This year, Estonia became an associate member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN.
Estonia has been striving for a membership for the last quarter century, and in June, a membership agreement was finally signed. In December, the agreement was ratified in Riigikogu, the parliament of Estonia, and according to Raidal, instruments of accession will be exchanged in January. Thus, the Republic of Estonia will become an associate member of CERN in January 2021.
The associated membership lasts two to five years, after which, Estonia becomes a full member of the organisation. “To be a full member, we first have to be an associated member,” explained Raidal and added, “This is a so-called test of strength. We have to show that we can handle everything.”
Associate member status gives Estonia the opportunity to increase technical and research-related cooperation, create new possibilities for Estonian companies for the transfer of knowledge and technology, and increase the competitiveness of Estonia’s economy.
According to Raidal, CERN primarily values the scientific competence and cooperation of the potential future full member. Secondly, the organisation expects Estonian industry to be able to participate in the procurements of CERN. “This is one way we can develop high-tech industry in Estonia,” noted Raidal.
Thirdly, CERN looks at the reaction of the possible member state by their request to join. “At the moment, Estonia has stated that we are an associated member with the objective of becoming a full member,” said the physicist.
CERN (Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire) was established on 29 September 1954 by 12 founding states. By now, CERN has 23 members and nine associated members together with Estonia. CERN also has members with observer status, including the USA, Japan, European Union and Russia. The aim of the organisation is to ensure cooperation between European countries in the field of nuclear research and the development of the technology needed for it (including information technology).
The translation of this article from Estonian Public Broadcasting science news portal Novaator was funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Estonian Research Council.