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Horizon 2020: serious threat to financing of EU 2014 research programmes. Christian Ehler MEP


28 May 2013


EU Priorities 2020

“I want to remind national research ministers, who are meeting tomorrow in the EU Competitiveness Council, that the timeframe to settle an agreement for the Horizon 2020 research programme is narrow. Failing to reach an agreement before summer could severely delay the start of the programme for 2014”, said Christian Ehler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman for Horizon 2020.

“We need the Council to make a move and the European Commission to remember its role as an honest broker. After weeks of negotiations, the informal inter-institutional trilogues on Horizon 2020 are deadlocked. The bone of contention between the three Institutions is the funding model of Horizon 2020, and in particular the reintroduction of a reimbursement option based on the actual costs of participating researchers. Research ministers are proposing a funding model which is 11.5% more expensive and less cost-efficient than in the last Framework Programme. This would equal an additional cut of €8 billion and mean roughly 4000 projects less. The EPP Group cannot accept this”, Ehler continued.

"I strongly believe that declaring actual costs is the way forward in the management of international research projects and a more sustainable way of financing internationally-competitive research actors in Europe. In an atmosphere where many Member States cut subsidies for publicly-funded research institutes, it is crucial to enable these actors to know and claim their full economic costs when carrying out research projects”, he added.

“For years, the EPP Group and the European Parliament have been the main advocates for the simplification of the EU research framework programmes and we intend to stay true to this role. What we want to see for Horizon 2020 is a stronger bottom-up approach with more thematic open calls, a much shorter time of 6 months for granting funds and a stronger acceptance of the beneficiaries' usual accounting practices in managing their project costs. Neither the Council nor the Commission have moved an inch towards these core demands of the Parliament”, Ehler criticised. "I am deeply concerned about the superficiality of the whole debate."


The final trilogue on Horizon 2020 will take place on 17 June.


For further information:

Christian EHLER MEP, tel.: +32 (0)2 2845325

Katarzyna Klaus, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, tel.:+32 484 138359