European Council Agrees Reduced MFF and Horizon Europe Budget

After protracted negotiations, EU leaders have agreed a budget of €80.9 billion for Horizon Europe as part of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-27. The core programme of Horizon Europe will be allocated €75.9 billion with an additional €5 billion from the pandemic recovery fund.

Compared to the €94.4 billion budget proposed by the European Commission in May, this figure represents a victory for the so-called ‘frugal five’ of Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. However, this does not mean either the next MFF or future rollout of Horizon Europe are finally resolved. The Council’s proposal will now go to the European Parliament for approval by parliamentary committees.

In a statement, the parliament’s negotiating team said: ‘We will strive to secure improvements, including higher amounts, on future-oriented MFF programmes like Horizon, InvestEU, LIFE, Erasmus+. And if our conditions are not sufficiently met we will adopt the programmes on the basis of the existing MFF, as foreseen by the Treaty [on the Functioning of the European Union].’

Responding on Twitter, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth called the cuts to research, innovation and education ‘regrettable’. German MEP Christian Ehler, one of the two co-rapporteurs for Horizon Europe described the proposal as leading to ‘…a Europe falling apart in terms of R&D and innovation when stronger member states like Germany already started to raise their R&D budget beyond 3% of the GDP and develop their national programmes on key technologies like quantum and AI’.

RESEARCHconnect will continue to report on the Horizon Europe budget and wider MFF negotiations as they now move to the European Parliament.

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