European Parliament halts research cuts - HRK President: It's time for the German government to act

22. October 2014

The European Parliament today voted its position in the dispute surrounding the 2015 EU budget proposal. While the heads of government, led by Germany, had called for an unilateral reduction of €1 billion in the research budget, the European Parliament wants to see more investment in this area. Instead of cuts, the Parliament demands an increase of the budget by €190.5 million for small and medium-sized enterprises, research and education, including €24 million for the Erasmus programme.

The European Council and the European Parliament should agree by November on a joint EU budget proposal for 2015 through a process of negotiation.

HRK President Horst Hippler said: "Today the European Parliament is sending out the right signal. The efforts by the European Council to make cuts in research and education are a step in the wrong direction. A forward-looking Europe that wants to overcome the ongoing economic crisis needs investment in these very areas. They contribute to economic growth and create jobs through innovation.

It's now time for the German government to rethink its role in the negotiations. Until now it has promoted the cuts, as shown by a  declaration in the Council position. But it cannot be in German interests to slash EU funding for business development and research by 10% while agricultural subsidies, for example, remain virtually unchanged with a reduction of just 0.1%. The German government should at the contrary ensure that political declarations of intent for a Europe of intelligent, sustainable and integrative growth do not remain empty words but receive the necessary resources to become a reality."

Other statements on this issue:
In a press statement on 8 August, the HRK criticised the European Council's unilateral research cuts in the 2015 EU budget proposal. If promised payments did not materialise, as a consequence it is possible that universities and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would have to wait months for the money to which they are entitled and whole lines of funding might be frozen in the mid-term.

In a press release on 28 August, the European University Association (EUA) expressed the view that the actual funding in the various policy areas was incompatible with the European Council's policy objectives and guidelines.

In a press release on 12 September the minister of science and research for Baden-Württemberg, Theresia Bauer, also criticised the significant cuts in EU spending on research and development and expressed the hope that the upcoming negotiations would produce improvements.