Industry, Research and Energy committee Chair and rapporteurs reacted to President Michel’s proposals ahead of the European Council meeting where the long-term budget will be discussed.
“We are entering the final stages of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations with the summit this Thursday. The proposals presented by the European Council President are however a rough start” said Cristian Silviu Buşoi (EPP, RO). “The cuts suggested across all budget areas compared to both the Commission and Parliaments positions are a major setback for a European Union that wants to deliver for its citizens. It is finally time for EU leaders to match words with deeds: We cannot continue promising policy solutions to citizens and then not provide the funds to finance them”.
“Challenges are many and various : Digital transformation of our societies and industries, energy transition and fighting climate change, keeping the EU competitive through research, advancing leadership in space and improving capacity of defence industries: all of this is at risk if not properly supported by adequate funds for the new programmes as of 2021” he said.
“The ITRE committee fought hard for appropriate financing of programmes in its remit. We therefore cannot accept the unambitious approach presented to the European Council and we call on Member States to make the EU fit for the challenges of the next decade.”
Christian Ehler (EPP, DE), rapporteur on the Horizon Europe Decision, said that "in April last year, the three institutions jointly agreed on an ambitious Horizon Europe which is needed for Europe’s future. The current Council proposals is much lower than needed to achieve our priorities. We should now end the liars’ poker! The countries supporting this proposal should clearly state which of the Programme’s ambitions they would like to cut, will it be artificial intelligence, our digital transition, the green deal or research on cancer?"
"The EP insists on EUR 120 billion for Horizon Europe, excluding any contribution to InvestEU” said rapporteur on the framework regulation Dan Nica (S&D, RO). The level proposed for Horizon Europe by the previous Commission (83.5 billion €) cannot be taken as a basis as it does not include the research and innovation needed to deliver on the new priorities announced, in particular the Green Deal, artificial intelligence, the Cancer Plan, the digital transition etc.
Digital Europe Programme
Valter Flego (RE, HR), Rapporteur for the Digital Europe Programme said: “The budget proposal presented to the European Council is not in line with the Union's political priorities, especially not with the one that sees Europe "fit for the digital age". The Digital Europe Programme has been significantly cut down, but the decrease of its financial figures will not bring real savings, on the contrary it will prevent the EU from being able to scale up and deploy key technologies like AI, supercomputing, data platforms, cybersecurity, and will harm the digitalisation across the EU”.
Connecting Europe Facility
"The proposal by Council President brings regrettably little new to the table” said Henna Virkkunen (EPP, FI), rapporteur on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). “The proposal merely confirms the cuts suggested by the Finnish presidency and comes nowhere near to meeting the position of the European Parliament, especially when it comes to the energy and digital sectors”.
European Defence Fund
“I welcome this slight increase in the budget of the European Defence Fund compared to the last proposal of the Finnish Presidency” said rapporteur Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, PL). “Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is still far too modest to fully meet the objective of fostering the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of the European defence technological and industrial base, in particular in comparison with the amounts spent on defence industry by leading global powers”.
European Space Programme
Massimilano Salini (EPP, IT), rapporteur on the European Space Programme, said: “The cut of 12% (compared to EP position) and of 7% (compared to EC proposal) suggested by the President of the European Council would seriously undermine the existing flagship programmes Galileo and Copernicus. They are identified as some of the key tools for delivering solutions to one of the EU crucial challenges: fighting the climate change”.