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In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

Ukraine joins Horizon Europe and Euratom Research and Training Programme

The association of Ukraine to Horizon Europe and the Euratom Research and Training Programme was finalised. This cooperation in science, research, and innovation further strengthens the alliance between the EU and Ukraine to deliver on common priorities, such as the twin and digital transition.

This will support the ‘Global Approach to Research and Innovation’ and reconfirm Europe’s commitment to a level of global openness needed to drive excellence, pool resources for faster scientific progress and develop vibrant innovation ecosystems.

Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth stated that Ukranian participants will receive more than €45 million in EU support and showed innovation leadership and excellence across fields such as researchers’ mobility, transport and energy.

For more information about this new development click here.

Foresight study sets out possible scenarios for research and innovation policies in the Western Balkans by 2035

The European Commission has published the study “Strategic Foresight in the Western Balkans: Recovery on the Horizon“. Outlining three scenarios on the possible futures of Research and Innovation policies in the Western Balkans region in 2035. Making use of this strategic foresight will yield benefits for research and innovation eco-systems.

According to Mariya Gabriel, this agenda will advance the most desirable shared future in this region.

The study’s scenarios are rooted in an extensive co-creation process with more than 700 experts on R&I from the Western Balkans, who represent academia, civil society, the private sector, international organisations, central and subnational governments. The scenarios help to envision different futures and highlight possible actions that can be taken today in the Western Balkans to work towards a more sustainable future.

The study concludes with initial roadmaps tailored for each of the Western Balkan nations that can inspire decision-makers with goals and actions needed to further develop their R&I systems.

To learn more, click here.

Germany’s likely coalition’s plans for digitalisation

Germany’s Social Democrats, the FDP and the Greens have pointed to digitalisation as one of the top priorities in a preliminary coalition agreement.

The three parties identified digitalisation and climate change as the biggest challenge to be addressed in the coming legislative period. According to the preliminary agreement, the future coalition wants to set the course for a decade of digital and social renewal.

This aims to make the 2020s a decade characterised by forward-looking investments, including the existing investment deficits in digitalisation. Rather than financing it through tax increases or new debt, the trio believes it will strengthen the economy’s competitiveness and simplify and digitalise planning and administrative procedures.

To learn more about it click here

EU aims to dethrone Asia as world’s battery powerhouse

New EU legislation seeks to make European batteries the greenest in the world by setting carbon emissions limits on production, obliging manufacturers to use recycled content, and imposing checks to prevent labour abuses in the battery supply chain.

According to EU estimates, the global demand for batteries is set to increase 14-fold by 2030, with the EU expected to account for 17% of that demand. This leads EU leaders to believe Europe can stake its place in the global battery market by making European batteries synonymous with sustainability.

Stefano Soro, official at the EC’s internal market directorate said the EU would essentially set global standards, calling the EU “an avoidable market for all those who want to do business”, a reference to the bloc’s position as the world’s largest market.

The European Union’s alliances are a crucial part of Brussels’ efforts to wean the continent off Asian-made batteries in favour of home-produced cells. Indeed, Vice President Šefčovič has already set a goal of meeting domestic battery demand solely from EU producers by 2025.

To learn more about this initiative, click here.

Brussels relaunches EU fiscal reform, aiming to boost green investments

Yesterday, the European Commission took another step towards reforming the EU’s fiscal rules, presenting a relaunch on the EU’s economic governance review in Brussels.

This review is seen as crucial as the EU’s economic governance determines the fiscal leeway of EU member states when making decisions on spending.

The commission originally launched this review at the beginning of 2020, but was soon suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A general escape clause was activated and the rules were suspended until next year, allowing EU governments full discretion to support struggling business and households.

Now, as the pandemic recedes, the EU’s fiscal review aims to incorporate the lessons learned from the pandemic. For example, one of the questions in the Commission’s consultation addresses the lessons learnt from the EU’s recovery and resilience fund.

To learn more about this relaunch, click here.

