On 21 July 2020, the EU Council reached an agreement on the EU long-term budget and Recovery Fund, which severely slashed EU funds for research, innovation, health and the fight against climate change.

The European Parliament calls for an increase of the Horizon Europe budget and cannot accept the Council agreement, as it:

1- Maims Europe’s ability to step into the next decade;

2 – Only means that Europe will continue to lag behind its competitors, notably the US and China. The EU started the past decade absolutely determined to become a powerhouse for technology and the most innovative place in the world. Instead, the EU is now fighting to remain relevant in a fast moving world;

3- Impedes European growth and competitiveness. A total of €13.5bn was shaved off the Horizon Europe research programme, if one compares the agreement with the initial EU Commission proposal;

4- Killed off all ambitions to achieve the 55% reduction of CO2 in a decade. A sufficient amount of EU money needs to be allocated for new cutting-edge technologies, which would facilitate transformative changes of most industrial sectors in Europe;

5- Hampers Europeans’ ability to combat the negative impact of this and future pandemics. The development of vaccines depends on properly financed research and development;

6- Means an EU meltdown when it comes to fundamental and applied research, development and innovation, especially when stronger EU countries already started raising their Research & Development budget beyond 3% of GDP. These countries are already developing their own national programmes on technologies like Quantum & Artificial Intelligence.

This position is supported by the broad EU Research & Innovation community, including major organisations:

  • The Vice-Presidents of the European Research Council (ERC), Eveline Crone, Janet Thornton and Fabio Zwirner. The ERC mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. Seven Nobel Prizes were awarded to ERC grantees. erc.europa.eu/
  • The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), representing over 350 research and technology organisations in more than 20 countries. www.earto.eu
  • The European University Association (EUA), representing more than 800 universities and national rectors’ conferences in 48 European countries. www.eua.eu
  • The League of European Research Universities (LERU), representing 23 leading universities pushing the frontiers of innovative research in 12 European countries. www.leru.org
  • Science Europe, representing the interests of 37 major public research performing and research funding organisations in 27 countries. www.scienceeurope.org
  • Initiative for Science in Europe, representing major European Learned Societies and Research Organizations in Europe operating within different disciplines and across sectors. www.initiative-se.eu/
  • The Coimbra Group, representing 41 long-established European comprehensive, multidisciplinary universities in 23 countries. www.coimbra-group.eu
  • CESAER, representing 53 three leading research-intensive universities of science and technology from 26 countries in Europe and beyond. www.cesaer.org