"3 Western Balkans countries and Turkey join EU research programme
Today, the Republic of Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Serbia will sign Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the European Commission to enable them to participate fully in the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). "Associated status" allows these countries, as well as Turkey, which signed a similar MoU on 1 June, to participate in all calls for proposals and compete on an equal footing with the EU Member States for research co-operation and support actions funded by FP7. As such, this agreement is an important part of the process of applying to join the EU, allowing scientists, universities and companies to create links with their counterparts across Europe and build up their scientific expertise, including in scientific fields crucial to implementing the body of EU legislation. Croatia and Turkey had already participated as associated countries in the Sixth Framework Programme; for Serbia and FYR Macedonia this is the first time they will participate in the programme in this way.