Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for the period 2021-2025 complementing Horizon Europe – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation - Related Opinions
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This proposal is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) outlined in the European Commission’s Communication ‘A modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends – The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027’. On 14 June 2018 the European Commission presented the budget for the external action of the European Union, which includes and the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the European Instrument for Nuclear Safety.
Europeans need more (and better) Europe. The powers and financial resources currently allocated to the EU have been increasingly misaligned with the concerns and expectations of Europeans. The EESC, in accordance with the European Parliament's position, therefore proposes that the expenditure and revenue figure reach 1.3% of GNI. The proposed level of commitments of 1.11% of the EU's GNI is too modest to credibly deliver on the political agenda of the EU.
The EESC recognises the high European added value of the programmes where the MFF 2021-2027 concentrates the main increases in expenditure. However, the Committee questions the fact that these increases are made at the cost of strong cuts in cohesion policy (-10%) and the Common Agricultural Policy – CAP (-15%).
In order to continue the funding of nuclear research and training it is necessary to adopt a new regulation to prolong all research activities carried out under Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1314/2013. The Euratom programme proposal for 2019-2020 continues to complement the Horizon 2020 programme.
In accordance with Article 7 of the Euratom Treaty, the current (2014-2018) Euratom programme is bound by a five-year timeframe. The present proposal intends to ensure the seamless continuation of the programme in 2019-2020. This approach will ensure greater coherence with the Horizon 2020 timeline. This is all the more important in view of the fact that the Euratom programmes and Horizon 2020 pursue mutually reinforcing objectives.
While welcoming the existence of the Horizon 2020 program, the EESC is worried that funding for research into Societal Challenges has been significantly reduced. Moreover, the EESC is exceedingly concerned about the large disparities between Member States in terms of national funding for research and innovation.
The PINC (the nuclear illustrative programme) does not offer a clear and comprehensive approach to how the complex future of nuclear power in the European energy mix can be strategically addressed. The Committee urges the Commission to propose a clear analytical process and methodology which can offer a consistent, voluntary framework for national decision-making about the role – if any – of nuclear power in the energy mix. The EESC is therefore calling for revisions and additions to the draft communication, covering aspects of competitiveness of nuclear power, security of supply, climate change and carbon targets, public acceptability, transparency and effective national dialogue.
The Committee would also like to see further references being made to extensive work on off-site and cross-border preparation for emergencies. The implications of the Brexit vote and a road map illustrating nuclear fusion progress should also be covered by the Commission document.
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