What at this point in the 21st century is beyond any doubt is that the future of Spain and therefore of its citizens depends on the success it has when making good decisions, far beyond the diatribes that frequent our national debates. For this reason, it is to be congratulated on the successes, historic in capital letters, that the top officials of the Council of Europe reached last July. The Recovery Plan and the proposed EU Budget for the period 2021-2027they are two splendid examples, not the only ones, of how Europe has understood its leading role for the coming years. It is obvious that there are many steps to be taken so that all these projects are materialized in concrete facts – approval of the national parliaments and the European Parliament among others – but there is no one in this vast continent who has not expressed their high appreciation of the steps already given.
In parallel with this outstanding qualification, a very relevant subject is about to fail the passing mark. We are talking about the budgetary allocation of the next Horizont Europe Framework Program which, if not corrected in the coming weeks, will negatively affect its future in the 2021-2027 period. This program, which will be the continuation of the positive Horizont 2020 , should be the one that will overcome the European paradox and therefore place the science and innovation of our project in its rightful place in the global context. In the framework program about to end, Spain has achieved its best results in returns and in participation with leadership in the entire history of common action in the context of the EU.
To continue the success of the program, the Parliament, in its preparation stage, raised figures of more than 100,000 million euros and the Council in its first proposal indicated that figure as the objective to be achieved for this activity that serves as a beacon of the relevance of innovation and science in our environment.
Well, after the complex debate of the MRFF and the Next Generation EU program, the amount assigned to Horizont Europe has been cut in very relevant amounts, being at this moment a proposal that, if maintained, will not suppose any growth on the figures handled in its predecessor program.
This message, which is very incoherent with the one that the Commission continues to send to the public, which insists on the need to reinforce digitization and the sustainability of our societies, should be corrected. Given the difficulty of increasing its Budget in Europe, a maximum use should be made of the funds originating in the recovery plans that aim to create new R & D & I ventures . And this can be done in each EU country, respecting the differences that each society has, through the proposals that have to be presented to the Commission so that the finalist funds are assigned in each case.
Focusing on Spain, where entities – companies and public research centers – have learned to use European funds intelligently in recent years, a solution could be to include in their macro-projects tractors for Europe those funds that include full-cycle activities and therefore both with intense R + D + I activities. Additionally, and waiting to see the correct way to carry it out, if part of these funds are considered as a source to support the participation of private companies in the new European consortia that Horizont Europe is going to launch, we will be able to prevent our proposals from being reduced in number and amount of returns obtained.
There is not much time to be able to consider this challenge and fit the solutions into the definition frameworks that must be taken before the end of 2020. Decisions will have to be made in Spain, in the context of the new General Budgets and state plans , and in Europe in defining the proposals to be submitted for the Recovery Plan; All of them formulated quickly if we do not want a rich source of R & D & I financing for the period 2021-2027 to be reduced in the terms announced by the current figures.
Ending as it began, our attention to what happens at the EU headquarters should have a very high priority and I am afraid that Spanish companies, despite their remarkable progress made in recent years, continue to have, with honorable exceptions, a not very proactive attitude when it comes to defending the participation models that best interest the format and size of our business fabric.
More resources must be dedicated to influencing the programs to be implemented in the coming months within the European Commission and establishing close collaboration in our parts between the programs, wherever their funds come from, to continue betting on a renewed, digitized, sustainable and highly competitive industry. These lines, among others, should be activity guides for innovative Spanish companies for the coming months.