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€ 100 billion budget for the new European research program

On 2 May 2018, the European Commission published its proposal for the European Union’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) covering the period 2021-2027. The proposal addresses many other important issues related to the 2021-2027 MFF, such as the system of own resources, flexibility, conditionality based on the rule of law, a stronger focus on political priorities and less red tape.

Despite the potential financial consequences of the departure of the UK from the EU, the Commission has proposed an increase in the budget for Research and Innovation activities to €100 billion EUR for the next Research Framework Programme 2021-2027. The figure includes €97.6 billion for Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship research programme and €2.4 billion for the Euratom nuclear research programme. For Horizon Europe, that’s an increase of almost 30% on the EU’s existing research programme of €77 billion. Horizon Europe will be the EU’s biggest ever research and innovation funding programme. The program will thus begin to take its final shape during the Austrian EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2018.

Alongside the EU budget proposal, the European Commission also published an annex which provides more clarity on the plans for Horizon Europe. Building on the success of Horizon 2020, the new programme will continue to promote research excellence and innovation, and in particular to strengthen the EU’s scientific and technological base, foster the EU’s competitiveness and its innovation performance, deliver on the EU’s strategic priorities and tackle global challenges. The annex to the EU budget also provides details on other areas of research and innovation, which will receive funding. These include the Euratom Research and Training Programme previously mentioned, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the Connecting Europe Facility, and the Digital Europe ProgrammeOther instruments have been proposed for the next MFF, among them InvestEU, a new fully integrated investment fund, which aims to catalyse private investments throughout Europe and which is built on the current European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). According to a recent publication of the European Commission, “with a contribution from the EU budget of EUR 15.2 billion, InvestEU is expected to mobilise more than EUR 650 billion of additional investment across Europe”[1].

If the publication of the European Commission’s proposal opens the period of consultations between the 27 Member States, which must unanimously adopt the regulation fixing the MFF 2021-2027, the aim is now to close the negotiations by the beginning of 2019 at the latest to vote before the European elections.

[1] A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends. The Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.


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