Statement by the President on the provisional agreement on the EU budget

European research funding – an important step in the right direction

November 13, 2020

The Max Planck Society congratulates the negotiating partners of the European Parliament and the German Council Presidency on the preliminary agreement regarding the multi-year EU budget for 2021 to 2027. The Max Planck Society hopes that the subsequent stages of the negotiations will confirm the planned increase in funding for research and that funding for basic research will benefit from the proposed increase.

The compromise reached by the European heads of government in July was an impressive commitment to European solidarity. Nevertheless, this compromise was not yet a satisfactory result from the point of view of European research funding. At 75.9 billion euros based on constant 2018 prices, Horizon Europe was to grow much less than necessary. Another 5 billion euros from the “Next Generation EU” plan was specifically allocated to health research, the “Green Deal” and the digital future.

Both the European Parliament and the scientific community, including theMax Planck Society, unanimously believed that this budget increase was far from sufficient to ensure Europe’s future and international competitiveness. The tough negotiations of recent months and weeks, involving frequent intervention, have now resulted in an allocation of a further 4 billion euros for Horizon Europe. This result is encouraging in the current crisis and points in the right direction.

The Max Planck Society believes that in the negotiations on the allocation of funds under the framework programme, special attention must be paid not just to necessary short-term measures to overcome the COVID-19 crisis but also to strengthening long-term, knowledge-driven research. The success of the research framework programmes implemented to date must be continued, above all through European programmes such as the European Research Council (ERC), the opening of Europe-wide career paths, networking and cooperation between research facilities, cross-programme quality orientation and the strengthening of highly promising research regions in Europe.

TheMax Planck Society welcomes efforts to increase the Horizon Europe budget to overcome the corona pandemic. However, it is also important to maintain the future viability of Europe in general. In the current difficult times, the motto must therefore continue to be to prioritize funding for research and innovation. Knowledge is Europe’s raw material and an indispensable prerequisite for its competitive edge, growth, and jobs.The negotiating partners of the European Parliament and the German Council Presidency have recognized this.


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