The British government demands access to European research programmes

The British government demands access to European research programmes

The United Kingdom has initiated proceedings against its exclusion from European research programmes. This is the first time the British government has taken such a step since its exit from the European Union.

The UK wants to end “ongoing delays” in its access to research programmes. However, according to London, agreements on this matter were made in the course of negotiations on the UK-EU Free Trade Agreement in 2020. However, eighteen months later, access has not been finalized, London complains.

It is not only about getting to Horizon Europe – with a total budget of €95 billion over seven years, the largest research and innovation funding program in the world – but also about participating in the Euratom Nuclear Research Program and the Copernicus Earth Observation Program.

“It is clear that the European Union is in violation of our agreement and repeatedly attempts to politicize vital scientific cooperation by denying access to these important programmes,” Secretary of State Liz Truss said in a statement. London is now invoking a clause in the FTA to settle the dispute. It heralds a thirty-day consultation period during which both parties must search for a solution.

The Committee confirmed that it had received a letter from the Government of the United Kingdom. “The commission acknowledges receipt of the request for consultations and will act in accordance with the rules set out in the agreement,” a commission spokesman said. However, he noted that the FTA does not obligate the EU to give the UK access to these programmes.

Meanwhile, the opposition Socialist Workers’ Party is urging Truss to compete with Brussels to score points in its conservative party base. He has the final say in the duel between Truss and former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak over the succession of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

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London and Brussels have been at odds for years over compliance with agreements made to steer Britain’s exit from the European Union in the right direction. More recently, the commission has initiated several proceedings against the UK over London’s alleged violations of the agreements relating to Northern Ireland.

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