The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets has voted against EU ministers’ plans to slash almost half a billion euros from the proposed Horizon 2020 budget in 2018.

MEPs in the committee voted on 27 September for a €65-million increase to the €11.1 billion 2018 Horizon 2020 budget proposed by the European Commission in May. That budget has come under attack from the European Council, which in July proposed cuts of €491 million. A series of budget amendments backed by the committee reversed all of the cuts proposed by the Council across the entire 2018 budget. These amounted to €1.7bn, and included losses of €46m from the Galileo and Egnos satellite navigation programmes, €33m from the Iter nuclear fusion project and €20m from the Copernicus Earth-observation programme. MEPs went further, and called for €2.3bn more in spending commitments than the Commission proposal. As well as the additional money sought for Horizon 2020, this included an extra €32m for the Erasmus+ student mobility programme. Siegfried Mureşan, the committee’s rapporteur, described the proposed amendments as “a forward-looking budget with emphasis on support for research, innovation and youth employment”. The Council’s proposed cuts “would not have enabled the EU to fulfil its duties and commitments,” the Romanian MEP said. The committee’s proposals are likely to be backed by the full Parliament, which will then negotiate a compromise with the Council ahead of a 20 November deadline.

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