The commitment of the Member States is to spend 3% of their GNP to Research and Development (2/3 by the private sector). Various EU Member States and European Countries associated in Science with EU have cut in their Research and Innovation budgets. The situation is not better at the supranational level since the EU Research budget for the period 2014-2020 has been reduced with 30% compared to initial expectations, passing from an initial 100 billion EUR as requested by the EU Parliament to a mere 70 billion EUR, i.e. less than 7% of the total EU Budget and 0,07% of the total GNP of the 28 Member States.
The reduction of EU-spending on research and innovation is all the more regrettable, as EU investments in this fields have proven to possess a considerable European added value. A common investment strategy on the EU level will be much more effective than efforts made by individual member states.
Only the trans-national investments by the EU will allow us to develop a European network of research and innovation which combines the strengths of each member states and fosters our common capacity of innovation.
Although the European Council committed in its conclusions of 8 February 2013 to spend more for R&D&I funds from 2014 onwards ('the funding for Horizon 2020 programmes will represent a real growth compared to 2013 level'), the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Horizon 2020 budgets will be lower than in 2013.
This situation is weakening EU's capabilities in R&D&I and delaying the necessary investments in EU's ecological transition. It is thus slowing down opportunities for future job creation in europe and is problematic for employment in this sector, particularly while facing international competition. Europe, which led the green technological progresses’ race during the last 20 years, is now challenged by China and other countries spending more in R&D. One of the core advantages at the disposal of Europe is its intrinsic capacity to innovate, its outstanding scientific know-how and its impressive network of research centres. From this perspective, and above all in times of crisis, the European Union should foster its ability to better its research and innovation capabilities, the only means to maintain its excellence in this field, generate sustainable solutions to the societal challenges it faces while re-launch economy activities and creating jobs.
Although the creation of the new European Research Council was seen as the key innovation of the last Framework Programme 7, its budget provision in the new Horizon 2020 programme has been frozen in 2014, which means a decrease in the number and range of scientific programmes which ERC can support.
Other successful research and innovation programmes suffer the same fate, such as the budget for research and innovation in SMEs, meaning reduced support for improving their resilience and job creation potential.
The European Green Party in Brussels
Knowing that research and innovation are nowadays the main factors contributing to high levels of employment and income in our countries, particularly in green economy, the fact that EU Member States - by imposing a reduced budget - have deprived EU of its main booster to restore its competitiveness while facing an unprecedented competition in R&D;
Knowing that research is a key factor for long-term economic activity and sustainable development;
Knowing that knowledge is crucial for the future of our society, a condition of technological, social, well-being and wealth progresses;
The European Green Party pleads Members States and EU Institutions to:
- Revisit their decision concerning Horizon 2020 and reaffirm the need for investments in future-oriented areas, such as research and innovation;
- Consider Research & Innovation & Development as an essential vector of the ecological transition of Europe, which is needed to develop a fundamentally progressive and efficient alternative to current socio-economic models which are unable to effectively deal with social and ecological challenges;
- Consider R&D&I as a key sector to respond to the challenges Europe is facing (climate change, poverty, aging, need for renewable energies …)
- Investments in Research and Development should be aligned with the objectives of a Green transformation of our economies and societies;
- Develop a R&D&I policy based on:
- Improving quality of life, social and environmental well-being;
- A sustainable funding, with long term perspectives;
- Independent researchers, responsible research and innovation practices, and respect of ethical principles;
- Multidisciplinary approaches to research and innovation including social, technical, economical aspects;
- Better integration and participation of civil society, citizens and end-users in the definition, conduction, evaluation of research and innovation activities;
- Reinforced cooperation between the different actors (laboratories, universities, research centers) in and between member states, and developing countries;
- Dissemination of knowledge and access to publicly funded research results through open access to scientific publications and to research data;
- Funding principles ensuring that public funding to industrial oriented research is conditioned to a return on society as a whole;
- Empowerment of small and medium sized companies to innovate.