Brussels awoke to good news on the morning of 28 May. After a record-breaking 12.5 hours of discussion, the Commission, MEPs and Member states finally reached an agreement on how to best finance the Juncker Plan and its European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). The deal
, which must still be confirmed by the Council, significantly reduces the dreaded cuts to Horizon 2020 that had been originally proposed by the Commission
(see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe editions April
It was on during the eighth round of talks that the Commission finally gave in to pressure from MEPs and leading scientists, and agreed to soften the financial impact of the Juncker Plan on Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Instead of EUR 2.7 billion, “only” EUR 2.2 billion will be redeployed from these programmes into EFSI. MEPs thus managed to secure over EUR 500 million for the programmes, which will instead be taken from the Commission’s Contingency budget. The cutbacks to Horizon 2020 in particular will be reduced by about EUR 321 million, which will allow funds for the European Research Council (ERC) and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions to be ring-fenced in the future.
These concessions are seen as a victory for all those researchers, scientists and academics who have been vehemently lobbying for a scale-back on the proposed cuts, including the group of eminent scientists (among them six Nobel laureates) who European Council