Full speed ahead for the European XFEL GmbH!
It is “an important step for basic research,” as Prof. Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), put it: the international state convention on the construction and operation of the European XFEL was initialled on 23 September 2009 in Berlin. “Nothing could stop the foundation of our research institution any more now,” rejoices Prof. Massimo Altarelli, designated chairperson of the management board of the European XFEL GmbH. “Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks go to everyone involved, from the ministries and science organizations in Germany and the partner countries, for their many years of intense efforts to prepare this event.”
From 21 to 23 September the cross-checking conference, which was organized jointly by the BMBF and the German Federal Foreign Office, took place in Berlin. At this conference, the translators checked once again the correctness of the six different language versions of the founding documents (convention, articles of association, final act). They were supported by government representatives from all 13 participating countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. At the end of the conference, they initialled the founding documents in its available English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish versions.
“The European XFEL is one of the most important infrastructure projects for basic research in Europe. We are happy to realize the European XFEL in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein together with so many important international partners. This project is a highlight for the attractiveness of Germany as a location for world-class research,” State Secretary Meyer-Krahmer commented on the occasion. The door is open for other partner countries; China for instance is already planning to participate in the European XFEL. The costs for the construction and commissioning of the facility will amount to around one billion Euro, of which Germany will cover slightly more than 50 percent. The most important international partner is Russia with a contribution of 250 million Euro.
The federal research ministry is now putting all its efforts into finding a date before the end of the year for the signing ceremony of the state convention in Berlin – a date that could be attended by as many ministers of the partner countries as possible. Independently, the limited liability company European XFEL GmbH can now be founded on short notice in Hamburg, initially with DESY as the only shareholder. Other shareholders from the partner countries will then join in after the signing of the state convention.