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The cash must be partly matched by the receiving nation. Although recipient countries have tended to use the money for projects such as roads, over the past couple of decades the commission has encouraged them to use it to bolster research and innovation. That was the largest research investment ever financed by structural funds in the country. And in Horizon , the commission has — for the first time — allowed structural-fund money to pay for research projects, through a scheme called the Seal of Excellence, which supports proposals that scored highly but missed out on funding.
Bottom of the list was Romania, which devoted only 4. Source: Horizon dashboard. Eligible countries include geographical neighbours, such as Norway and Switzerland, and those as far away as Israel, along with countries that have applied for EU membership, such as Turkey. Each of these countries pays in to participate on the basis of how big its economy is. But the commission wants Horizon Europe to open up eligibility to other strong science countries, such as Canada, Australia and perhaps South Korea, to join as associate partners. Far-flung nations already get a small amount of money from the EU — because researchers can involve them in multinational collaborations.
But they cannot apply for money from the ERC and they cannot be the lead coordinator of multi-country programmes. If it leaves the EU but continues to participate in its research programmes, that will only increase the proportion of prestigious grants going to non-EU members.
A New Europe
The commission has proposed a different idea: that non-EU partners pay for the exact grants they receive. This pay-as-you-go system would have successful partners adding to the ERC pot rather than taking from it. The EU does not just hand out money for research; it also passes science-related laws that often affect the rest of the world. A prime example is the REACH legislation that makes firms register safety information for chemicals they wish to market in the EU. That EU law has forced firms around the world to match European standards.
And recent data-protection laws have had wider impact because they affect all private companies that want to operate in Europe. More than one-third of the Horizon Europe budget is supposed to be committed to this effort. A new commission will be well into its stride then: the terms of office of the current 28 commissioners — one for each EU country — will end on 31 October this year.
How European scientists will spend € billion
It might also be clear by then when and how the United Kingdom will exit the union, leaving 27 member states behind. The proposed budget for Horizon Europe is currently predicated on the assumption that Brexit will happen: it would rise if Britain did not leave. Perhaps in no other member state do scientists so keenly appreciate the importance of EU science funding — as scientists in the United Kingdom have now had three years to ponder the consequences of losing it.
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Close banner Close. But there are many darker sides to the tech revolution that the EU has to confront — such as the rise of cyber warfare, surveillance techniques, the manipulation of public opinions through disinformation and the potential for censorship on social media — issues destined to become ever more significant over the coming parliamentary term. As shown in the documentary Pre-Crime , personal data is already being used in law-enforcement algorithms to weed out potential criminals, the state and its agents are already capable of monitoring the lives of its citizens in far greater detail than ever before.
Like so many other challenges faced by Europe, these issues do not respect national borders. We urgently need new rules. And trustworthy information. Will the answers emerge from new online communities in turn, like open-source fact checkers Bellingcat? With austerity measures in Greece and beyond exacerbating youth unemployment, the erosion of public services and standards of living across the board gave succour to movements beyond the traditional centre of politics. But in addition to popular upheaval, anti-austerity arguments are gaining ground amongst experts too.
Can Europe chart a new course? But the need for urgent measures to tackle global emissions has never been greater: according to the IPPC, the world has only 12 years to cut global emissions in half. A crisis that demands international cooperation, it is impossible for European countries to tackle these problems alone. Can Europe lead the world on this issue? Or will it be held back by the growing populist tide: only three of the 21 right-wing populist parties in the current European Parliament accept the scientific consensus of man-made climate change.
In the coming elections, the survival of Europe and its shared institutions could end up being tied to the survival of a habitable planet. Following the emergence of MeToo movement in , the issue of gender equality has become unavoidable: whether in the boardrooms of major corporations, on the streets of Europe, or in the European Parliament itself. Although the pursuit of gender equality has formed part of the European project since the Treaty of Rome, and six of the ten highest ranked countries for gender equality are in Europe, progress has been slow and is now in reverse gear.
Globally, the gap has widened this year for the first time since the World Economic Forum annual report on gender equality began in Beyond this troubling picture, the role of women in society, and their ability to be full participants in European democracy, will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the EU.
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