MEPs adopt extra funds for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+

€100m top-up will be used for climate-related research, student mobility

Photo: EP John Howarth

The flagship EU programmes Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ received a strong boost of altogether €100m top-up to their budgets for this year. MEPs backed on Wednesday with huge majority a resolution that foresees climate-related research under Horizon 2020 to get extra €80m and student mobility initiatives to be beefed up with new €20m.

The move was decided by the European Parliament and the Council in their agreement on the 2019 EU budget last December. With this increase, the total budget for research and for student mobility in 2019 will altogether reach €15.2bn.

This draft amending budget No. 2 is somewhat different to the norm, stated minutes before the vote British S&D MEP John Howarth, rapporteur on the dossier. He added that it is also the final element of the 2019 budget settlement, negotiated last December in the second conciliation between Parliament and the Member States in Council.

“Today we complete that agreement by reinforcing two programmes which, more than any others, reflect in their outcomes the economies of scale and added value of the Union budget,” he underscored. The rapporteur stressed as well that this investment budget “reflects the truth that our collective endeavours as a Union enable us to achieve more than any Member State in or out of the Union would achieve alone”.

Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80bn of funding available for the current programme period 2014-2020, with addition to the private investment that this money are attracting while taking innovative ideas from the lab to the market.

This financial instrument is aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness, ensuring world-class science, removing barriers and making it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. The newly adopted funds will contribute to the ambitious target of devoting 35% of Horizon 2020's budget to climate-related research.The additional money for Erasmus+, the EU's programme for education, training, youth and sport in Europe, will also give support for building up European Universities, a new EU initiative and cornerstone of the European Education Area by 2025. The idea is in two years to be established 12 such universities where the students can obtain a degree by combining studies in several EU countries, contributing to the international competitiveness of European universities in the EU and beyond.

For the current programming period, Erasmus+ is providing opportunities for over four million Europeans to study, train, and gain experience abroad. Furthermore, the EU is well on the way to meeting the commitment of EC President Jean-Claude Juncker of funding Erasmus+ higher education scholarships for 35,000 African students and staff by 2020.

The Africa-Europe Alliance is equipping young people with the skills they need to build their futures and the futures of their respective continents. For this to happen the role of Erasmus+ is central.

This year over 8,000 African students and staff have been granted scholarships to come to European universities, bringing the total to over 26,000 so far. Now for the first time, students from Chad, Mauritania and Liberia are receiving scholarships. More than 4,000 Europeans, primarily academic staff, will visit African universities.


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