The European University Association (EUA) strongly welcomes the words of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, that the agreement on the Windsor Framework for Northern Ireland will unblock the association of the United Kingdom to European Union programmes, in particular to the Horizon Europe programme.
The original provisions in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement remain a strong basis for realising the spirit of cooperation that is at the root of Europe's research and innovation excellence. They ensured that EU and UK universities could work together on excellent, cross-border research and innovation, uniting talents, perspectives and ideas from across the continent. Returning to that basis is certainly good news for the European family of universities.
In the past six years, uncertainty has been a major obstacle for cooperation between EU universities and their UK partners. The Windsor Framework should put an end to this uncertainty. European universities and the academic community need a clear timeline for association and EUA calls on all parties to do everything necessary to ensure association in the shortest timeframe possible. Concretely, this would mean closing the remaining parts of Protocol 1 on UK participation in EU programmes so that an association agreement can be finalised alongside the ratification of the Windsor Framework – there would be no advantage to further delay.
Given the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the UK, and the obvious common interest in working together in research and innovation, Europe’s universities hope that the period of uncertainty is ending. We look forward to an era of stable relations, beginning with Horizon Europe as a strong foundation, and including its successor programmes into the future.
This positive development towards UK association to Horizon Europe should also be an incentive to solve the issue regarding the association of Switzerland.