The future of the Horizon Europe Program after the outcome of the European elections

The recent results of the elections to elect the new European Parliament, with the center-right and the center-left having lost the parliamentary majority for the first time ever, have immediately triggered a series of hypotheses and considerations on European funds destined for to research and development, taking into account the victory – in several cases – of nationalist and Eurosceptic teams (primarily in Italy and France).

The debate concerns above all the Horizon Europe Program, that is the future of the current Horizon 2020, for which we hope for an increase in funds compared to the previous programming, with a more punctual reallocation in favor of climate change. This is what the representatives of the “Green” parties, promoters of themes such as biodiversity and the sustainability of agriculture, would like to have achieved good results in the recent elections. However, it is assumed a firm opposition from the right wing parliamentary groups, because for some of them climate change is a lie. The two teams will almost certainly clash with the role of the social and human sciences.

A prolonged period of uncertainty is expected, which is exactly what the European Commission and supporters of Horizon Europe want to avoid, defining all the legislative aspects of the same by the end of next year. The general guidelines of the Program were signed in April, but no agreement on financial allocation has yet been reached. Right-wing parliamentary groups could try to divert the budget from research to issues like immigration control. Furthermore, the willingness to open participation in the Program to non-EU countries such as Canada and Japan could be blocked by the “Fortress Europe” approach of right-wing groups.

The coming weeks will be crucial to clarifying the future of science and technology in Europe, while taking into account that leading lawmakers of the EU R&D program have managed to keep their seat in Parliament.

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