Reaction of EU-LIFE alliance on the next framework programme budget agreement
On 10th November, the European Council, the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament reached a historic agreement on the budget for the next seven years, the Multiannual Framework Programme (MFF), to be formally approved later this year.
The agreement is historic because never before was the EU budget raised above the initial proposal made in July by the European Council. The increase of the EU budget by the European Parliament is for the so-called flagship programmes. The research & innovation programme Horizon Europe receives a top-up of 4B Euros and a reinforcement through the temporary Next Generation EU reinforcement instrument of 5B Euros. However, this increase is based on additional cash that is not yet available and on reallocation of funds. There is no guaranteed additional contributions by the Member States, which leaves room for many uncertainties.
The agreement is also historic for being far from Europe’s needs: facing an unprecedented pandemic that challenges the resilience of the world, it does not recognize, nor provides commensurate investments in the best and only way out of the current - and future - crisis: namely through research and innovation.
As an active stakeholder representing leading European independent research institutes, EU-LIFE has contributed concrete and clear ideas on the design of Horizon Europe for a stronger and smarter approach to research and innovation in Europe. Together with many other organizations, ranging from the scientific community to the business and social sectors, including end-users like patient´s organizations, we have highlighted repeatedly why and how Europe needs strong science to overcome the immense challenges we face – be it on health, security, climate, or ensuring fair and prosperous societies, just to name a few of the EC priorities. We are deeply concerned about the short- and long-term consequences from the lack of (financial) support for Horizon Europe.
We therefore urge European leaders at the Member States and the European Commission to stand up to the challenge and match the requirement of the current situation. First, by ensuring that the 4B Euros extra allocated to Horizon Europe are used for discovery-driven research via the ERC and MSCA programmes. Second, by working harder to secure higher national and European investments in science for the benefit of all citizens.
We remain committed to participate to constructive dialogues with all stakeholders involved.
"This agreement is historic but also a lost opportunity: it was reached during an unprecedented pandemic that challenges the resilience of the world, but it is a huge disappointment to see that it does not recognize nor provides commensurate investments in the best and only way out of the current - and future - crisis: research and innovation" states René Medema, Chair of EU-LIFE and Director of The Netherlands Cancer Institute.
“It is now key that our politicians take the only possible option to make the best out of the current badly funded Horizon Europe envelope; namely to allocate the 4B Euros extra budget to frontier research on ERC and MSCA packages. Albeit rather symbolic, this is utterly needed to find new solutions for our citizens’ needs”, says Marta Agostinho, EU-LIFE Coordinator.
Read the statement here.