Science, space and digital: European Parliament approves strategy but not yet funding

Science, space and digital: European Parliament approves strategy but not yet funding

The votes were mostly positive, with more than 500 votes in favor in all three programs, and are an important step towards the approval of the main lines of digital investment strategy in space and science for the period 2021 to 2027, seen as essential for the growth of the economy. The various programs have been negotiated for several months and have already had a green light in triligo negotiations between Parliament, the Commission and the Council.

Even so, this approval is still for a partial agreement, with divergences in the budget, and has to be adopted by the Member States in the Council of the European Union.

The Europe Digital program anticipates investment in five priority sectors: high performance computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and trust, advanced digital skills and the use of technology to strengthen industrial leadership in Europe. Approved with 561 votes in favor, 39 against and 50 abstentions, the program foresees an investment of 9.2 billion euros, which was not approved in this vote.

Also the Horizon Europe research program had only a partial agreement. The rules for participation and dissemination of the Horizon 2020 program for 2021-2027 was adopted by 578 votes to 40, with 41 abstentions, while the execution program also received 590 votes in favor. Parliament intends to provide € 120 billion in 2018 (€ 135.25 billion in current prices) funding for Horizon Europe 2021-2027 in what is the most ambitious science funding program ever in the EU .

The approval of the EU 2021-2027 Space Program was also widely supported and provides for continued support for Galileo and EGNOS, the EU's global and regional satellite navigation systems, and for Copernicus, the Earth observation program of the EU. Support for the competitiveness and capacity for innovation of space industries is also covered. As in previous years, there is no green light for financing, which is not part of the partial agreement. Parliament wants 16.93 billion euros in 2018 prices for the EU's 2021-2027 Space Program.

Among the proposals voted on there is still the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the cross-border connection of transport, energy and telecommunications networks, which will be voted at the end of the day.

It is now for the Council to agree on the allocation of budgets for the various projects, and after that Parliament will negotiate the missing issues with the Member States.

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