Towards Horizon Europe: EU Council and Parliament approve positions

13 December 2018

EUA welcomes the positions on Horizon Europe adopted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

The proposal for Horizon Europe, the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2017), was first presented by the European Commission in June 2018. The proposal includes a budget proposal of €100 billion, new instruments such as R&I missions and the European Innovation Council (EIC), as well as a renewed focus on strengthening the European Research Area and reinforcing Open Access and Open Science principles.

Since then, the member states and the European Parliament had been working on their positions.

In November, the member states agreed on a Partial General Approach (PGA) on Horizon Europe, after a lengthy round of negotiations, concerning mostly the EIC, European Partnerships, the structure of Pillar 2 and support for researchers to return to their country of origin (“return grants”). The PGA does not cover budgetary aspects and other horizontal issues, such as synergies with other funds or third country associations, given that they will depend on agreements in other negotiation processes.

Also in November, the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) approved its position on Horizon Europe, taking into account nearly 4 000 amendments. The position was subsequently endorsed in the plenary vote on 12 December. In its position, the European Parliament proposed to increase the budget of the programme to €120 billion and prioritise projects that include women, SMEs and participants from lower-performing EU countries.

The EU Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission are now preparing for interinstitutional negotiations (trilogue), which are likely to start at the beginning of January 2019. The institutions aim at swiftly agreeing on Horizon Europe to ensure the smooth start of the programme in 2021.

EUA closely followed the debate and provided its advice to Commissioner Moedas, Members of the European Parliament and other EU high-level policymakers on a number of occasions. In June 2018, EUA released its analysis of the European Commission’s proposal for Horizon Europe and a joint statement with thirteen other pan-European university networks calling, amongst others, for increasing the budget of Horizon Europe to €160 billion and aligning EU policies for education, research and innovation. EUA is pleased that many of its recommendations were taken into account. In the next step, EUA plans to work on more specific issues regarding Open Science, multidisciplinary and impact.

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