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News 30 September 2020

European Commission and Council of the European Union reach an agreement on the Horizon Europe

EU minsters confirmed the cuts proposed by the European Council in July, with the European Parliament now called to approve the programme

On Tuesday 29 September, EU ministers and the European Commission have reached an agreement on the text shaping the next research framework programme Horizon Europe. The agreement keeps the cut proposed last June in place, except from the Marie Curie Skłodowska Action programme, receiving €200 million more. This money was diverted from the budget destined to the European Innovation Council, which in the words of Austria’s minister still needs to “illustrate it is an efficient programme”.

Other parts of the programme, meanwhile, have been shrunk proportionally to the cuts made to the total Horizon Europe budget. EERA, joined by other European organisations involved in research and energy, had earlier this month advocated for a revision of the budget amount. However, the ministers have followed the indications given by the EU leaders in the summer and confirmed the last figures proposed for the budget.

This currently means a total of €85.5 billion for the programme, with a total of €13.4 billion allocated to Cluster 5 on “Climate, Energy and Mobility”. The document will now pass into the hands of the European Parliament, called to give its final agreement on the Horizon Europe setting. Members of the Parliament have expressed disagreement regarding the cuts, with Horizon Europe rapporteur Christian Ehler stating that Parliament "won't make a deal with the council, without raising the R&D budget". Still, the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel has called on the Parliament to keep in mind the long-term goal: Launching the programme in January 2021, to avoid delays in the implementation of research efforts.