In September, the Council of the European Union (EU member states) formally approved its position on the EU draft budget for 2015, which has been proposed by the European Commission. The Council of the EU proposal recommends making considerable cuts to payment appropriations, notably in the areas of research and innovation, which includes the framework programme, Horizon 2020. By contrast, the European Parliament, which negotiates the EU budget with the Council and approved its position on the 2015 draft budget in late October, is proposing in its position to reverse these cuts and further invest in priority areas.
From the 28 October, three weeks of “conciliation” talks are due to take place between both institutions with the aim of agreeing a Council/Parliament deal by mid-November. EUA believes that the cuts proposed by member states are not in line with the EU’s objective to create a competitive European knowledge society or the commitments made by member states when agreeing the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. Research and education have consistently been highlighted by EU policy makers as being crucial for Europe’s future – and were prioritised as key areas for increased investment in the MFF. Therefore, EUA is deeply concerned that such cuts, if implemented, would not only affect European universities but also further jeopardise economic growth and job creation.