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In today's Morning Brief:

Parliament votes to unlock €95.5B Horizon Europe

The Parliament voted yesterday to approve the funding of the new framework programme, after the Parliament’s research and industry committee ITRE gave its approval earlier this month, thus ending nearly three year of negotiations on the content and budget of the programme. An essential step that cannot be seen as a formality in the current times. It was actually the EP that fought hard for the budget to be raised and had the biggest impact in the final decision. In fact, many MEPs are unsatisfied as they failed to convince member states to allocate €120 billion for Horizon Europe, as last year the initial budget was slimmed-down after the decision to establish a new fund dedicated for post-pandemic recovery. Nonetheless, it is worth reminding that, even though it falls short of the €120 million proposed by the Parliament, the research programme is still the largest in the world, and has an increased budget to that of the previous framework programme. By comparison, Horizon 2020 had a budget of €76.26 billion in 2018 prices, and by taking into consideration the UK’s departure as a member state, the Commission claims the net allocation for the new research and innovation programme over seven years has increased by 30% per cent compared Horizon 2020.

The programme was already provisionally put in place by the European Commission from 1 January 2021. MEPs gave their final approval to the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe regulation on Tuesday, adding a political declaration with 677 votes to 5 and 17 abstentions. They adopted the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe specific programme with 661 votes to 5 and 33 abstentions.


EU Knowledge Valorisation Week

The Knowledge Valorisation Week will showcase excellent examples of strategies and tools to boost the uptake of research results that benefit all. It will connect policy makers and stakeholders from across Europe and nudge dialogue and knowledge sharing. Enhancing knowledge valorisation capacities and skills in the Union is crucial to accelerate the use of science-based solutions and inventions for the recovery and the twin green and digital transitions. Europe has to make research results work for society. Already in day 2 but still in time for registration. You can also check the report “Towards a policy dialogue and exchange of best practices on knowledge valorization”, published the EC recently and the official supporting document for this event.


Doubts over use of hydrogen for aviation

Two of Europe’s leading aviation companies have cast doubt on hydrogen’s ability to replace kerosene in the near future, arguing that scaling up sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) is the best option to decarbonise flying. “If we want to carry enough hydrogen in an aircraft, we have to compress it at very high pressures, or liquefy it at very low temperatures,” said Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, adding: “The consensus is that hydrogen use may be limited to short and medium range flights.” Both him and David Paddock, president of Jet Aviation, believe that SAFs will be the key to lowering aviation emissions, but say its usage is being held back by a lack of production and high cost. The EU’s upcoming ReFuelEU proposal, which is expected to set a legal requirement for a percentage of SAFs to be blended with kerosene, promises to meet the expectations of the aviation industry. Read more on this story here.


EU and China step up cooperation on biodiversity ahead of COP 15

The Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius has met Huang Runqiu, China’s Minister for Ecology and Environment at the 8th EU-China Ministerial Environment Policy Dialogue held yesterday. Both sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation on environmental issues where closer coordination between the EU and China can lead to progress at national and multilateral levels, and ways to enhance the role of public and private investments in biodiversity action, including through the principle of ‘do-no-significant harm’ to the environment. China expressed its keen interest to enhance collaboration on the control and management on new chemical substances. Follow-up activities on important areas of cooperation such as on biodiversity conservation on land forests and seas, air quality, harmful chemicals and plastic pollution are planned. More on EU-China environmental cooperation here.

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