Estonia ratifies CERN accession to become 24th member in one of Europe’s key scientific bodies

HELSINKI (AP) — Estonia’s government has ratified the country’s full membership in the European Organization for Nuclear Research, a move that will give companies, scientists and teachers in the Baltic nation complete access to one of Europe’s main research and scientific organizations.

Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, has been an associate member of the organization — known by its French abbreviation, CERN — since February 2021. In March, the current CERN countries voted in favor of admitting Estonia as the 24th member in the body that is based in a suburb of Geneva on the Switzerland-French border.

“Full membership of CERN is important for Estonia since it will mean that there will no longer be any financial ceiling when it comes to us taking part in tenders and entering into employment contracts,” said Tiit Riisalo, Estonia’s minister of economic affairs and information technology, in a statement Friday.

The small Baltic country neighboring Russia to the east, Latvia to the south and Finland to the north will become the first former Soviet republic to gain membership in CERN, which hosts the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

One of the priorities of CERN is to promote cooperation between countries in the field of fundamental nuclear research. Its main scientific focus lies in experimental particle physics

For Estonian entrepreneurs and companies, full membership “will enable a transfer of knowledge, first and foremost in the high-tech field, but it will give them wider-ranging opportunities to participate in CERN tenders as well,” Riisalo said.

Estonia’s membership will formally take effect after the country has presented its letter of accession to the director-general of UNESCO, the United Nations agency for educational, scientific and cultural matters, the Estonian government said.

Israel is the only non-European full member of CERN, which was established in 1954.