(photo credit: Ronit Svirsky, KKL-JNF)
Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry and the European Commission’s Joint Research
Center (JRC) signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to deepen their
cooperation on energy and water desalination.
The agreement is in part a
result of the EU-Israel European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan of 2005, and
will focus on ensuring a sustainable supply of energy and water in line with
international environmental standards, according to a statement from the
The partners will strive for more efficient and sustainable
technologies and will also explore the link between energy and water, the
With an initial duration of five years, the memorandum
was signed in Jerusalem by JRC director- general Dominique Ristori and Energy
and Water Ministry director- general Shaul Zemach. It enables the joint use of
research, scientific information, staff and equipment, the EU said.
Minister Netanyahu said the agreement represented “a very important milestone in
the progression of development between us.”
“Israel is a technological
country. Europe is our main trading partner. Europe is an advanced
society; we’re an advanced society. The more we cooperate, the more it will
benefit our societies,” he continued.
European Commission President Jose
Manuel Barroso is on a a twoday visit to Israel said that scientific research
and technology was one of the most important fields in which Israel and the EU
“I’m looking forward to deepening our good cooperation between
Israel and the European Union,” he added.
The agreement was originally
formulated during a meeting between Ristori and Zemach in February 2011, and
continued to take shape with a meeting between Ristori and Energy and Water
Minister Uzi Landau at this year’s World Water Forum in Marseilles, according to
The energy elements of the agreement will focus on
renewables, smart grids, energy efficiency and oil fuel alternatives, while the
water portion will focus on desalination, an area in which the EU credited
Israel as possessing “strong scientific expertise.”
An initial meeting
between Israel’s leading research groups and the JRC’s director of laboratories
for energy and transportation will occur on September 27.
The first group
of projects will focus on oil alternatives for transportation, and will explore
the integration process between the power grid and electric vehicles, according
to the ministry. A project working on the standardization of electrical vehicle
integration will begin in early 2013, with an energy efficiency and conservation
project to follow, the ministry said.
In order to assess the progress of
the cooperative projects, review meetings will take place biannually, with
locations alternating between Israel and Europe.Tovah Lazaroff
contributed to this report.