NEW EU RESEARCH AND INNOVATION BUDGET COULD BE SQUEEZED AS DEBATE HOTS UP

The European Commission and Parliament want to see research funds boosted to €80 billion in the next 7-year budget (2014-2020), called Horizon 2020.  Most politicians and experts agree that Europe’s economic future and jobs will increasingly come from innovation in products, services and business models, and, to support this belief, innovation has been placed at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs. However, a new survey, published in the second GE EU Innovation Barometer, indicates that although 93% of respondents believe that investing in innovation is one of the best ways to create jobs in Europe, 56% also think that the current economic crisis risks pushing innovation down the EU agenda.

Bitter arguments over budget allocation lie ahead as negotiations over the the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) enter their final phase with an agreement expected by the end of 2012. Some EP deputies believe that research should not take the lion’s share of the budget at the expense of other areas like regional policy, which tend to benefit poorer EU countries. Another argument says that since innovation covers all policy areas, any proposed budget reductions should be shared out across the board.

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