MEPs deplored on Wednesday the lack of ambition shown by Research ministers, after Council adopted its general approach on the key EU research programme.
"The scientific community and our citizens deserve the full commitment of the European institutions to deliver a strong and well financed programme for research and innovation” said Horizon Europe regulation rapporteur Dan Nica (S&D, RO).
“The European Parliament did its best to have adopt its first reading position as soon as possible. But it is also our duty to underline what we miss and the Horizon Europe figures from Council are just disappointing. What the Council is proposing means 22.500 less researchers supported, the loss of 400 patents representing 110 inventions, the loss of 5 500 testing activates and 220 clinical trials” he said.
“Not only the Council figures are so much lower compared to the Parliament position (120 bn Euro) and to the latest Commission proposal, but research ministers even backed the decision not to invest in the future. Yet, we expect research and innovation to have an impact and make a difference in many important challenges, like finding a vaccine, overcoming the healthcare and economic crisis, decarbonising our economy, only to name a few! We are missing the opportunity to lead in all these challenges.” he added.
Green deal goals “of transformative nature” for industry
"Yet again, research ministers capitulate without resistance to the Heads of States’ disastrous lack of ambition on research and innovation as they approve a savage cut over €10bn to research and innovation” said rapporteur on the Horizon Europe decision Christian Ehler (EPP, DE).
"If we are to reach the potential target of 55 % reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, which is of transformative nature for all industrial sectors in Europe, if we are to fight the long-term impact of the pandemic and if we do want to drive a credible digital agenda, we will need a strong Horizon Europe with a substantial raise of the budget, as requested by the European Parliament” he said.
“With an average of 2% of GDP spent in R&I in Europe, Council cements Europe's falling behind its competitors with this proposal. China and the US are spending at least 3% of their GDP. Based on this, Parliament is not willing to compromise, having in mind the disastrous consequences this will have for innovation and growth" he added.
“R&I is a driver for our recovery”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated that research and innovation (R&I) is a driver for our recovery. We rely on R&I to become resilient for future crisis and to address challenges such as cancer and antimicrobial-resistance, but also to adapt to our globalized, fight climate change and to prepare a better and greener future for next generations. But to achieve all these ambitions we require an equally ambitious budget.” said Industry, Research and Energy committee Chair Cristian Bușoi (EPP, RO) on Wednesday.
The Council on Tuesday finalised its position on the proposed regulation establishing Horizon Europe, the EU framework programme for research and innovation for the years 2021 to 2027 (Horizon Europe regulation) and on the proposed decision on the specific programme implementing Horizon Europe (specific programme decision).