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On 10 December, the European Council and the European Parliament reached a long-awaited political agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) (2021-2027) and the NextGenerationEU initiative. This agreement was necessary to approve the overall financial envelopes of Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe and to make sure that the new programmes can start in January 2021.
In parallel, the EU co-legislators completed trialogue negotiations for Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe, pending the final approval of the legal texts by the European Parliament and the Council.
With a dedicated budget of more than EUR 26 billion, made up of EUR 24.5 billion in current prices and an additional top-up of EUR 1.7 billion in 2018 prices, Erasmus+ will promote new objectives for inclusion, innovation, digitalisation and sustainability. Higher education is expected to get 34.6% of the programme’s budget equal to at least EUR 7 billion as there is a possibility of annual budget increases from the flexibility margins. The sector will also receive an additional amount for some activities, including the European Universities Initiative. However, it will be defined at a Work Programme level to ensure flexibility in the use of funds. Expected for publication in spring 2021, the final regulation for Erasmus+ will include a “retroactive clause” to cover any activities starting on 1 January 2021.
The provisional agreement on Horizon Europe, which will benefit from EUR 95.5 billion (in current prices), specifies the internal break-down of the programme’s overall budget and the distribution of funds under Next Generation EU; synergies with other EU programmes, and the principles for international cooperation and association of third countries to the programme.