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MEPs call on ministers to finally deliver on funding

Image: Security & Defence Agenda [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr (on the left); Dan Nica, Valeriu Zgonea, Constantin Nita [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons (on the right)

EU governments must admit that they will not meet their 2020 target to spend 3 per cent of GDP on R&D, and take a step in the right direction by increasing the budget of the bloc’s next R&D programme, MEPs have said.

“In Catholic terms, it’s payoff time,” Christian Ehler, one of the European Parliament’s two leads on the EU’s 2021-27 R&D funding programme Horizon Europe said at a press conference on 11 December. The EU has “desperately failed” to meet its 3 per cent spending target, he said, and now national governments in the Council of the EU have to address this failure. The EU spends only about 2 per cent of its GDP on R&D at present.

“We’re at a crossroads in terms of innovation,” Ehler (pictured, left) said. “In China the average [spending] is somewhere between 3 and 5 per cent; in the United States it’s substantially beyond 3 per cent. The question with that [Horizon Europe] budget is really do we want to fix the problem, do we have an attempt to be competitive in global terms, or not?” 

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