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Steer states away from zero-sum thinking, next commissioner told

 Image: maticulous [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

The EU’s future R&D commissioner should try to stop member states from thinking about the bloc’s next R&D programme Horizon Europe in terms of the funding they win from it, the economic think tank Bruegel has recommended.

“You will need a convincing strategy to rebuild trust in EU instruments and move national stakeholders towards taking a positive-sum perspective, away from their zero-sum perspectives,” Reinhilde Veugelers, a senior fellow at the Brussels-based think tank, said in recommendations issued to the EU’s incoming batch of leaders on 3 September.

Whichever commissioner is handed the R&D portfolio will need to switch the debate on EU funding from one of “excellence versus cohesion” to one of “excellence for cohesion”, wrote Veugelers, who is also an economist at the Belgian university KU Leuven. “This will require hard evidence of how Horizon Europe and an integrated EU area for innovation will provide benefits for member states beyond the euros that are directly allocated to them,” she suggested.

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