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Partial Agreement | EU Council and Parliament strike a deal on Horizon research programme

Partial agreement means Commission can start work on making sure Horizon Europe begins on time in 2021.

In the early hours of the morning on 20 March, negotiators for the European Parliament and the EU Council struck a deal on Horizon Europe, the EU’s next research funding programme, improving chances that the European Commission will be able implement it on time in 2021.

The partial agreement confirms much of the programme, but not its budget or the involvement of non-EU countries, which will be tackled later. The new draft legal text, seen by Science|Business, gives Horizon Europe a new section dedicated solely to the cultural sector, confirms the themes for industry partnerships and focused research “missions,” and tweaks the European Innovation Council, the new technology commercialisation body.

If MEPs and member states vote to approve the agreement in the coming weeks, the commission can begin preparations to ensure Horizon Europe starts as soon as Horizon 2020, the current research programme, winds up at the end of next year. Besides reducing the risk of an interruption in research funding in 2021, the agreement also provides a much clearer picture of what Horizon Europe is going to look like.

Horizon Europe, the ninth R&D programme, will run from 2021 – 2027. The commission has proposed a budget of €94.1 billion for the programme, while the parliament wants €120 billion. The amount won’t be agreed until the end of 2019 at the earliest, because it depends on negotiations for the EU’s long-term financial plan.

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