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EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas ‘cannot see’ Horizon Europe ‘without the UK’

EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas has told Science|Business he is putting his weight behind ensuring the UK takes part in the EU’s next research programme, Horizon Europe.

“I cannot see the European programme, to be frank, in the future - whatever happens to the UK - without the UK,” said Moedas. “I will fight for having the UK on board” he said, “I hope that the UK also fights for that.”

Moedas was speaking on 16 April, ahead of a major vote the next day, when the European Parliament approved a deal on Horizon Europe with EU member states. However, the rules for foreign participation were noticeably absent from the text.

“The international association point is a very delicate and important one for the future of Europe, because of the Brexit situation,” said Moedas. “The reality is that it’s probably a good thing that we keep it for last because we don’t have yet a clear view of what’s going to happen on the Brexit point.”

There is currently no telling when clarity will finally arrive, but Moedas said he isn’t worried. “It’s probably something that will become clear in the next couple of months,” he said. “I don’t foresee any major problems on those discussions on the international associations, to be frank.”

Horizon Europe’s association rules are to be discussed as part of negotiations on the EU’s overall long-term budget, which was originally supposed to be finalised in time for the next EU summit in Sibiu, Romania on 9 May – six weeks after the UK was due leave the EU on 29 March.

Currently, member states are deadlocked over the EU budget and Commission proposals to increase richer countries’ contributions, while cutting money paid to poorer member states.

In December, budget commissioner Günther Oettinger pushed the budget deadline back to October.

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