The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers
PR // Tracking energy spending will be key for Horizon Europe
EUREC PRESS RELEASE
Tracking energy spending will be key for Horizon Europe
The European Commission has made a smart move in increasing the budget for climate, energy and mobility-related collaborative research. €11 billion is planned to be spent in the Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020). This will rise to €15 billion under the Horizon Europe programme (2021-2027), the European Commission proposed today.
The budget headings of Horizon Europe are broader than those of Horizon 2020. This gives the Commission greater freedom to channel money to the areas it considers important, but takes away control from the European Parliament and Council by an equal measure. As spending decisions are political choices, we will not be surprised if Parliament and Council propose amendments that divide up the budget within the Commission’s proposed “Clusters” to reflect the priority of their voters or populations. The European Parliament, for example, has already called for energy’s share of the overall Horizon Europe budget to be at least 50% greater (in relative terms) than its share in Horizon 2020. The bundling of energy with mobility and climate might not convince the European Parliament that its demand has been met even though spending on the basket is up.
It is important to track in real-time which areas within the clusters are receiving funding. The data will allow the trends in spending to be examined and debated. This is a modest request because the EC must in any case accurately and continually track energy spending for its membership of “Mission Innovation”.
The European Commission has proposed that 35% of Horizon 2020’s budget be allocated to climate-related work. This statement appears as the line “Actions under this Specific Programme are expected to contribute 35% of the overall financial envelope of the Specific Programme to climate objectives” in the Horizon Europe proposal for a Decision. This form of words and their use in Recital was used by the Commission in its proposal for Horizon 2020 in 2011. They have been interpreted as a commitment. The Commission, citing the Paris Agreement of 2015, is right to make this provision. It is indeed something that EUREC and 19 other organisations pressed for in an open letter in April.
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