Germany supports EU initiative to limit UK’s role in R&D

Against the European Union capitals of Germany, Germany led researchers in the UK and other non-EU countries to react against proposals to exclude from the European Union a $ 90 billion science cooperation program out of sensitive parts of the euro.

Berlin has responded to Brussels’ measures to restrict the right of scientists based in third countries to collaborate on EU-funded projects related to quantum technologies and space research, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

The ban will target researchers from countries such as the UK, Switzerland and Israel who pay to join the European Union’s research and innovation program, known as Horizon Europe.

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The committee proposed the move on the basis that it would support the Bloc’s push for greater strategic autonomy while maintaining valuable intellectual property within the European Union. But diplomats from several European Union countries said the policy raised concerns about progressive protectionism that could hamper cooperation with long-standing and credible allies.

Diplomats said half of the 27 countries in the European Union raised concerns at the meeting of the block’s investigative working group on Monday. Further discussion is scheduled for Tuesday.

German Research Minister Anja Karlicek wrote to the committee this month to warn that the planned exclusions have raised concerns not only in Germany, but also in many other countries and the research community.

“Switzerland, Israel and the UK have traditionally been important partners with excellent research institutes and leading researchers, especially in the area of ​​quantum technologies,” the minister wrote in a letter seen by the FT addressed to EU commissioners. Thierry Breton and Maria. Gabriel. “It would be very detrimental to the research and innovation capability of the European Union if these countries were not allowed to participate in the call for proposals.”

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The Danish government also issued a status paper warning that the “broad exclusion” horizon would affect Europe’s “long-term value”.

Diplomats said other countries had expressed concern in recent weeks, including the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium, as well as the Baltic states.

This dispute is one of the first examples of the goal of greater strategic autonomy to come against the political strategic constraints of the European Union as Brussels tries to put it into practice.

Horizon Europe, which runs from 2021 to 2027, is the latest iteration of the European Union’s seven-year R&D funding cycles. It has a budget of approximately EUR 95.5 billion and is the largest international research program in the world. It is one of the few EU projects the UK has applied for and has been given the right to participate under its Brexit trade deal.

The committee said that legislation establishing Horizon Europe “provides that the European Union may limit participation in select entities where the strategic assets, interests, autonomy or security of the Union are required to be protected.”

The committee said, “Any limitation shall be extraordinary, shall be kept to the minimum necessary and shall be duly justified.” “Discussions are still going on, we have no further comment.”

Disagreements arise within the committee at a time of internal controversy as to how far to go to adopt a self-determination agenda fueled by the painful experience of Donald Trump’s presidency, weaknesses in the supply chain revealed by the epidemic, and the challenge of managing China. economic boom.

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If the committee decides to maintain its position on participation in Horizon Europe, it can be overturned by opposition from majority governments, one such diplomat said diplomats gained the scale of opposition.

One diplomat said, “This vision of protectionism as strategic autonomy fulfills the European Union’s aspirations for technical leadership in the sand.”

A draft announcement, seen by a group of interested countries and seen by the FT, warned that the committee’s approach would “create distrust within the scientific community and reduce the added value of Horizon Europe for it.”

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