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Joy as Parliament adopts Horizon 2020

Image: European Parliament Audiovisual Service

Research leaders have breathed a sigh of relief after the European Parliament officially voted through Horizon 2020's budget and programme details.

In a plenary vote taking place in Strasbourg, France, on 21 November, a wide majority of the Parliament approved the EU research programme’s five draft regulations, confirming a preliminary deal reached in the summer by negotiators from the Parliament and Council.

This leaves just one more formal step to go before the programme can start—approval by the Council of Ministers.

The European Commission has announced that the first calls for proposals will be published on 11 December, if the Council of Ministers sign off on the draft regulations before then.

In a statement published just after the vote, the League of European Research Universities said it was relieved that “a protracted and unsettling period of insecurity about the EU’s overall budget is finally over and that a close but still timely start of Horizon 2020 is now possible".

Helga Nowotny, president of the European Research Council, sounded a similar note of relief, and described her satisfaction with the ERC’s increased budget compared with Framework 7. “After the long negotiations preceding Horizon 2020 and its budget, I interpret this as a vote of confidence for the ERC,” Nowotny said.

Eureka, a European network that funds industry research, is equally pleased with the negotiations’ outcome. While the details of its Eurostars programme for small businesses are still under discussion, the programme’s budget has already been agreed as part of Horizon 2020: it will triple to reach €1.14 billion in 2014-20.

Horizon 2020 is not on the agenda of the next Competitiveness Council, to be held in Brussels on 2 and 3 December. But the item could be approved during another Council of Ministers meeting in the coming weeks, a Council spokesman told Research Europe Today.