PositionEuropean Institute of Innovation and Technology

The member states' research ministers met on 11 December in Brussels, and agreed on a partial general approach (while waiting for the opinion of the European Parliament and the adoption of the 2014-2020 EU budget, which earmarks 80 billion for this programme) on two important legislative aspects of the research framework programme Horizon 2020: the regulation establishing the specific Horizon 2020 implementing programme and the decision outlining the priority fields of the strategic innovation programme of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The Irish Presidency, which will take over in January 2013, will have to reach a compromise on the proposal for the Euratom research and training programme (2014-2018) complementing Horizon 2020(1).

Therefore it should be under the Irish Presidency that negotiations with the European Parliament on the package as a whole will start.

The issue of the gap, in terms of technology and scientific excellence, between new and old member states was centre-stage once again - over the specific programme to implement actions laid out as part of Horizon 2020. Several countries, led by Slovakia, stressed the importance of teaming of excellence' and of extending the already selected consortia to new partners. A move that, according to Slovenia - backed, namely, by Romania, Malta, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary - will foster the emergence of a large enough number of researchers of excellence.

The Slovenian minister for research said that to do so, financing from the Structural Funds was not sufficient. The request was turned down by big investors in research and innovation.

The British ministers said that it was feasible for Structural Funds to bring aid but that for the most part, excellence "should guide us". The British minister was backed by Denmark and Belgium.

The specific programme has four areas: scientific excellence (28 billion proposed), industrial leadership (20 billion), societal challenges (35 billion) and non-nuclear actions carried out by the European Commission's Joint Research Centres (JRCs) (a bit more than 2 billion).


The 27 ministers also defined the priority fields of the EIT's strategic innovation programme(2). They said that with this agreement the Council recognised the importance and added value of the EIT in the European landscape of research and innovation and more specifically within the Horizon 2020 programme.

The Commissioner...

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