Europe’s alternative fuels infrastructure getting a boost from new support

Yesterday the European Investment Bank and the European Commission signed an agreement that will make it possible to combine EU grants and long term EIB financing for alternative fuels infrastructure projects. This agreements comes under the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (AFIF) and is part of the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) transport programme.

This will make over €1.5 billion in EU grants available by the end of 2023 for alternative fuels infrastructure, including electric fast-charging and hydrogen refuelling stations on the TEN-T road network. In addition to the EIB, other private and public banks can also benefit from the facility.

AFIF is a new addition to a range of financial support options, bringing together funds from the EU budget, institutional investors, and private lenders to achieve a higher impact.

A call for proposals was published on the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) just last month.

The AFIF will be implemented through a rolling call until 2023, with five cut-off dates for submitting proposals. CINEA is managing the promotion and evaluation of the call.

The European Commission will manage the grant component directly and exclusively. The EIB will not be involved in the Commission’s management or decision-making processes.

These proposals will be evaluated by the Commission/CINEA. Applicants will receive the evaluation results no later than six months after the submission deadline, and grant agreements will be signed within nine months.

More information on EIB financing can be found here.

Scientists call for improved research capacities of African universities to address global threats to biodiversity

Over 200 scientists are calling to strengthen the African research capacities in environmental sciences, voicing their support for the joint initiative of The Guild and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

The signatories of this statement emphasise the need to build strong and independent universities through research and higher education capacity across the continent. They also endorse the five priority areas for investment proposed in the initiative and call to include biodiversity among the focus areas.

This call from the research community generates new momentum to the common voice of Europe’s universities to strengthen Africa’s capacity for science through a long-term, holistic approach.

To read the joint statement click here.

European Council adopts conclusions on exploring the potential of a joint cyber unit

Today the Council adopted conclusions inviting the EU and member states to further develop the EU cybersecurity crisis management framework, including exploring the potential of a joint cyber unit.

In its conclusions, the Council emphasises the need to consolidate existing networks and to establish a mapping of possible information sharing gaps and needs within and across cyber communities.

This should subsequently lead to an agreement on possible primary objectives and priorities of a potential joint cyber unit. It is an incremental, transparent, and inclusive process which is essential to enhance trust.

The Council calls for further reflection on individual elements of the recommendation of the joint cyber unit, including regarding the ideas of EU cybersecurity rapid reaction teams and an EU cybersecurity incident and crisis response plan.

To learn more about this, click here.

SET Plan Conference: Research and innovation to deliver a just and sustainable energy transition

The 15th Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) conference will be a hybrid event. It aims to bring together high-level speakers, policymakers, industry, researchers, academia, and the general public to focus on important energy-related topics in the new post-COVID-19 policy realities.

The agenda will be organised around four different content sets:

– energy to enable the transition

– energy for sustainable and inclusive society

– energy for smart industrial growth

– the future of the SET Plan.

Click here for the event page and registration.

Commission collects views on making liability rules fit for the digital age, Artificial Intelligence and circular economy

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the rules on compensation for damage caused by defective products. A specific focus will be on the use of Artificial Intelligence in products and services.

The public consultation covers questions such as which economic operators should be liable for harm, the upgrade and refurbishment of products and components, something that is becoming more and more important in our transition to a circular economy.

The non-harmonised national liability rules include various differing ones, which cover different types of damage and claims against any liable person. This consultation is open for twelve weeks and will run until 10 January.

Click here to find out more.

More Articles

03/12/2021: ICoWEFS 2022, European Business and Nature Summit 2021, Germany’s new government and R&I, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– International Conference on Water, Energy, Food and Sustainability (ICoWEFS 2022);
– European Business and Nature Summit 2021;
– Research to be part of EU rival to China’s Belt and Road initiative;
– European Commission welcomes political agreement on the 8th Environment Action Programme;
– What Germany’s new government means for R&I;
– Data Governance: Deal on new rules to boost data sharing across the EU;
– UK-EU row may leave Copernicus €750M short.

Read More »