years, both sides reinforced their cooperation through a number of bilateral initiatives like the Four Common Spaces to build a strategic partnership.

The legal basis for the relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which came into force on 1 December 1997 for an initial duration of 10 years. A renewal is under consideration and it was decided that the existing PCA will be automatically extended beyond 2007 on an annual basis until a new PCA is agreed. The aim of the PCA is to encourage political, commercial, economic and cultural cooperation between Russia and the EU. The PCA describes the principal common objectives, establishes the institutional structures, including summits and provides for activities and dialogue in a number of areas.

Three committees have been set up to ensure that the provisions of the PCA are observed and implemented. The Cooperation Council met at ministerial level once a year. The cooperation Council was replaced in June 2003 by establishing the political dialogue in form of EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council (PPC). The Cooperation Committee, composed of Senior EU and Russian civil servants, assists the Cooperation Council. The Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, made up of Members of the European Parliament and the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, has the authority to make recommendations to the Cooperation Council.

In the area of Science and Technology the PCA is strengthened with the sectoral Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology between the European Community and the Government of the Russian Federation, signed in 1999, renewed in 2003 and new negotiated and signed in 2009. The Agreement provide a framework for allowing Russian organisations to take part in EU research programmes (except in the nuclear sector) and in turn grants EU organisations access to equivalent Russian programmes. The Agreement also promotes the free access to and shared use of research facilities and the visits and exchange of scientists.

In June 2003 the political dialogue in form of EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council (PPC) was established, to replace the Cooperation Council whose task was to oversee the implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with a body at Ministerial level which meet more regulary and in different formats, bringing together relevant Ministries. Meanwhile several PPC's with specific priorities have already met. Regarding S&T the three PPC's on Research, Energy and Environment are from utmost importance.

At the St. Petersburg Summit in May 2003, the EU and Russia agreed to reinforce their cooperation by creating in the long term four 'common spaces' in the framework of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and on the basis of common values and shared interests. These cover the following issues:

  1. The Common Economic Space, covering economic issues and the environment;
  2. The Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice;
  3. The Common Space of External Security, including crisis management and non-proliferation;
  4. The Common Space of Research and Education, Including cultural aspects.

The Common Space on Research, Education and Culture aims to promote scientific, educational and cultural cooperation, particularly through exchange programmes. These will help strengthen our combined economic and intellectual capacities while at the same time fostering people-to-people ties and better understanding among societies. An example of what can be achieved here is the decision to co-fund a European Studies Institute at MGIMO, which will provide advanced courses on the EU for Russian specialists.

The Moscow Summit in May 2005 agreed to put these common spaces into effect. These "road maps" set out specific objectives, and specify the actions required. Progress Reports for the implementation of these road maps are being published annually: 

The Common Spaces receive funding from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instruments (ENPI), which was designed to fund the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

To support the implementation of the Fourth Common Space a new instrument 'Joint Thematic EU-Russia Working Groups' was designed. Meanwhile Working Groups were established on most topic of the 7th Framework Programme: Nanotechnologies, Health, Food/Agriculture/Biotechnologies, Energy, Environment, Aeronautics, Space, Nuclear Energy Fission Research, Information and Communication Technologies and Mobility (planned).

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