CESAER has published a statement welcoming the relative prioritisation of research, education and innovation in the EC’s recent proposal, but emphasises that higher budgets are needed for these fields in order for Europe to become a global leader and contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The European Commission (EC) recently published its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from 2021 to 2027, indicating that the 9th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon Europe) should have budget of €97.9 billion, and Erasmus+ €30 billion. This is significantly lower than the targets of €160 billion and €40 billion urged by CESAER respectively and by a broad coalition of university associations.
The EU remains a long way from the Lisbon target of spending 3% of its gross domestic product on research and development, and it is deeply concerning to note that national investments have been repeatedly cut leaving many member states increasingly reliant on EU funds.
In this context, we welcome the increased budget for Horizon Europe. However, if we assume inflation of 2% this would equate to a budget of €86.6 billion in 2018 prices, an increase of only 12% on Horizon 2020. This will not keep pace with the need for knowledge in Europe.
In terms of education, if the EU truly wants to assume leadership and realise more ambitious goals for the European Education Area, a higher amount for Erasmus+ is critical. A budget of €40 billion for Erasmus+ would allow shortfalls to be addressed such as low funding level for grants, over-subscription, and the need for life-long learning to adapt Europe’s workforce to the changing nature of jobs during the ongoing digital revolution.
If Europe wants to advance as a knowledge society, it is vital the programmes are given the necessary resources, without that they could be set to fail in their objectives before they have even started.
For more information and enquiries, please contact our Communication Officer Calum MacKichan.