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Europe Needs More Flexible and Effective Innovation Policy

January 17, 2013

The following is a guest post by Edit Herczog, Member of the European Parliament, for the GE for CEE blog.

At the Horizon 2020: The parliament speaks event organized by the Science Business Network in Brussels I stressed that in the framework of the European science policy there will be a need for greater flexibility, risk sharing and a more effective financial model. On this webcasted live interactive forum I stressed that according to the updated budget figures it seems that the European Council does not see what Europe needs, does not hear what people want, and does not say exactly what their plans are.

The event was created for the purpose of a brief discussion about the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation called Horizon 2020 among MEPs and the audience (participants and online viewers). Questions were raised from audience and from Twitter. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. Regarding the European Commission’s proposal, running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of €80 billion, the EU’s new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

With that €80 billion Europe would be able to keep its leading role and compete with emerging economies. I said that the best results could be achieved with €80+ billion, which addition means funds for large infrastructure projects such as ITER, GMES and GALILEO. The Council’s final proposal for the R&D budget in the next financial framework was €40–billion excluding the mentioned projects), where the minus indicates possible further cuts. I expressed my concerns that further reductions rather than further extensions in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation that may lead to long-term slowdown in European economic growth. I am sure that the European Parliament will push for more Europe, for more growth and jobs, therefore innovation.

The European policy decision makers should keep in mind that there will be significant growth in Europe and the number of jobs can be increased only in if R&D activities and the first production would be realized in Europe, not by bringing back products from the far East to the market of 500 million Europeans, that was previously developed with European support.

Today, one of the most important debates is about the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Program (MFF). In the last year many discussions and interinstitutional negotiations were held, but nothing has been agreed on yet. The MFF is a financial framework to deliver all EU policies, therefore it is critical to get it right, otherwise policies without financial means can not deliver, and empty promises will further reduce the citizen’s confidence in the European project. Being a rapporteur inside the European Parliament for one of the most critical chapter called  heading 1.A  chapter for competitiveness, including Research and Innovation programmes, SME programmes and for Networks Infrastructure development, I push for more Europe, for more growth and jobs, therefore for more for European added value.

Read the rest of the GE for CEE post here.