Austria’s first Presidency objective in the field of research were the negotiations on Horizon Europe. The Bulgarian Presidency launched the negotiations in Council in June 2018. Austria took over the Presidency on 1 July 2018 for the second half of 2018, with the ambition to make substantial progress in the negotiations by December 2018.
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, during the time of the Austrian EU Council Presidency.
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 a comprehensive strategic planning process;
“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 in Europe and to fully exploit the potential of Europe’s talent pool will be increased.
On the basis of the EC proposal, Council and EP will need to find an agreement on Horizon Europe. In order to enable a smooth start, the new programme should be finally adopted by autumn 2020 at the latest.
On 30 November 2018, the Council adopted a Partial General Approach (PGA = an agreement on the substance excluding the budget) on the Horizon Europe Regulation, including the Rules for Participation and Dissemination. The PGA was adopted with a very broad majority (one vote against, 27 in favour).