EU Ministers adopt Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ programmes - important for jobs, growth and youth

04 December 2013, Last updated at, 13:55 EEST
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author: The Council of the European Union

During the research part of the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on 3 December, chaired by Lithuanian Minister Dainius Pavalkis, the EU ministers adopted two major EU 2014-2020 programmes – Horizon 2020 for research and innovation and Erasmus+ for education, training, youth and sport.

“Lithuanian Presidency is proud to have accomplished its major goals in research and education by successfully setting two new programmes Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ into motion. It is an effective and timely result of big efforts of several players and a good cooperation among them. We thank the Danish, Cypriot and Irish presidencies, as well as the European Commission and the European Parliament, that all have been working towards the common goals of open and growing Europe. These two programmes hold a great promise for European future – jobs, growth and our youth,“ said Dainius Pavalkis, Lihuanian Minister of Education and Science, chairing the Council.

According to the Minister, investing in research, education and youth means a direct investment in our European future. “It is very notable that in the new 2014–2020 financial period these areas receive special attention with increased funding,“ said Minister D. Pavalkis.

Erasmus+ is an umbrella programme covering education, training, youth and sport. In 2014-2020 it will receive more than 14,7 billion EUR. More than 4 million people will receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad. The new programme benefits from a significant increase in funding in real terms – over 40% more than the programmes which it replaces.

In the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, 70,2 billion EUR are allocated to the Horizon 2020 programme. It sets the framework for EU funding for research and innovation activities, will strengthen the European science and technology base and pave the way for growth and new jobs in Europe. Investments in this area and support to innovative products and services should lead to new business opportunities.

During the meeting, EU research ministers reached General approaches on a new generation of nine public and private partnerships, which will allow to carry out large-scale and long-term innovation activities under the umbrella of Horizon 2020. Five public-private partnerships will be conducted in the fields of bio-based industries, aeronautics, electronics, fuel cells and hydrogen, as well as innovative medicines. Four public-public partnerships will be established for the joint implementation of national research programmes in the fields of active and healthy ageing, clinical trials in African countries, metrology and research and development performing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Council reached a political agreement with a view to amending the decision establishing the European joint undertaking for ITER (called "Fusion for Energy") in order to provide a better basis for the financing of the activities of this joint undertaking for the period 2014-2020 under the Euratom Treaty. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a first-of-a-kind global collaboration project to build and operate an experimental reactor with the aim of demonstrating the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes.

The ministers of research held a political debate on ways to make public sector more innovative, high performing and more responsive. In the EU today, the public sector accounts for a very significant part of the economy, about 50% of GDP and 25% of employment.

“Given the importance of the sector and the current financial context as well as the societal challenges, it is essential to do 'more with less' and do it better. Europe is hard-pressed to modernize its public administration and foster more innovation within its public sector in order to excel, remain internationally competitive and accomplish the Europe 2020 strategy goals for its citizens,” said the Lithuanian Minister.

During the Council session devoted to space policy, which was chaired by Lithuanian Minister of Economy E. Gustas, the EU ministers agreed on General Approach on Copernicus Programme. This Regulation aims to create the system for management and financing of the European Earth Observation Programme Copernicus from 2014. The General Approach will serve as a mandate for the Council Presidency to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament on this dossier.

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