A summer break is the ideal time to catch up on some of the latest policy initiatives relevant to ICT innovators and researchers. If you don’t feel up to speed, fear not. With our independent EC expert opinion, Martel has it covered for you.

Horizon Europe and Next Generation Europe

The year 2020 was heralded as a triumphant start to a new decade. The European Commission, under the Presidency of Ursula von der Leyen since December 2019, has issued a number of important initiatives. Many readers are well aware that the funding cycle ‘Horizon 2020’ will be superseded by ‘Horizon Europe’ initially planned as a €100 billion research and innovation framework, within the upcoming Multi-Financial Framework 2021-2027.

In May 2020, the Commission put forward its proposal for an ambitious recovery plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic, called ‘Next Generation EU’. Next Generation EU increase of €750 billion as well as targeted reinforcements to the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027 will bring the total financial firepower of the EU budget to €1.82 trillion. The budget increase will be used to protect lives and livelihoods, repair the Single Market, as well as to build a lasting and prosperous recovery.

  • Read the announcement The role of Research and Innovation in Europe’s Recovery here.
  • Further reading, A New Industrial Strategy for Europe here.

The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal encompasses a wide range of actions and ambitions to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. While much of the work lies ahead, it is interesting to note that action has already started in some of the areas, including on: Clean affordable and secure energy; an Industrial Strategy for a clean and circular economy; Sustainable and smart mobility; Greening the Common Agricultural Policy / ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy; Preserving and protecting biodiversity; Towards a zero-pollution ambition for a toxic free environment; and Mainstreaming sustainability in all EU policies. The EC has positioned itself to continue to lead the international climate and biodiversity negotiations strengthening international policy framework and by working together within Europe with an European Climate Pact.

  • Read the European Green Deal Roadmap here.

The EC Circular Economy Action Plan

In March, 2020, the EC presented one of the first elements of the Green Deal, the new Circular Economy Action Plan “in order to modernise and transform our economy while protecting the environment”. Sustainability is the buzz word but this will require citizens to take part. Following a poll, one of the top environmental concerns of citizens is the growing amount of waste. The Circular Economy Action Plan proposes key actions such as ensuring that electronic equipment in the EU should last longer and be easier to repair; drive new business models to recycle textiles; phase out single-use plastics; substitute single-use packaging and introduce measures for waste prevention and reduction.

  • Read the Circular Economy Action Plan here.

The European Data Strategy

In February 2020, the EC put forward A European strategy for data with the objective to grow the European data economy and to ensure a society where citizens and organisations are empowered by data to make better decisions – both in the private and public sector. This can be fulfilled by building on a strong legal framework – in terms of data protection, fundamental rights, safety and cyber-security – and by supporting businesses of all shapes and sizes. The new European data strategy was presented at the same time as the EC’s Communication on Shaping Europe’s digital future and a White Paper on Artificial Intelligence that indicates how the Commission will support and promote the development and uptake of trustworthy, robust and responsible AI across the EU.

  • Read A European Data Strategy here.
  • Read Shaping Europe’s digital future here.
  • Read the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence here.
  • Specifically, read Annex 4 – Horizon Europe Cluster 4 Digital, Industry and Space here.