EU Parliament approves €160 bln for future science and technology programmes

EPA-EFE//JEROME FAVRE

A lab technician works on preparation work for sequencing in a Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) facility in Hong Kong, China, 02 December 2015.

EU Parliament approves €160 bln for future science and technology programmes


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In their last meeting before the May 23-26 elections, EU Parliament deputies have taken a series of decisions on the bloc’s signature research programmes and gave the green light to Horizon Europe – research funding platform that includes space and digital programmes.

The approval came after the European Commission had proposed a total budget of €161.6 billion for four programmes – €94.1 billion for Research and Development in Horizon Europe; €16 billion for space; €9.2 billion to boost Europe’s digital capabilities in the Digital Europe programme; and €42.3 billion for the Connecting Europe infrastructure programme, of which €3 billion would be spent on digital infrastructure.

EU Parliament’s last votes allow the EU executive to start preparations for these programmes to begin by January 2021. The fund that was approved, however, are nearly €26 billion less than what the European Parliament had said would be needed for the Horizon programme, which they priced at €120 billion.

The Parliament wants to see immediate investments into the programme as Horizon Europe will boost R&D in areas including climate research, security, healthcare, and other sectors.

New types of financial support, such as equity investments for tech start-ups are to be put in place after the EU agrees on the overall funding.

Part of the package includes a piece of legislation that aims to boost Europe’s capabilities in supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital skills, and digital transformation. The plan would also see an infrastructure programme implemented that would focus largely on transport, energy and digital.

The package includes ambitious plans for the EU’s space programme, which would see a new agency established in Prague to coordinate the EU’s contribution to projects jointly run with the European Space Agency.

As for Brexit, No details were disclosed about the effect Brexit will have on the agreements or what will be the status of non-EU countries, as all that will be part of the next Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027.

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