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European Nations OK 10 High-Tech Eureka Projects

Times Staff Writer

Ten projects were announced Wednesday by the 18 European nations taking part in a program known as Eureka, which is designed to keep Western Europe from being outpaced by the United States and Japan in high-technology research and production.

Representatives of the 18 countries, concluding a two-day meeting in Hanover, West Germany, agreed to set up a formal coordinating body. They said in a closing statement that the projects could be financed by private and government funds but did not call for any specific amount from any country.

Taking part in the Eureka program are France, Britain, West Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Turkey.

The first projects will range from lasers and supercomputers to medical diagnostic kits and robots used in dressmaking.

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West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the conference chairman, said that “Eureka has taken a huge step forward in just a few months.”

Eureka , a Greek word that means “I have found it,” was the brainchild of French President Francois Mitterrand, who envisaged it as a means of rivaling U.S. and Japanese developments in high-tech areas.

A “small and flexible secretariat or task force” will be established, the statement said. This group will submit project proposals to the foreign and technology ministers of the member countries at the end of January.

About 300 projects have been under discussion by the 400 representatives of governments, industries and institutes who attended the meeting.

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The delegates agreed that most of the cash needed to finance the projects will have to come from private sources, although some governments have offered to put up money for specific projects.

“Eureka now has an unstoppable momentum, which gives European industry the chance to seize a major share of the world’s markets in high-technology products,” Geoffrey Pattie, Britain’s minister of technology, said after the conference.

Britain will be the site of the next meeting, which is scheduled for May.


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