Open letter on the EU budget from 2021 to 2027

In an open letter to the European Parliament's Co-Rapporteurs on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, our President stresses that the EU budget from 2021 to 2027 may not fail to support research, education and innovation
28th August 2020
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Dear Mr Mureşan, Ms Gardiazabal Rubial and Mr Pîslaru

CESAER - the strong and united voice of universities of science and technology in Europe - fully agrees with the European Parliament (23 July press release) that the position of the European Council on the EU budget from 2021 to 2027 must be improved, and that the cuts suggested by the Council to future-oriented programmes will “undermine the foundations of a sustainable and resilient recovery”.

The position of the Council is unacceptable, especially the drastic cuts to Horizon Europe and Erasmus, the key programmes supporting European research, education and innovation.

Research, education and innovation during the coronavirus crisis have shown to be more important than ever in guiding our response to the pandemic and in tackling the global challenges that loom behind it. Equally, the importance of these programmes will only increase in our recovery if we are honest in our aspiration to build a sustainable and resilient Europe for the future.

The drastic cuts proposed by the European Council to Horizon Europe and Erasmus are therefore not only counterproductive, but outright harmful, and must be reversed.

We have previously stated our support for the European Parliament’s position to substantially reinforce the budgets for Horizon Europe and Erasmus.

We call upon the European Parliament to negotiate an EU budget from 2021 to 2027 that boosts the future of Europe by providing sufficient support for research, education and innovation through Horizon Europe and Erasmus. We stand ready to assist any and all actions needed to reverse the proposed cuts for these vital programmes.

In addition to the much-needed increase in funding for research, education and innovation at the European level, we reiterate our call to the EU institutions, member states and associated countries to commit to new percentages of gross domestic product (GDP) targets for private and for public expenditures for (i) research and innovation, and for (ii) higher education in line with the best performers in the world.

We have repeatedly pleaded for sustainable funding for the universities of the future in Europe also in our positions on the European Research Area (ERA) and on the European Education Area (EEA). We underline that the debate within the European Parliament on the Commission communications on the ERA and the EEA expected for this September will provide for an opportunity to discuss the formal inclusion of such percentages of GDP in the European Semester to monitor progress in these areas, and for EU institutions to effectuate progress towards both of these targets. We offer to work together with and support the European Parliament towards the realisation of such targets.

If Europe truly aspires to show global leadership in sustainable and resilient recovery, then action must follow words by providing strong support for research, education and innovation, especially in the form of reinforced budgets for Horizon Europe (all three pillars) and Erasmus.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Secretary General David Bohmert at if we can provide any further support and input.

Yours sincerely

Rik Van de Walle
President of CESAER
Rector of Ghent University

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