Research should be the only EU programme spared spending cuts in the post-2020 budget period, EU Commission budget chief Günther Oettinger said on Tuesday, as Brussels looks for ways to cover the hole blown in its budget by the departure of the UK.
By the middle of next year, the Commission will publish a proposal for the EU’s trillion euro budget plans for the next financing period that begins in 2021.
“There is no guarantee that any programme will avoid cuts,” the Commissioner for budget and human resources said. “But if I had one option, it would be to avoid cuts to [research].”
Oettinger’s public support for maintaining R&D spending in Framework Programme 9 when it succeeds Horizon 2020, the current research programme, in 2021, is a boost to researchers who, like all benefactors of the EU budget, are scrambling to avert a big budget hit from Brexit.
The departure of the UK, the EU’s number two net contributor after Germany, in March 2019 will create a financing gap of around 16 percent of the EU’s overall budget, or €10 billion to €11 billion annually.
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