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How insane is this?

21. Jul. 2020

Absurd sacrifice of the EU's research budget

“In a time when politicians and citizens look to science to find the miraculous solution to the COVID-19 crisis, the top leaders decide to cut the research budget – how insane is this?” says Marta Agostinho, coordinator of EU-Life, an alliance of 14 life science research institute (quoted from ScienceBusiness).

During the negotiations of the EU Council over the weekend, the budget foreseen for HORIZON EUROPE was significantly reduced! The final figure – a big blow to research advocates - is significantly lower than a proposal of €94.4 billion (in current prices) put forward by the European Commission in May, as the budget for the R&D programme has been cut multiple times throughout the summit, informs ScienceBusiness.

"This is an absurd sacrifice given the many challenges in front of us to which science, technology and innovation could make important positive contributions" says Klaus Schuch, Scientific Director of ZSI."It is a masterpiece of misguided negotiations. Instead of concentrating on the big goals and setting the course for the future, short-sighted political deals are made that lead the purpose of the whole exercise to absurdity. Unfortunately, it can be assumed that the contribution of the "greedy 4 + 1" has provoked such a development. Austria is sacrificing an extremely important EU programme in which the country has been a net recipient for more than 20 years."

In the end, the core programme of Horizon Europe will be allocated €75.9 billion and a €5 billion boost from the pandemic recovery fund (in 2018 prices), which is less than the EC's original proposal from 2018 amounting to €83.5b (in 2018 prices; this proposal was already much lower than requested by some member states and the European Parliament).

The budget for EU’s academic exchange programme Erasmus+ will be allocated €21.2 billion, about €5 billion less than initially planned. InvestEU, a scheme to boost private and public investment, could see its budget cut to €6.9 billion. The EU4Health programme has been cut down to €1.67 billion, from €9.4 billion proposed in May.

To read the whole very informative article of ScienceBusiness click here.