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R&D ‘reinforcement’ rumoured to be part of EU budget revamp

Image: Etienne Ansotte, European Commission

‘Leaked’ document puts R&D near heart of Covid-19 recovery

The next EU R&D programme, Horizon Europe, is set to be “reinforced” as part of changes to the EU’s proposed 2021-27 budget that are intended to help the bloc recover from Covid-19, according to an apparently leaked European Commission document.

Research Professional News was provided with the document by a well-placed source, but has not been able to verify its authenticity. It is however being shared openly by some Brussels policy watchers, who are interpreting it as an early signal of Commission intentions.

“Key policies that power our growth and capacity to integrate green and digital technologies will…be strengthened,” the document says. It says the InvestEU investment programme “will become RecoverEU and will double in size”, and “Horizon and our external instruments will also be reinforced”.

The Commission has said it is working on a revised budget proposal, which outsiders expect to be published on 6 May. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) said on 4 April that the EU must “invest strategically in our future, for example for innovative research, for digital infrastructure, for clean energy, for a smart circular economy, for transport systems of the future”.

EU leaders met virtually on 23 April to discuss the budget and pandemic recovery. They had failed to reach an agreement on a first Commission budget proposal that allocated €83.5 billion in 2018 prices to Horizon Europe—an increase on the roughly €77bn budget of the current programme Horizon 2020 but far short of the €120bn sought by the European Parliament and research organisations.

This article also appeared in Research Europe