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On the occasion of an official visit to Israel, the European Commissioner in charge of Education, Training, Culture and Youth, J?n Figel', signed a Joint Declaration with the Israeli Minister of Education, Prof. Yuli Tamir, on 16 July 2008. This Joint Declaration on cooperation and dialogue in education and training will be an effective tool to contribute to the objectives of the 2005 Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy, namely to gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programmes. For this purpose, the Commission and the Israeli Government want to launch an enhanced policy dialogue on greater compatibility of education systems and to increase educational mobility and exchanges through the EU's Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes.
Commissioner Figel’ said: “The European Union is determined to develop a closer partnership with Israel. This process needs to be seen in the context of the broad range of our common interests. I strongly believe that enhancing cooperation and dialogue on education and training is instrumental for improving our mutual understanding and for strengthening our position with regard to the challenges facing us in an ever-globalising knowledge-based society and economy. Our education and training systems are adapting to this new reality and we can learn a lot from each other.”
The Joint Declaration marks the starting point for a sectoral policy–oriented dialogue between the EU and Israel.