During the Summit meeting held on December 10th, EU leaders have agreed on the final text and amount of the next EU Budget, covering the years 2021-2027.
The financial package agreed on combines the two main funding systems, namely the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery fund, and, with €1.8 trillion allocated, constitutes the largest ever budget in the history of the EU. The agreement marks the end of a dispute over a clause linking distribution of funds to rule of law in EU member states. “Now we can start with the implementation and build back our economies. Our landmark recovery package will drive forward our green and digital transitions”, stated Charles Michel, EU Council President.
Formally, the MFF will now require the approval by the European Parliament, set to meet in plenary this week, and will afterwards be ratified by the different national parliaments of the Member States. Last details on the recovery fund will also be concluded in the next weeks by EU lawmakers, who had recently stopped discussions due to the impending Brexit talks.
EU leaders also reached a provisional agreement on the final details of Horizon Europe, the next research framework programme, which will be receiving a total of €95.5 billion in the next seven years. The agreement puts the programme on the right path to start without delay on the 1st of January 2021, as mentioned by EU Parliament’s Horizon Europe rapporteur Christian Ehler. The programme had received an additional €4 billion during the last EU Council meeting on November 10th. However, it is still unclear how policymakers decided to allocate the additional funding. The agreement will now have to be endorsed by the EU Parliament and the Council of the EU, who will discuss the provisional text in the upcoming weeks.
The EU’s climate target was also subject of discussion. On the matter, EU leaders agreed on the increased 55% emissions reduction target to be reached by 2030, a crucial development coming after months of discussions between the EU Institutions and Member States. The target now requires the approval of the European Parliament, who has recently called for 60% emissions cut by the end of the decade. If confirmed, the target will require increased actions in the fields of climate and research and innovation.
Petter Støa, Chair of the EERA Policy Working Group, takes a positive stance towards the next budget cycle: "We welcome the Council agreement on the MFF and NGUE and on the final details of Horizon Europe. Although the final number still falls behind in comparison to what we hoped for, now it is time to get under way swiftly and address the EU increased climate ambitions. All the stakeholders at all levels should step up their efforts if we are to make the shift that the clean energy transition requires."