31 Aug 2017

MEP hits out at proposed Horizon 2020 budget cut

EU governments want to slash €500 million from the EU research budget next year. The cut will have detrimental effects, Parliament warns

MEP Siegfried Mureşan

MEP Siegfried Mureşan

A proposal by member states to slash next year’s research budget by almost half a billion euros will have “detrimental effects”, according to a key budget draftsman in the European Parliament.

In May the Commission proposed a budget of €160.6 billion for 2018. The Council responded in July, asking for a €1.7 billion reduction.

Under the Council’s budget proposal, research would suffer the biggest losses.  

“Despite being a widely shared priority programme and a highly successful one, Horizon 2020 is the [worst] hit,” said Romanian MEP and budget rapporteur Siegfried Mureşan in a review of the Council position published on Monday.

Other cuts proposed by the Council include €46 million from the Galileo and Egnos satellite navigation programmes, €33 million from the ITER nuclear fusion project and €20 million from the Copernicus Earth-observation programme.

Mureşan warns the cuts will put a number of ongoing research projects at risk, including the creation of new knowledge and innovation communities by the European Institute of Technology. Companies could withhold investment, “if the EU budget fails to match it,” he adds.

Cuts to nuclear research “would [also] prevent the Joint Research Centre from paying the salaries of its staff,” Mureşan said.

The Parliament must now conclude its review in time for all three institutions to reach a final agreement by November 20.

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