Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, has “guaranteed” research and innovation would face no cuts in its next budget after the current seven-year period ends in 2020.

Oettinger said at the 9th European Innovation Summit the European Commission was preparing the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) by May and wanted to add more “money on top” of the existing budget, called Horizon 2020. 

Horizon 2020, which is the eighth framework programme for research and innovation lasting from 2014 to 2020, and other programmes provide a global estimated budget of more than €120bn in European Union funds.

Oettinger gave the guarantee despite the “Brexit gap and new responsibilities” facing the next budget round. He was referring to the UK’s planned departure from the EU in 2019 and dealing with immigration and security challenges.

With research and innovation effectively ringfenced, Oettinger said the EC would “have to cut” effectively elsewhere.

However, he also said there would have to be more efficiency in research and innovation to increase the number of startups that can scale up and rival US peers through the development of a “one-stop shop” proposed in the European Innovation Council to allocate €2.7bn under the existing Horizon 2020 budget. 

Oettinger also called on greater “alignment between EU and national policies and priorities” to maximise the budget’s effectiveness.