EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With an early December deadline looming on Israel’s participation in the EU’s 80
billion euro flagship science and technology program Horizon 2020, EU ambassador
Lars Faaborg-Andersen said Wednesday the two sides were seeking a “pragmatic and
acceptable” arrangement that would allow Israel’s participation in the
Faaborg-Andersen’s comments came on the eve of an event
celebrating Israeli participation in previous EU research programs. Israel has
taken part in EU research and development programs since 1996, including over
the last seven years in which 1,584 Israeli researchers took part in more than
1,300 projects and received a total of nearly 640 million euros in grant
Israel, if it joins Horizon 2020, is expected to pay 600m. euros
to participate, something considered a worthwhile investment because for every
shekel Israel contributes, it is expected to get back NIS 1.5 in research funds
and other inbound investments.
Israel’s participation in Horizon 2020,
however, has been complicated by the EU’s publication over the summer of
settlement guidelines barring EU cooperation with any Israeli entities beyond
the 1967 lines, including east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
has said it would not join the program unless explicit understandings with the
EU were reached on the implementation of these guidelines, and intensive
negotiations have been taking place on this matter since August.
currently negotiating modalities for Israeli participation in the program,”
“Both sides are striving for a pragmatic and
mutually acceptable arrangement which would allow Israel to join by the time
Horizon 2020 starts on the 1st of January 2014.”
however, downplayed his comments and said they should not be interpreted as
meaning an agreement was around the corner.
“This is diplomatice-ese 101,
and really says nothing,” one official said.
While acknowledging that the
“ball was still in play” regarding Israel’s involvement in Horizon 2020 and that
the talks were moving forward, the official said Israel was still waiting to
hear what the Europeans would give to ensure that the guidelines would not only
aim to prevent EU money from going beyond the Green Line, but also trying to
keep Israeli funds from going there as well.
“The EU’s desire to keep EU
money from going beyond the Green Line is one thing,” the official said. “But it
is something else entirely if they are trying to keep Israeli money from going
there as well. The guidelines as currently written make this possible, and we
are trying to get commitments that they will not be implemented in this manner.”