News and Views on the European Union and Member States Partnership for International Cooperation

International cooperation enhances European competitiveness. This is why the European Union supports and drives a number of activities related to international cooperation between the European Union (EU), its member states, and third countries.

Ms Sigi Gruber, Head of Unit, working in relations with third countries at DG Research & Innovation, addressed a COST Seminar on this topic on 7 April 2011. Ms Gruber discussed the initiatives that the EU has launched and is supporting in order to secure and enhance a partnership approach with EU member states when it comes to international cooperation activities.

The current landscape for international cooperation between member states and third countries is quite fragmented and has lead to duplication of effort in some cases. Duplication does not necessarily have a negative implication, as it also drives new initiative, however it should be avoided where it hinders effective use and fruitful management of resources.

Ms Gruber provided an overview on the initiatives that the EU and the member states are launching and supporting in the field of international cooperation within the context of the Strategic Forum for International Cooperation (SFIC). SFIC was established by the Council of the European Union and is chaired by member states. The European Commission is a full member of the forum and acts also as facilitator. The SFIC has already put in place a pilot initiative with India, while others are being launched such as initiatives with China and the USA, following both a geographic and topic-led approach. Its mandate is to share and pull information and knowledge, identify common priorities, coordinate similar activities undertaken by the member states and the EU, propose joint initiatives and promote networking among the science counsellors of the EU and the member states in major partner countries.

How could SFIC involve COST and enhance cooperation with COST? As SFIC is by no means a closed organisation, how could we benefit from each other’s experience and expertise? – asked Ms Sigi Gruber.

COST is already working across the globe, beyond European borders. It enhances, by definition, cooperation and networking in science and technology. From both an experienced and an interested position, COST welcomes coordination in European-led international cooperation, and is grateful to Ms Gruber for precious insights and that the European Commission has shared with COST, its partners and relevant stakeholders at what was undoubtedly a successful COST seminar.

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Last updated: 26 April 2011 top of page