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Revised EU budget proposal boosts Horizon Europe to €94.4bn

Image: Images Money [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Extra €10.9bn proposed for 2021-27 R&D programme, but budget must still be agreed

The European Commission has allocated €94.4 billion in 2018 prices to the next EU R&D programme, Horizon Europe, in its updated proposal for the bloc’s 2021-27 budget, up from the €83.5bn that was rejected by national leaders last year.

Under proposals unveiled by Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on 27 May, the overall EU budget would be about €1.1 trillion and would sit alongside a new instrument for funding the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, called Next Generation EU, which would be worth about €750bn.

Next Generation EU would contribute €13.5bn to the Horizon Europe budget, with the rest coming from the normal EU budget for 2021-27.

The Erasmus+ academic mobility programme would get €24.6bn, which the Commission said was an extra €3.4bn although the original proposal was for €26.4bn. Research Professional News has asked the Commission for clarification.

The Commission said “Horizon Europe will be reinforced to fund vital research in health, resilience and the green and digital transitions”. Initial commentary from R&D leaders included concern about what the splitting of the budget would mean, and some confusion about the various budget figures.

Today’s proposal includes €5bn for the Iter fusion energy demonstration project, down from €5.4bn; €8bn for the European Defence Fund, down from €11.5bn of which €4.1bn was for R&D; and €13.2bn for the space programme, down from €14.2bn.

The €1.1tn total is close to what the Commission initially proposed back in May 2018. That proposal was rejected by leaders of EU member states, who will also negotiate on the new proposal.

Reacting to the proposal, European Council president Charles Michel, who will have to wrangle an agreement from leaders, said it would be discussed on 19 June and that “Everything should be done to reach an agreement before the summer break”.

More on this story as it develops.