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In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic and social consequences it might bring, the European Commission has put in place a proposition for a major recovery plan for Europe. The objective is to help protect and create jobs as well as “kick-start the European recovery”.
The EUR 750 billion recovery fund also includes an “upgrade” to Horizon Europe programme which will get an extra EUR 13.5 billion, with an overall seven-year budget of EUR 94.4 billion currently on the table. However, some member states (Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden) are still not fully accepting the proposed budget of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, which entails further negotiations.
But even putting aside what negotiations will bring, the Recovery Plan has already suffered criticism by university representatives who consider that it adds little to the bloc’s science budget and thus the long-term need for research for future pandemics.
And while university bodies welcome the new funding, some believe it is not enough : “Our inability to overcome the pandemic quickly has shown that we have significantly underinvested in fundamental, frontier-led science,” responded the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. “Continuing this trend would be a major mistake.”
AitEuropa, L’unione e l’europarlamento al servizio dei cittadini (in italian) mentions that cuts to Erasmus programme for example “does not speak to young people.” A petition addressed to the European institutions to prevent cuts to the three EU mobility programs in 2021-2027 was also issued.
The plan also received criticism from Erasmus Student Network (ESN), believing it might not be enough to allow Erasmus programme to become inclusive and sustainable.
Finally, since negotiations are still to take place, upcoming Erasmus and Horizon programmes could end up with budgetary allocations smaller than initially proposed by the European Commission.
The proposal has only been discussed on 19 June by EU leaders through video conference. European Council President Charles Michel will hold the summit of EU leaders on 17 and 18 July.
Detailed information on the Recovery plan is available in pdf format here.