CERN Council opens the door to greater integration

20 July 2010

At its 155th session, on 18 June, the CERN Council opened the door to greater integration in particle physics when it unanimously adopted the recommendations of a working group that was set up in 2008 to examine the role of the organization in the light of increasing globalization in particle physics.

“This is a milestone in CERN’s history and a giant leap for particle physics,” said Michel Spiro, president of the CERN Council. “It recognizes the increasing globalization of the field, and the important role played by CERN on the world stage.”

The key points agreed at the meeting were:

• All states shall be eligible for membership, irrespective of their geographical location;

• A new associate membership status is to be introduced to allow non-member states to establish or strengthen their institutional links with the organization;
• Associate membership shall also serve as the obligatory pre-stage to full membership;
• The existing observer status will be phased out for states, but retained for international organizations;

International co-operation agreements and protocols will be retained. “Particle physics is becoming increasingly integrated at the global level,” explained CERN’s director-general Rolf Heuer. “The decision contributes towards creating the conditions that will enable CERN to play a full role in any future facility, wherever in the world it might be.”

CERN currently has 20 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the US, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have observer status. Applications for membership from Cyprus, Israel, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey have already been received by the CERN Council, and are currently undergoing technical verification. At future meetings, Council will determine how to apply the new arrangements to these states.

In other business, Council recognized that further work is necessary on the organization’s medium-term plan, in order to maintain a vibrant research programme through a period of financial austerity, and endorsed CERN’s new code of conduct.

Full details of the new membership arrangements can be found in Council document CERN/2918, which is available at

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