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Response of the European Union Commissioner for Research

On April 23, Philippe Busquin, the European Union Commissioner for Research, released the following press statement which was in response to one of the academics who signed a petition calling, among other things, for the EU to suspend scientific and cultural relations with Israeli bodies:

"I thank you for your letter of 12 April by which you sent me the text calling for a moratorium on cultural and scientific relations with Israel. As mentioned in your letter, the Middle East policy of the European Union aims at contributing to the resolution of the conflict and to a return to peace. As recently said on several occasions by the President of the European Commission, Mr. Romano Prodi, the European Commission is not in favour of a policy of sanctions against the parties to the conflict but rather advocates a continuous dialogue with them which is the best way to bring them back to negotiations. Moreover, the Council of Ministers took the same position on April 18th.

More particularly, concerning Research, I draw your attention to the very positive effects played by the scientific co-operation conducted at the level of the European Union between European, Israeli and Palestinian institutions and scientists, and in which other Middle East countries participate as well. Indeed, this co-operation, which addresses critical regional issues such as agriculture or water management, is a concrete example of dialogue, in particular between Israeli and Palestinians, which, is certainly more effective than many well-intentioned words without any concrete impact."

Yours sincerely,
Philippe Busquin
European Union Commissioner for Research


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