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Horizon Europe: Agreement between Council and Parliament

15. Dec 2020

On December 11, 2020, the German Council Presidency and representatives of the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on the regulation for Horizon Europe, the next EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation (2021-2027). The most recent negotiations focused in particular on the distribution of the budget among the different parts of Horizon Europe as well as rules on the association of third countries (for example, respect for human rights will be one of the criteria for association; at the same time, there should be no a priori exclusion of certain program areas or funding instruments from future association negotiations).
 
The total budget of Horizon Europe over its seven-year period will be approximately 95.5 billion euros (in current prices, i.e., including an inflation adjustment) or approximately 84.9 billion euros (in constant prices set at 2018 level - this also applies to further budget figures given below). This total budget includes additional funds of €4 billion based on a previous political agreement between Council and Parliament on the next EU financial framework (MFF) and €5 billion from Next Generation EU, a temporary recovery plan to cope with the pandemic.
 
Subject to the official adoption of the relevant legal acts, almost all Horizon Europe areas (apart from cluster 6: food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment) are expected to benefit from the above-mentioned additional funding. The budget of the first pillar (ERC, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and Research Infrastructures), for example, is to be increased by approximately 1.5 billion euros, of which 1 billion euros are foreseen for the European Research Council (ERC). The three clusters "Health," "Digital, Industry & Space," and "Climate, Energy & Mobility" as well as the European Innovation Council (EIC) will each receive an additional 1.25 billion euros (over the period 2021-2023) from the Next Generation EU share. However, relative shares of individual program parts out of the overall Horizon Europe budget have not (or only marginally) changed as a result of the distribution of these additional funds.
 
Next steps:
The preliminary agreement on Horizon Europe still needs to be confirmed by Council and Parliament. This can only happen after both institutions have agreed (in the EP planned for December 16, 2020) upon the next EU multi-annual financial framework (MFF 2021-2027). Therefore, the official adoption of Horizon Europe is not expected to take place until early 2021 (under the Portuguese Council Presidency). The publication of the first Horizon Europe work programs (2021/2022) is currently expected at the beginning of the second quarter of 2021.

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