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CERN Council welcomes new candidates for Membership

Geneva, 17 December 2010. Delegates attending the 157th session of the CERN Council today congratulated the laboratory on the LHC’s successful first year of running, and looked forward to a bright future for basic science at CERN1. Top of the agenda was the opening of CERN to new members. Formal discussions can begin now with Cyprus, Israel, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey for accession to Membership, while Brazil’s candidature for Associate Membership was also warmly received.

It is very pleasing to see the increasing global support for basic science that these applications for CERN membership indicate,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “Basic science responds to our quest to understand nature, and provides the very foundations of future innovation.

Established in 1954 by 12 European states, CERN’s membership had grown to 20 by the end of the 1990s, with many countries from beyond the European region also playing an active role. Discussions on opening CERN to membership from beyond Europe, while at the same time allowing CERN to participate in future projects beyond Europe, reached a conclusion at the Council’s June session this year. As of now, any country may apply for Membership or Associate Membership of CERN, and if CERN wishes to participate in projects outside Europe, mechanisms are in place to make that possible.

Under the scheme agreed by Council in June, Associate Membership is an essential pre-requisite for Membership. Countries may therefore apply for Associate Membership alone, or Associate Membership as a route to Membership. At this meeting, Council formally endorsed model agreements for both cases, and these will now serve as the basis for negotiations with candidates, which could lead to CERN welcoming its first Associate Members as early as next year.

The other highlight of the meeting was the success of the LHC programme in 2010. Dozens of scientific papers have been published by the LHC experiments on the basis of data collected this year. These re-measure the science of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, and take the LHC’s first steps into new territory.

The performance of the LHC this year has by far exceeded our expectations,” said President of the CERN Council, Michel Spiro. “This bodes extremely well for the coming years, and I’m eagerly looking forward to new physics from the LHC.

The LHC switched off for 2010 on 6 December. Details of the 2011 LHC run and plans for 2012 will be set following a special workshop to be held in Chamonix from 24-28 January, while the first beams of 2011 are scheduled for mid-February.

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.