Warning over EU research budget

Negotiations on the European budget could result in cuts to Horizon 2020, the European University Association has warned

August 31, 2014

European Union

The EUA says it understands that draft budget proposals for 2015 recommend reducing payments for research and innovation. 

This is out of step with the “political rhetoric” that puts research and development at the heart of Europe’s competitiveness, the EUA said.

The council of the EU’s permanent representatives committee agreed its position on the EU commission’s draft 2015 budget in July. Negotiations between the council, EU parliament and commission on a final version of the budget are due to begin in September.

Any proposed cuts would affect the Horizon 2020 framework programme, the EUA said. Lesley Wilson, secretary general of the EUA, said: “At a time when the European commission has highlighted a sharp increase in the level of competition in the Horizon 2020 funding calls, it is crucial that cuts are not made to the proposed research and innovation budgets.”

She added: “The frequently stated political rhetoric which places emphasis on the central role of research and education in Europe’s future competitiveness must be backed up by commitment and action from the EU institutions.”

MEPs warned in July that the council had a habit of reducing funding for future programmes to pay outstanding bills rolled over from previous years. They added that there was a shortage of funds to meet commission payments due in 2014 and that research projects and the Erasmus + programme may have to wait for money.

EU funding has become an increasingly important source of income for many universities in Europe, which raises concerns about this trend, EUA said.

holly.else@tesglobal.com

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