At the informal meeting of EU research ministers in Ljubljana, Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) spoke out in favor of Switzerland’s association with the EU research framework program “Horizon Europe”. Talks about this should be started immediately, demanded Faßmann, according to a broadcast from his department. After the failed framework agreement with the EU, Switzerland can currently only participate in the EU research program to a limited extent.
Continuation of the partnership “in the interests of both sides”
Switzerland has been a strong partner for research and innovation for decades, stressed Faßmann and recalled the country’s “enormous innovation performance”. “Close research cooperation with Switzerland is obvious in the best sense of the word, and a continuation of this partnership is in the interests of both sides,” said the minister. However, Switzerland must also make a contribution for rapprochement, said Faßmann about the payment of the outstanding cohesion funds.
Agreement not yet fully negotiated
With “Horizon Europe”, the new EU research framework program with EUR 95.5 billion for the years 2021-2027 has been running since the beginning of this year. Since the association agreements with third countries for their participation in the program have not yet been fully negotiated, there are transitional solutions. With these, researchers from 18 countries – including Albania, Turkey and Great Britain – can already participate in the program until the association is concluded. Switzerland is not one of them.
At the end of June, numerous European research organizations and networks, including the Austrian Science Council, called for Switzerland to participate fully in “Horizon Europe”. Shortly after Switzerland broke the framework agreement, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) also spoke out in favor of continuing the close cooperation, stating that Switzerland was “an indispensable part of the European research landscape”.
(APA/red, Photo: APA/APA/MARTIN JUEN)