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Revival of the EU/ US cooperation programme and key developments for EU/ Canada

Sources from the European Commission have recently signaled that negotiations for the EU/US cooperation programme may begin this Autumn with the possibility for a call for proposals in the first half of 2006.  This comes after a failure of the programme to launch a call for proposals in 2005 due to budget difficulties on the US side and fears that the agreement would not be renewed.  

At the June EU/US summit in Washington D.C., leaders announced the following:
  • Education cooperation is a tool "to increase synergies across the Atlantic as we become more knowledge-based economies."
  • And committed to work to "renew and reinforce the EU-US agreement on Higher Education and Vocational Training, which includes the Fulbright/European Union program, to boost education cooperation and transatlantic exchanges between our citizens." 
Later at the EU/ Canada summit, leaders agreed to:
  • “work to renew, reinforce and broaden the scope of the current Agreement on a Cooperation Program in Higher Education and Training, notably through the addition of cooperation in the field of youth, to strengthen academic cooperation and transatlantic exchange between our citizens.”
These statements above solidify the commitments of the EU/ US and EU/ Canada partnerships.  A new feature of the EU/ Canada cooperation programme is the cooperation in the field of youth.  This development opens the programme (including mobility grants) to students not yet in college.  In the case of the US, this is a substantial step towards reviving their cooperation programme in higher education and vocational education training. 

As to the renewal of the EU/US agreement expiring this year, the Commission plans to request authorisation to negotiate from the Council over the course of September/ October and if successful to conduct negotiations with the US in the fall. This is the first timeline for the post-2005 negotiations to be confirmed. An initial communication from the Commission to the Council and Parliament has already been delivered.  Depending on the efficiency of the renewal and reinforcement of the agreement with the US, a call for proposals for the programme could be launched as early as the first half of 2006, according to Commission sources.

EU-US summit conclusions: Statements on education cooperation Joint Summit Declaration Canada-EU Summit Niagara-on-the-Lake 19 June 2005 The cancellation of the EU/ US Higher Education Cooperation Programme? Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Econocmic and Socail Committee