EU broadens Horizon 2020 project to include Tunisia

Tunisia becomes the latest non-member state to join the scheme. [Cernavoda/Flickr]

The European Commission announced today (1 December) that Tunisia will be a part of the Horizon 2020 project, the EU’s research and innovation funding scheme. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

The agreement, signed today by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and the Tunisian Minister for High Education and Scientific Research, Chiheb Bouden, will promote cooperation in investigation and innovation between the EU and Tunisia, which is “vital for successful and modern economies”, according to a statement by the EU’s executive body.

From now on, Tunisian research centres, universities and scientists will have access to the Horizon 2020 programme, one of the largest multinational investigation and innovation projects, that enjoys a budget of some €77 billion. 

>>Read: Moedas: Europe’s industries have to go digital

Moedas believes that the agreement is “historic” and that it shows that “the EU is supporting the young Tunisian democracy and helping to invest in knowledge as a foundation of future development.”

The Portuguese Commissioner said that Tunisia’s enrolment in the scheme, which does not limit itself to European member states, “can bring novel ideas and enrich our common research efforts.”

Tunisia joins Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, among others, in being part of the project, which focuses on the EU’s long-term priorities.

The agreement also “represents another step towards reaching the EU goal of opening research and innovation to the world.”

Moreover, the EU loaned Tunisia €100 million, part of a package of loans to help the country overcome its economic challenges, made worse by the terrorist attacks perpetrated earlier this year.

>>Read: Terrorists target Tunis museum, killing tourists

Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said that the financial assistance is a “new and tangible sign of our solidarity with Tunisia and of our support for the ongoing political transition there” and that “the European Union is more determined than ever to stand by the people of Tunisia.”

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