Since the negotiations on the European Union’s long-range budget are proving so troublesome, the proposed budget for Erasmus grants and the Horizon Europe research programme may not be able to be realised.
However, if Brussels receives less money, it will not be able to award as much money, either. One of the things that may suffer is the planned increase in the budget for the Erasmus programme. Under the European Commission’s proposals, the budget would be doubled, from €15 to 30 billion for the 2021-2027 period. This would allow 12 million students and scholars (three times as many as in the last seven years) to study abroad.
And actually, the budget should be even further increased, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said last summer when she applied with the European Parliament for her position. It should be raised from €15 to 45 billion. For its part, the European Parliament is in favour of tripling the budget, as well. However, this target seems unlikely to be achieved now that five heads of government have dug in their heels. There are those who fear that the budget will not even be doubled. So the European Parliament has now broken off the negotiations on Erasmus+.
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The Horizon Europe budget is the subject of considerable debate, as well. Among other things, this research programme is the source of the European Research Council’s research grants, from which many Dutch academics have benefitted. The European Parliament would like to receive 120 billion from the member states over the next seven years. The European Commission has proposed 94 billion, and it is feared that the actual budget will be 75 billion at most – comparable to the current budget.
Initiative for Science, an independent European science platform, has posted an online petition to emphasise the importance of Horizon Europe and to call on heads of government to allocate more ambitious budgets. The leaders will meet again on 20 February.