On 11 February the Romanian minister of education, research, youth and sport, Daniel Petru Funeriu, and CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer, signed an agreement that formally recognizes Romania as a candidate for accession to membership of CERN.

Romania’s pre-membership will cover a five-year period during which the country’s contributions will increase to normal member-state levels, in parallel with Romania’s participation in CERN projects. At the end of this five-year period CERN Council will decide on Romania’s application for full membership, as the organization’s 21st member state.

Romania entered into direct collaboration with CERN in the early 1990s. In recent years the country has constantly increased its expenditure on R&D, in particular since the country’s accession to the EU in January 2007. Romania is involved in three LHC experiments: ATLAS, ALICE and LHCb. It also contributes to the DIRAC and ISOLDE programmes and to Grid computing.