As Brexit looms—and with it a funding shortfall—European universities thank the European Commission for its pledges not to cut research or Erasmus+ budgets.
In preparation for Brexit, the Commission catapulted research and innovation to top priorities. Historically, it has spent most of its funding on farming subsidies.
In Brussels, Günther Oettinger, budget and human resources commissioner said that funding for Horizon 202 and Erasmus+ should not face cuts.
He said, “We want more young people, students, and academics traveling through Europe. We need more money for Erasmus and more for Horizon post-2020. These are two priorities for the future.” He added that the budget should focus on “future innovation and youth.”
Brexit has complicated negotiations over the EU’s budget for 2020-27 by leaving an estimated $15 billion to $16 billion shortfall.
Where the funding will come from is questionable. Some member states, like France, reportedly will ease up on their agricultural subsidies, to leave more left over for research and innovation. Other states may have to follow suit –or at least be willing to negotiate.
Some predict that in the battle over the European Commission’s budget, Germany will likely support more research spending, but poorer states from Central and Eastern Europe may be less supportive—in part because they rely heavily on the agricultural subsidies.
The hope? Based on that idea that Europe can contribute more to research and innovation as a whole, and not separately, the Commission wants to see negotiations go smoothly, with member states getting what they need—and want.
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