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Commissioners unanimously agree to protect research from cuts in 2021–27 budget

January 10, 2018

EU executives united on need to protect R&D and will look to increase research spending – despite loss of UK’s €12B net contribution and plan to invest €10B in new activities. The 28 EU Commissioners have unanimously agreed to spare both research and the Erasmus student exchange programme from spending cuts in the 2020s, and will explore ways to increase the R&D budget, EU budget chief Günther Oettinger said.

In the face the loss of the UK’s €12 billion per annum contribution to EU coffers after Brexit, Oettinger proposes to fill the gap with a mixture of cuts and additional contributions from EU members that are net contributors, and from new sources.

All other EU programmes will be cut and some Brussels-funded schemes will have to merge, Oettinger said. One such merger proposal, presented by Commission vice president Jyrki Katainen to colleagues during the cabinet meeting, is to create a single European fund, which would provide an overarching structure for the various EU investment schemes.

The Commission wants to find “up to €10 billion a year” additional cash after Brexit to cover the cost of new tasks including controlling migration, defence research and new climate change programmes. Combined with the loss of UK payments, this would leave the EU facing a funding gap of around €22 billion a year after 2020.

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