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Slovakia suggests EU twinning project

SLOVAKIA will back Great Britain during its forthcoming EU presidency in 2005 if London raises the issue of science and research support in turn, along with the modernization of the European economy and advanced technology.

Pál Csáky, Slovakia's Deputy PM for EU Integration said after a meeting with the British Deputy PM John Prescott in Bratislava that the 10 new EU members fear that their research centres are underdeveloped. He therefore suggested that the so-called twinning method be used in the field of science and research.

"This means that if any company from an EU15 country is competing for a research project, it should find a partner from the new EU member states and work with it in tandem." In this way new EU members will have the opportunity to improve their research facilities, TASR news agency reported.

There are several possible ways of financing science and research. For example, by transferring part of the money allocated for agriculture policy or by diverting money from the British rebate, said Csáky. He added that this issue would be a topic of further discussion with Britain.

The officials agreed that it would be good if an agreement were reached on the 2007-2013 EU budget during the British presidency that started on July 1 and will run until the end of the year.

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