On 1 July 2018, Austria took the helm of the Council of the European Union (EU) which gathers the Ministers of the Member States.
The Austrian Presidency programme – under the motto “A Europe that protects” – is built around three priority areas: (1) Security and migration; (2) Maintaining competitiveness through digitalisation, and (3) Stability in the neighbourhood.
Considering the significant impact Brexit will have on EU finances, negotiations on the post-2020 EU budget will be a focal point – in particular on the budget for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe.
The Presidency Programme also includes activities in relation to data protection and health. Further legislations are envisaged to complete the updated EU data protection regime. The Presidency also aims to establish a joint Health Technology Assessment framework and improve access to drugs as well as increase measures for health prevention.
The Council and the European Parliament have started to work on their respective positions on the Commission proposal for Horizon Europe.
The Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy is responsible for the file. Dan Nica (S&D, Romania) has been appointed rapporteur. Together with the shadow rapporteurs – Christian Ehler (EPP, Germany), Evzen Tosenovsky (ECR, Czech Republic), Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium), Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL, Cyprus), Jakop Dalunde (Greens/EFA, Sweden) and Barbara Kappel (ENF, Austria) – and the committees for opinion, Mr. Nica will develop the Parliament’s position on the Commission proposal.
The Austrian Presidency will lead the discussions in Council.
Both Council and Parliament positions will serve as a basis for the two institutions to agree on the final legal framework establishing Horizon Europe that will apply from 1 January 2021.