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Regions worried research funding inequalities could worsen

A bigger budget for the EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme Horizon Europe and a simultaneous cut to regional cohesion funding risk worsening inequalities across the bloc, local politicians have warned.

Cities and regions that benefit most from the EU’s R&D Framework programme at present are likely to see those benefits rise further if the programme’s budget increases as planned in 2021-27, the Committee of the Regions association of local EU politicians said on 9 October. The 2014-20 Framework programme Horizon 2020 has a budget of about €77 billion, while Horizon Europe looks set for a budget of between €100bn and €120bn.

But regions that benefit the least from the Framework programme “will suffer the consequences of the fall in cohesion policy budgets”, the committee warned in a draft opinion paper on Horizon Europe. The drop in cohesion funding is intended to offset some of the reductions to the overall EU budget caused by the UK’s departure from the bloc. The European Commission has proposed cutting the cohesion budget, which will allocate about €44bn to R&D in 2014-2020, by about 5 per cent. 

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