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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

28 May 2020

European umbrella organisations are partly critical of EC recovery package

In their reactions to the European Commission's (EC's) financial recovery package that was presented on 27 May 2020, various research umbrella organistaions expressed their views on the proposal.

LERU (the League of European Research Universities) called the budget proposals "good, but not good enough". LERU welcomes the MFF (Multi-Annual Financial Framework) proposal as well as "Next Generation EU", the recovery instrument for the Covid-19 crisis, calling it a "balanced package" and requesting a "swift decision" on the package by the European Council and the European Parliament (EP). LERU points out that only once the package is agreed, new programmes such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus can be adopted and can start on 1 January 2021 as planned.In particular, LERU calls for clarification of the newly proposed Horizon Europe budget figures, as of the proposed €94.4 billion for Horizon Europe, €13.5 billion comes under the “EU Next Generation” package, and the implications of this are not yet clear, LERU states. The association calls for a true "reinforcement" of Horizon Europe, as well as of the Erasmus programme.

The European University Association (EUA) states the increases in the research budget would fall short of expectations and societies’ needs. EUA backs the European Parliament in its bid to invest 120bn into the programme to start addressing the known shortcomings of the programme and the greater needs in a context of the green transition. The association acknowledges that the Commission’s proposal recognises the strategic importance of stronger investment in these areas and its will to boost the EU’s resilience. EUA therefore calls on member states to be ambitious and support long-term recovery through a higher commitment to research, innovation and education.

Another reaction came from The Guild, an association of European research-intensive universities, which urges the European Institutions to increase their commitment to research, education and innovation in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and ensure a timely start for 2021. The Guild also underlines that the aspiration of the NextGenerationEU recovery instrument to support research, innovation and education must be evidenced in the descriptions of the programmes that it covers. The Commission’s proposal of €94bn to be spent on Horizon Europe in the next seven years would be a step in the right direction compared to the Council’s latest proposal of €81bn, The Guild states. However, this figure is the same as the Commission’s original proposal of 2018, which was presented before the consequences of Europe’s underinvestment in science had been demonstrated by the current crisis, the associations concludes.

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