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While the current (8th) EU RTD Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, will still continue to run until the end of 2020, discussions and preparations for the next (9th) Framework Programme have already been ongoing for more than a year. The name for the 9th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027) is "Horizon Europe". The European Commission (EC) published its proposal for “Horizon Europe” on 7 June 2018. In this section, ERA Portal Austria provides information on the discussions on, and preparation of, the next Framework Programme, both in Austria and across Europe.

Article 182 TFEU provides that the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) adopt, upon a proposal from the European Commission (EC), a multiannual Framework Programme to cover all activities of the EU in the area of Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (RTD). Since 2007, the RTD Framework Programmes have had a duration of 7 years to cover the full period of the multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the EU.

On 2 May 2018 the Commission published its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU budget for the period 2021-2027. In this proposal the Commission allocated € 97.6 billion to “Horizon Europe”, and an additional € 2.4 billion to the Euratom Research and Training Programme, resulting in a total amount of € 100 billion. These are provisional amounts, since Member States have to agree unanimously (in Council) on the MFF, and the European Parliament (EP) has to give its consent (by simple majority). Considering experience from previous MFF negotiations and of what is already known about the positions of Member States and the EP, a moderate reduction of the proposed overall amount during the negotiations is likely.

A budget close to the amount proposed by the Commission would be a sound basis for implementing Horizon Europe. The main novelties compared to the current programme Horizon 2020 are the following:

  • A new programme governance characterised by budgetary flexibility and continued strategic programming and strategic programme management;

  • “R&I Missions” which should form sub-programmes with a portfolio of R&I actions to achieve measurable results for a given impact within a set timeframe;

  • A European Innovation Council to foster breakthrough ideas and market creating innovations.

In addition efforts to decrease the innovation gap and to fully exploit the potential of Europe’s talent pool are expected to be increased.

For Austria, the preparations for Horizon Europe are of particular importance, since Austria is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU during the second half of 2018. Considering the circumstances (EP elections in May 2019, new European Commission in October/November 2019), the second semester of 2018 is expected to be a crucial phase for the Horizon Europe negotiations.

On the basis of the EC proposal, Council and EP will need to find an agreement on Horizon Europe following the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision). In order to enable a smooth start, the new programme should be finally adopted by autumn 2020 at the latest.

For information on Horizon Europe under the Austrian Council Presidency during the second half of 2018, please click here.

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