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Bumper 2021 EU budget planned to revive ailing economies

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

Proposal comes as share-buying innovation instrument is formally established

The European Commission has proposed a €166.7 billion EU budget for 2021, as well as about €211bn in grants and €133bn in loans under Next Generation EU, a pandemic recovery instrument.

The total includes €17.3bn for Horizon Europe, the 2021-27 EU R&D programme, of which €5bn would come from Next Generation EU and be channelled into areas deemed most economically important, such as health and climate-related R&D.

It also includes €2.89bn for the Erasmus+ academic mobility programme, which would all come directly from the budget.

The Commission’s pitch to the other EU institutions on 24 June came after national leaders in the European Council failed yet again to reach agreement on the 2021-27 EU budget framework at a meeting earlier this month. Finalising that seven-year framework is a prerequisite for approving the 2021 budget.

On 23 June, the Commission announced it had formally established the European Innovation Council Equity Fund, a Horizon Europe funding instrument that will buy shares in innovative companies and is slated to get about a third of the total proposed EIC budget of €10bn.

The EIC, which is currently being piloted, will be one of the major novelties in Horizon Europe and will support close-to-market ideas and rapidly growing young companies. A lack of equity investment has long been blamed for European companies’ inability to scale up to world-beating sizes.