There is to be no major increase in Horizon Europe funding for 2023 despite pressure from MEPs as €12.4 billion budget revealed
Policy priorities reveal that Horizon Europe funding is not at the top of the list, with EU policymakers choosing not to increase its funding for 2023. With the EU’s focus being drawn to the ongoing fallout from the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, the R&D sector may have to make do without a funding increase.
The European Parliament and member states have settled on a €12.4 billion budget for the upcoming year.
Why was horizon Europe funding facing a €663 million cut?
The final result has shown a reverse to the proposed €663 million cut, adding around €10 million in funding for energy and climate-related research, compared to the draft budget proposed by the European Commission in June.
The budget rapporteur for Parliament’s industry, research and energy committee ITRE, Christian Ehler, MEP, greeted the reversal of the “absurd cuts on Horizon” proposed by the Council of member states but was vocal in criticising the continued attacks on EU research funding.
“Their zero-sum approach to the budget is completely removed from any policy objectives the EU institutions set together – policy objectives the Council agrees to. The Green Deal will not work without investments in Horizon. Our digital transformation will not work without Horizon investments, ” Ehler said.
“Digital transformation will not work without investments in Horizon”
Ehler also noted that while there was no official cut to the budget, parliament has previously failed to stop €650 million of commitments to Horizon that were unspent over previous years, from being diverted away from research – pointing out that it “effectively represent[ed] a cut.”
Calls for a €311 million increase in Horizon Europe funding
Although campaigning for extra funds and Parliament calling for a €311 million increase, many were not surprised by the final results.
“The increases go into where everyone can agree on priorities. In that sense I would say there are no surprises,” said Thomas Estermann, director for governance, funding and public policy development at the European University Association. “On the positive side, we can say that Horizon gets a bit more money; not at the level that the Parliament wanted but still more.”
However, there is also a sense of relief among many. If the negotiators had failed to strike a deal before midnight, the Commission would’ve had to put forward a new proposal for the budget, likely pushing its adoption into the new year.
“I am relieved that it is agreed and that we avoid going back to the drawing board as that would have caused uncertainties across all activities that the EU is funding, including for European research, innovation and education,” said Mattias Björnmalm, deputy secretary general of the science and technology university association CESAER.