Smaller budget for Horizon 2020 in 2018?
Horizon 2020, the European Union research program, runs the risk of having a smaller budget for the coming year 2018. The Council of the European Union which represents the executive governments of the EU's member states did not accept the European Commission's budget proposal from this summer. What will this mean for the position of European research?
The European Commission wants to spend € 11.1 billion for research and innovation next year. From this initial amount, the Council wants to slash € 0.5 billion. Since the start of the program, Horizon 2020's budget has grown on average by 6.5%. If the Council proposal succeeds, the budget will grow by only 2.6% in 2018.
Each summer, the European Commission proposes a draft budget for the coming year. This year the draft budget came out on 30 May. The Council of the European Union is the first European institution to respond to it, with its own proposal coming in July. Ultimately, the third body, the European Parliament, is also expected to disclose its opinion, scheduled for October 2017. The three European institutions will therefore negotiate on the budget for 2018 and thus on the Horizon 2020 budget in the coming weeks.
In previous years, these three institutions have usually found a compromise somewhere in the middle.
However, this year, the EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas is concerned about the Council's proposal to cut almost half a billion euros out of the Horizon 2020 research programme. He sees the momentum to make an international difference in research and science. Referring to Donald Trump's statements about his intention of withdrawing the US from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, the Commissioner said that the EU can really be a leader because the other parts of the world do not want to be leaders. He also called on scientists across Europe to ask their governments to explain the Council’s proposal to cut the Horizon 2020 budget.