MEPs wants to increase research funding to €120 billion in 2021-2027

Research EU 2018

Participation of Tibor Navracsics, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, at Joint Research Centre (JRC) Scientists’ Awards ceremony. © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart .

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Industry Committee MEPs call for budgetary means to match ambitions on research, defence, space and digital Europe.

Following Parliament’s adoption of its position on the EU’s long-term budget (multiannual financial framework – MFF 2021-2027) last week, the Industry, Research and Energy committee on Wednesday set out their scope and priorities for funding important areas that will stimulate future growth such as research, defence, space and digital Europe.

MEPs underlined that they are ready to start negotiations with EU ministers at any time to reach an agreement before the European elections.

Horizon Europe – research

Complementing the plenary’s decision to better fund Europe’s future budget, the Industry Committee MEPs voted to:

  • Increase the Horizon Europe research programme budget for 2021-2027 to €120 billion in 2018 prices (instead of €83.5 billion, as proposed by Commission).
  • Increase support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by reintroducing the possibility of grants for incremental innovation, with a ring-fenced budget of €2.5 billion.
  • Introduce innovative measures, such as widening fellowships to strengthen European Research Areas, and reduce the scientific and technological divide.
  • Give priority to programmes that include women, SMEs or participants from lower-performing EU countries when deciding on two equally strong applications.

The European Defence Fund (EDF)

By supporting the Commission’s proposal to allocate €11.5 billion in 2018 prices to the European Defence Fund for 2021-2027, the committee stresses there is a need for a more ‘European’ approach, to defence. The EDF will finance cross-border collaboration in defence research and development projects, for interoperable technology and equipment in areas such as encrypted software and drone technology.

The EU Space Programme

In order to help maintain, and further enhance, the EU’s leadership in the field, Parliament wants to raise the Commission’s proposed budget to the EU Space Programme, with €621 million to €14.82 billion in 2018 prices during 2021-2027. This will also give an important boost to EU industry in the field of space.

MEPs also voted to include tackling cyber threats and supporting space diplomacy to the scope.

The Digital Europe programme

The European Parliament has welcomed the Commission’s proposal to create the first ever Digital Europe programme, and will invest €8.2 billion under the EU budget 2021-2027, to address increasing digital challenges. The funding is crucial to achieve the Digital Single Market strategy and to increase the EU’s international competitiveness. In addition to reinforcing Europe’s strategic digital capacities, it is also vital to support high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and advanced digital skills.

The following reports on MFF related files were adopted today

  • Horizon Europe (Research and Innovation),

adopted with 60 votes to 1 and 3 abstentions.

  • Specific programmes implementing Horizon Europe,

adopted with 61 votes to 1 and 1 abstentions.

  • Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2021-2025), adopted with 43 votes to 12 and 7 abstentions.
  • European Defence Fund, adopted with 35 votes to 11 and 14 abstentions.
  • Digital Europe programme for 2021-2027, adopted with 57 votes to 2 and 3 abstentions.
  • Space programme the EU Agency for the Space Programme,

adopted with 54 votes to 7 and 0 abstentions.

  • European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy,

adopted with 49 votes to 11 and 3 abstentions.

  • Nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania, adopted with 61 votes to 2 and 0 abstentions.

Next steps

The Plenary will now vote on the decision to start talks with EU ministers, which can begin, once a common position is agreed. MEPs want to make as much progress as possible before the end of this legislative term.

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