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Chair urges the EU and UK to accelerate Horizon Europe negotiations as no further clarity over £1.6 billion returned to the Treasury

15 March 2023

The Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, has urged the EU and the Government to accelerate negotiations on Horizon Europe association, following a letter from the Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan

In the letter, published by the Committee today, the Secretary of State does not confirm whether the £1.6 billion funding allocated to Horizon Europe association, and returned to the Treasury as part of the Supplementary Estimates, will be re-allocated to the Department at the upcoming Budget. She states, “any funding required for association in future years will be made available once there is clarity on UK association to EU programmes.”

The letter also reveals that the EU have not yet made any proposals to address the financial terms of UK association to Horizon Europe. As the UK’s association has been blocked for more than two years, the UK expects to pay a reduced fee for its participation.

Chair's comment

The Committee Chair, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, has issued the following comment in response to the Secretary of State’s letter:

“The Secretary of State is right to be concerned that we are already more than 2 years into a 7-year Horizon Europe programme. I would urge the European Commission and the Government to commence and conclude these discussions without delay, which must address what value remains accessible to the UK in the remaining years of the programme.

“It is frustrating that the Commission's intransigence in blocking the UK’s association has led to 1.6 billion pounds in subscription funding set aside for Horizon this year having to be returned to the Treasury. Some of these funds risk no longer being available for UK scientific research, underlining the need to accelerate the negotiation."

The Secretary of State was responding to a letter sent by the Chair of the Committee on 27 February.

The Government committed last March that “if the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe, the funding allocated to Horizon association will go to UK government R&D programmes, including those to support new international partnerships.”

The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, said last month that she was “happy to start immediately…work on an association agreement” following the Windsor Framework announcement.

Further information

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