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On 1\ue001 February, at a ceremony in Madrid, an agreement was signed by the Spanish Minister o\ue003 Education and Science, Mrs. Mar\u00eda Jes\u00fas San Segundo, and the ESO Director General, Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, a\ue003\ue000rming their commitment to securing
Following approval by the Spanish Coun-
cil o\ue003 Ministers and the rati\ue000cation by
the Spanish Parliament o\ue003 the ESO Con-
vention and the associated protocols,
Spain will become ESO\u2019s twel\ue003th member
state on 1 July 2006.
\u201cSince long Spain was aware that en-
tering ESO was a logical decision and it
was even necessary \ue003or a country like
Spain because Spain is ranked eighth in
astrophysical research\u201d, said Mrs. Mar\u00eda
Jes\u00fas San Segundo. \u201cThe large scienti-
\ue000c installations are not only necessary \ue003or
research in di\ue003\ue003erent \ue000elds but are also
partners and customers \ue003or high-tech
companies, helping to increase the \ue003und-
ed to welcome Spain as a new member
o\ue003 ESO. We very much look \ue003orward to
working together with our excellent Span-
ESO, the Spanish accession means that
we can draw on the scienti\ue000c and tech-
nological competences, some o\ue003 them
unique in Europe, that have been devel-
oped in Spain and, o\ue003 course, \ue003or Europe
the Spanish membership o\ue003 ESO is an
important milestone in the construction
o\ue003 the European Research Area.\u201d
Indeed, Spain is an important member
o\ue003 the European astronomical com-
munity and has developed impressively
over the last three decades, reaching
maturity with major contributions in virtu-
\ue003oster astronomical research, among
which is the Observatorio del Roque de
los Muchachos at La Palma, certainly
the premier optical/in\ue003rared astronomical
observing site in Europe and site o\ue003 the
Spanish 10-m GranTeCan telescope now
ical research as well as the technologi-
cal competence o\ue003 Spanish industry, it is
only \ue000tting that Spain should join ESO.
Through ESO Spain will enjoy \ue003ull access
to all o\ue003 ESO\u2019s current \ue003acilities and un-
restricted participation in the projects that
ESO is planning \ue003or the \ue003uture. Spain is
already an active partner o\ue003 the Atacama
Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), whose
construction and operations are led by
ESO on behal\ue003 o\ue003 Europe.
The Spanish Minister o\ue003 Education and Science,
Mrs. Mar\u00eda Jes\u00fas San Segundo, (le\ue003t) and the
ESO Director General, Dr. Catherine Cesarsky (right)
signing the agreement.
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