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On 16 July, the European Community signed a Science & Technology (S&T) cooperation agreement with New Zealand bringing the total number of S&T cooperation agreements the EC has signed with third countries to 33. This international agreement, which replaces the administrative arrangement concluded between the two parties in 1991, shall help to better prepare and coordinate the research cooperation.
"The signature of this Agreement will open a new chapter in the S&T cooperation between New Zealand and the European Union, and will reinforce international cooperation in the research area" stated European Science and Research Commissioner Potocnik who signed the agreement together with Ms. Pécresse, the French Minister for Higher Education and Research on behalf of the European Community, and the New Zealand Ambassador to the European Union HE Peter Kennedy.
Despite the geographical distance, New Zealand's researchers have already successfully participated in the past in research activities under the European Research Framework Programmes. Traditionally their participation was particularly accentuated in the area of food, agriculture and biotechnology. The agreement shall help to extend the participation of researchers from New Zealand to other fields of common research interest such as Health, Environment and Information Technologies. Furthermore it should also facilitate the participation of European researchers in New Zealand's research activities.