“It has been a three-year-long process, in which we fought tooth and nail for strong investments in research, for an increase in competitiveness and for a smooth transition to green and digital”, declared Christian Ehler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on the research programme Horizon Europe and also one of Parliament's Chief Negotiators on the subject.
This afternoon, the European Parliament will debate Horizon Europe, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). Tomorrow, MEPs will cast the final vote, setting the rules for the next seven years.
"Horizon Europe is the biggest, most ambitious research programme in the world and it will be a fundamental part of Europe's economic recovery. We secured funding for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and ensured an additional €1bn investment for the European Research Council, shortly after the EU Council cut its funding”, said Ehler.
The implementation of Horizon Europe has started and the EPP Group will follow this closely to ensure that the ambition of Horizon Europe is truly delivered.
“One novelty that I believe is particularly important is that we have set up a whole new cluster for the cultural and creative industries, which is a crucial sector in European innovation”, said Ehler.
Maria da Graça Carvalho MEP, the European Parliament's negotiator of the programme of the EIT for the next seven years, noted that the EIT is one of Horizon Europe's main drivers. “It brings together the triangle of knowledge, namely higher education, and science and innovation. Over the past three years, we have pushed hard for more transparency, less bureaucracy and a better balanced geographical distribution of the initiatives, with an increased participation by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. We also managed to introduce two new knowledge and innovation communities: one on the culture and creative industries and one addressing all aspects related to water."
Andrius Kubilius MEP, who negotiated the changes to the law which establishes the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, highlighted the importance of regional development even in the area of innovation: "Excellence in innovation is strengthened through partnership and cooperation. I hope that in the future, the EIT will be able to assist Member States to develop their own innovation hubs, which would allow them to transform the structure of their economies and to speed up regional convergence", Kubilius concluded.
The European Union needs to step up its innovation game to recover from the COVID crisis and take on stiff competition from China and the US. To help researchers and innovators face these challenges, Europe needs these programmes to be fully operational as soon as possible.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 175 Members from all EU Member States