Horizon Europe and the next budget showdown
By Ingemar Pongratz
The budget process of the European Union has taken a big step. The EU Head of State have very recently agreed to the EU long term budget. In addition, the EU leaders also agreed on the COVID recovery fund. This fund is designed to speed up The economic recovery after the COVID 19 pandemic.
Different sources claim that there were considerable disagreements and the process was long. For example, Sweden, The Netherlands, Austria and the Denmark opposed several aspects of the EU. The feeling among these countries was that the costs would be to high.. In addition, these countries opposed parts of the COVID 19 recovery plan. The 750 billion Euros COVID 19 recovery plan includes both grants and loans. The original suggestion was that 500 Billion EUROS from the COVID 19 recovery plan would be distributed as grants and the rest would be provided as loans.
The negotiation retained the 750 Billion EUR figure. However, the grant section was reduced to to 390 Billion and the loan increased to 360 Billion.
Loans from the financial markets will fund the Covid 19 recovery plan. In addition, the EU member states will see that their annual financial contribution has to increase. Furthermore, several EU activities were reduced to fund the recovery plan.
One of these areas was the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation scheme. Horizon Europe is the successor to ongoing Horizon 2020 scheme. Horizon Europe will replace Horizon 2020
Compared to Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe still represents a considerable increase, from 70 Billion EUR for Horizon 2020 to 80 billion EUR for Horizon Europe. However, the suggestion from the European Commission was that Horizon Europe should receive 120 Billion EUR.
The research community and the European Parliament did not directly wel the Council’s suggestion. The European Parliament opposes the reduction for Horizon Europe and the next budget showdown is coming closer.
The European Parliament together with the European Council have budgetary authority. This means that the Parliament can reject or suggest changes to the suggestion from the Council. Representatives from the European Parliament have voiced major opposition to the Council’s suggestion. Research associations and the European Innovation Council (EIC) also voice major concern over the weak budget for research in Europe.
It is still not clear how Horizon Europe and the next budget showdown will end. The European Commission point out that the COVID-19 recovery plan focuses on new, climate friendly technologies that will boost both the digitalisation of the EU and the European Green Deal. Both these areas are important drivers for technological development.
We will of course follow the developments
Ingemar Pongratz is founder of Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. Ingemar Pongratz is also cofounder of Letavis AB. Through Pongratz Consulting, we help universities and enterprises to apply for European funding. In addition, Letavis AB is a research-intensive SME developing science based products and solutions for the agricultural sector.
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