Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Budget negotiations: cut industry subsidies, not public interest research!

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To: Members of the European Parliament, Member States of the European Union

 

Dear Member of the European Parliament, dear Madam, dear Sir,

You are now involved in the final negotiations around the EU's budget for 2014-2020. The position reached by the European Council's February 8th meeting concludes that a significant cut in research funding is being considered. According to European Commission estimates, this would translate into a €10 billion cut in Horizon 2020, out of an original €80 billion budget1.

Civil society organisations have been denouncing Horizon 2020's excessive corporate bias since the very first Green paper published by the Commission in 20112, but big business' lobbying prevailed. As it stands, the project is divided into three pillars, with the entire second pillar - more than €20 billion – allocated to a program called “Industrial leadership”, for activities with a “business-driven agenda”3.

Past experience with similar business-driven EU Research programs shows that despite promises that the priority for these funds will be SMEs, for new research projects, they have mainly been captured by large multinational corporations, to finance research activities that were already planned4. This means that these much-needed research funds have been transformed into industry subsidies, with little added value in terms of research results and questionable legitimacy when these same companies slash their workforce while still paying out dividends and bonuses. One example is the Joint Technology Initiative “Clean Sky”, a public-private partnership between the European Commission and industry, in which €400 million of taxpayers' money is directly transferred to the largest companies participating (such as EADS, Thales, Dassault, Finmeccanica, Rolls-Royce...)5.

Dedicating even more money to a failed policy is not an acceptable use of scarce public funds. We request that the “Industrial Leadership” program is the sole recipient of budget cuts, and that more money is made available for crucial research needs in areas such as food safety, preventative health policy, fundamental public research, ecology-focussed agriculture or renewable energies. Public research funding should go to public interest projects.



Signatories

ARC 2020
ASEED Europe
BUKO Pharma-Kampagne
Corporate Europe Observatory
Committe for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN)
Earth Open Source
European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC)
European Public Services Union (EPSU)
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)
Fondation Sciences Citoyennes
Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica (FIRAB)
GMWatch
Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) EU Group
Living Knowledge Network
Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU)
Pesticides Action Europe (PAN)
Testbiotech
Wissenschaftsladen Wien - Science Shop Vienna

 
CEO submission to the European Ombudsman Consultation on the composition of Commission expert groups
Scientific advice should be transparent, objective and independent, and there should be more science and more diverse expertise available to the European Commission’s President, a coalition of 28 international and national NGOs wrote in a letter addressed to President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker today (1).
A few observations on the debate sparked by our open letter on the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission, and on the need for proper scientific advice to EU legislators.
The position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission is problematic, concentrating too much influence in one person and undermining other Commission research and assessment processes. We ask Mr Juncker, the new President of the European Commission, to scrap the position.
The new European Parliament is only weeks old and already three ex-MEPs from perhaps its most important committee have taken a spin in the revolving door to join the private sector. It's clear that the code of conduct for MEPs needs urgent reform.
CEO submission to the European Ombudsman Consultation on the composition of Commission expert groups
Scientific advice should be transparent, objective and independent, and there should be more science and more diverse expertise available to the European Commission’s President, a coalition of 28 international and national NGOs wrote in a letter addressed to President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker today (1).
A few observations on the debate sparked by our open letter on the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission, and on the need for proper scientific advice to EU legislators.

Corporate Europe Forum