The deal, which still requires a final nod from parliament and member states, puts Brussels closer to implementing its gigantic €1.8 trillion budget and COVID-19 recovery package.
In all, a series of EU programmes gained an additional €15 billion. Among them, the student exchange programme Erasmus+ went up by €2.2 billion, health spending in EU4Health by €3.4 billion, and the InvestEU programme got an additional €1 billion.
“The European Parliament tripled the envelope of the health programme, secured the equivalent of an additional year of financing for Erasmus+ to support the young generation, and we ensured that research funding remains increasing in key areas, like digital, climate and health,” said Johan Van Overtveldt, a Belgian MEP who sits on the budget committee.
Of the reclaimed €15 billion, €12.5 billion is fresh funding, primarily from competition fines imposed by Brussels. The remaining money comes from reallocated funds, according to the EU Council, which represents the 27 EU governments.
Parliamentarians have been fighting to reverse cuts made to science and other investment programmes since July, when EU leaders settled on €80.9 billion (at 2018 prices) for Horizon Europe, significantly less than €94.4 billion proposed by the European Commission.
“I am really proud that we fought – all six of us as a team,” said van Overtveldt, pointing to the other budget MEPs who headed talks with the German Presidency of the Council. “You can take the term ‘fight’ literally. We had to fight for what we got.”
One of the most visible campaigners for science in the Parliament, MEP Christian Ehler, spokesman on Horizon Europe for the European Peoples’ Party, called the deal “a victory for researchers, scientists and citizens alike.”
The challenge now for negotiators will be to figure out how to divide extra funds within Horizon Europe fairly, with officials attached to public-private partnerships, the European Research Council, the new research missions, and the European Innovation Council all baying for more cash. (source: https://sciencebusiness.net/)