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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Establishing Horizon Europe – laying down its rules for participation and dissemination (A8-0401/2018 - Dan Nica)

  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, where do we get this idea that politicians and officials are best placed to decide where research spending should go? I was a journalist before I was elected here, and I was always getting bumf from people promoting this or that government programme, and I can’t in honesty remember any of them that actually yielded results. If we think of the great tech breakthroughs that we’ve had, the things that have transformed people’s lives – the American tech giants, the mobile phone breakthroughs, the search engines and so on – none of them depended on government grants, any more than did the people who made the Industrial Revolution in the first place. We’ve got locked into this rather sad circle where we ask recipients of this money whether it’s a good idea. Well of course they’re going to say it’s a good idea: by definition, they are the beneficiaries. But is this really the best way with a limited budget to be deploying it? I’m all in favour of spending money on education – there are some things, obviously, we should do collectively – but when I hear Members of this House suggesting that success is measured by the size of the budget rather than by any real world output, I wonder whether we have our priorities right.

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