This year has seen a change of management at CERN and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new Director-General, Luciano Maiani, and his team. Their first year in office has been a fruitful one in all respects. The Laboratory's scientific programme continues to flourish, and its international standing to grow.
In June I had the pleasure of welcoming representatives of CERN's 20th Member State, Bulgaria, to Council for the first time. Bulgaria became a full Member State of CERN when it deposited its instrument of ratification of the constitutive Convention of CERN at UNESCO on 11 June. Groups from various Bulgarian institutions already participate in the CMS, DELPHI and L3 experiments and we look forward to continuing collaboration with them in the future.
Coupled with the growing numbers of scientists from beyond the Member States, this further reinforces the Laboratory's status as the leading example of fruitful international collaboration in science. As the exhibition organized by CERN to mark the occasion of the award of the Prix de la Fondation pour Genève to the Laboratory in November pointed out, CERN is a tower of Babel that works.
And it is not only the number of Member States that continues to grow. Collaboration with physicists and institutions from other countries is also on the increase, as illustrated by a new agreement finalized in November between CERN and the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC). The value of this agreement will come in the form of contributions to both the ATLAS and CMS experiments. In addition, CMS signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with China, ensuring the continuing participation of Chinese physicists and industry in the experiment.
In 2000, the mainstay of CERN's experimental programme since 1989, the LEP accelerator, will accelerate its last beams of electrons and positrons. The LEP era has been a golden one for CERN, but LEP's passing will not leave a void. The Laboratory has a vibrant programme of research to look forward to in the first years of the new millennium. The new Antiproton Decelerator (AD) will have its first full year of running in 2000, joining the ongoing SPS and ISOLDE programmes. The LHC is still within budget and on schedule to start up in 2005, and an exciting new project to send a beam of neutrinos underground from CERN to the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy was approved by Council in December. This beam will offer wonderful new opportunities for exploring neutrino physics. It will also build a significant bridge between two laboratories of differing cultures, bringing enormous potential for new developments in physics that can only partially be glimpsed today.
CERN has always delivered outstanding achievements to the scientific, technological and educational world. But as we move into the new millennium and CERN takes the challenge of globalization in its stride, I believe the best is yet to come.
H.C. Eschelbacher President of Council