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Montenegro joins Horizon 2020, EU's science and innovation programme worth EUR 77 billion

Montenegro joins Horizon 2020, EU's science and innovation programme worth EUR 77 billion

Brussels, Belgium (1 July 2014) – Montenegro became the first country from the region to join the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon 2020 worth EUR 77 billion. The international agreement on joining this programme was signed earlier today by Robert Jan Smits, Director General of the Directorate for Research and Innovation and Sanja Vlahović, Minister of Science of Montenegro.

In her address after the signing ceremony, Minister Vlahović thanked the EU for its continued support and understanding for Montenegro's accession bid.

"In order to continue scientific development in Montenegro, we have set several important objectives which are in accordance with European scientific strategy. These priorities are aimed at improving activities of the scientific and research community through boosting investments in science, developing centres of excellence and scientific-technological parks, investing in international cooperation, creating a strong bound with the institutions from the region and international institutions, fostering exchanges and researchers' mobility, as well as constant linking of science and business. In that regard, we expect the Horizon 2020 and the support of the European Commission to play a crucial role in promoting science and raising awareness about the importance of scientific research and innovations", Minister Vlahović emphasised.

Director General of the Directorate for Research and Innovation Robert Jan Smits commended the five countries from the Western Balkans and Moldavia for joining the Horizon 2020, adding the programme will cherish regional cooperation, as one of Europe's main values.

European Commission has high expectations concerning the Horizon 2020, Director General Smits underlined, emphasising this programme does not cherish classical approach to the science, as was the case with programmes FP6 and FP7.

"We have made a lot of efforts towards creating the Horizon 2020 and it will contribute to the overall growth and development of Europe. It invites scientists from all around the world, not only from Europe, but also from Brazil, China and the USA, to be active and help the overall development of the society", Director General Smits concluded.

Horizon 2020 membership will enable Montenegro to participate and use the programme's funds on the equal basis as any other EU member state, which creates endless possibilities for developing Montenegro's research-scientific community and economic sector, having in mind the fact that the Horizon 2020 insists on the commercialisation of research and innovation processes in order to recover and boost the state's economy.

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