Agreement on the Juncker Plan in Place
By Ingemar Pongratz
New from several sources such as Science Insider, The Times Higher Education and Science|Business report that the European Union and the European Parliament have agreed on a compromise on the Juncker plan, also known as the European Fund for Stretegic Investment (EFSI)
The new European Commission announced earlier that there was a plan to establish a fund to support the European Economy and European Business by establishing a fund that would combine both public and private funds to provide much needed investment capital for infrastructure projects and European SME.
To capitalize the fund the EU Commission and European Investment Bank annouced that part of the Horizon 2020 research funding would be re-directed to fund EFSI. This move generated major critique from the Academic Community and Research Institutes across Europe. These actors pointed out that this move would drain European Research funding, in particular funding for fundamental research.
EFSI will no doubt support SME with much needed investment capital, investments that are required to take the European Economies out the Financial Crisis and Horizon 2020 does not provide funding to all different types of European SME.
In the end, the contribution that Horizon 2020 would make to EFSI was reduced from 2,7 billion Euros to 2,2 Billion Euros. Instead the 500 million Euros would be taken from other areas of the European Commission budget.
Taken together, it is clear that Horizon 2020 will contribute towards EFSI, which will results in reduced numbers of EU funded project. However, it is clear that the European Parliament opposition had to be taken into consideration and that the democratic process was finally respected.
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