At the meeting on 10 September 2018, the Members discussed the interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 and Horizon Europe.
Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027
All the political groups welcomed the opinion drafted by Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland) who is rapporteur for this file. Considering that the MFF sets the limits for the annual budget of the European Union, the MEPs focused on a range of topics which they consider should be given particular attention including the energy transition and European funding for new initiatives.
That being the case, it is worth noting that Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium) recalled that the MFF is a global budget not only dedicated to energy transition and climate change. She called for a broader perspective including other important policy areas for the future of Europe and recalled that specific particular challenges as e.g. regional development. The draft opinion will be voted on during the next meeting on 9 October. The deadline for tabling amendments has been set for 13 September (noon).
Framework Programme for Research and Innovation - Horizon Europe
During the debate, Dan Nica (S&D, Romania) who is rapporteur for Horizon Europe explained that the programme should be made more simple and accessible and ensure more transparent and equitable participation. Although he believes that using the same 3-pillar structure as Horizon 2020 is a good approach, the second and third pillars - Global Challenges Pillar and Open Innovation Pillar - should be more detailed by the Commission.
The Global Challenges Pillar will be built on 5 clusters: (1) ‘health’; (2) ‘inclusive and secure society’; (3) ‘digital and industry’; (4) ‘climate, energy and mobility’; and (5) ‘food and natural resources’. The integration in clusters, each having a number of intervention areas, is designed to incentivise cross- disciplinary, cross-sectoral, cross-policy and international collaboration. Alongside the regular calls for proposals, a limited set of missions will be introduced.
The rapporteur also supports the creation of the European Innovation Council. He however pointed out the need for more detailed activities as the allocated budget is significant.
Interestingly, Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium) stressed the importance to find synergies between the different European funding mechanisms. She further stated that we should not be afraid of new challenges related to plastics, artificial intelligence, mega computers but instead tackle them to align European programmes with today’s reality. According to the MEP, today’s most important stakeholders are academia, researchers, the industry and innovators, that is the reason why the European Parliament should ensure continuity by making the programme keep up with the developments both in the lab and on the market.
The ITRE Committee is planning to vote on a final report in November/December.
On 7 June, the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the ninth Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9), which has been named “Horizon Europe” and will cover the period 2021-2027. The Framework Programme is the Union’s flagship programme to support research and innovation (R&I) from concept to market uptake. It aims to complement national and regional funding.