On 14 April 2015, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) voted to safeguard cuts to the Horizon 2020 budget, cuts which would fund fund the Commission’s European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI).
The European Parliament reacted angrily to proposed cuts made to the Horizon 2020 budget and attempts by President Juncker to placate their partner in the decision making process have failed.
Although both the Parliament and the Commission need to agree on the final text of the dossier, as a general rule the European Council, representing the 28 Member States, tends to have more authority on budgetary issues.
That said, the European Parliament has a good track record in standing their ground on funding for research. During the long-winded discussions on the setting up of Horizon 2020 in 2011, MEPs brought negotiations to a standstill by refusing to accede to European Council demands that the proposed budget of 80 billion euro be reduced to 56 billion euro and compromised at 79 billion.
Whether the Parliament (which is not the same Parliament as the one in 2011) can manage to pull this trick one more time remains to be seen. If these cuts do indeed go through however, cuts to Horizon 2020, which includes health research are inevitable.