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Research: London and Brussels close to agreement on Horizon project

Research: London and Brussels close to agreement on Horizon project

Posted July 5, 2023 at 3:35 pmUpdated on July 5, 2023, 5:27 PM

It was one of the last things to temper the relationship between London and Brussels. The latter two would be closer to a deal to reintegrate the United Kingdom into the European Horizon Research Programme, in line with what was planned in time for Brexit.

According to the Politico website, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is scheduled to discuss a draft deal on Tuesday ahead of his meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later this week. The agreement involves a return to the European grant program with a budget of 96 billion euros, and the return to Copernicus, the EU’s Earth observation project. “Discussions continue. Therefore, we have not yet agreed to a treaty,” the British Foreign Office responded.

Tensions in Northern Ireland

When it left the European Union, the UK expressed its desire to remain in all three European partnerships. His participation comes against the backdrop of the dispute over Northern Ireland, a source of tension between London and Brussels.

Since the signing of the “Windsor Framework” on the customs regime in Northern Ireland at the end of February, relations have calmed down and it has been possible to resume negotiations on various cooperation issues. This is particularly the case in financial regulation, where a protocol has just been signed.

Debates on the Horizon plan took so long to conclude that the British asked for a review of the funding conditions approved in 2020. The reason: its universities and research centers have been weakened by two years of exclusion from European funding. . So London asked for a bigger discount than Brussels was willing to accept.

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Meanwhile, the research world panicked as the talks stalled. Many big names in British research, such as Nobel laureate Paul Nurse and Royal Society president Adrian Smith, spoke in the press urging the British government to reach an agreement. “Delaying this negotiation every month is punishing science and punishing the country,” warned Paul Nurse.