European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed transferring some €2.7 billion (about $3.4 billion) from the Horizon 2020 program into a new investment fund aiming at bolstering the European economy and job market, ScienceInsider reports. The fund is to emphasize broadband and energy networks.
Juncker says that those funds plus money from the Connecting Europe Facility, European Investment Bank, and other budget margins could yield €21 billion for this fund and attract even more money from industry and national governments, potentially reaching €315 billion within the next three years.
"I know some of you are worried about the impact on the research and infrastructure allocations. You fear that redirecting money from the Horizon 2020 and Connecting Europe budget lines will mean that money is lost," Juncker told the European Parliament. "But this is not the case. Every euro from these programs paid into the fund creates 15 euros for those very same research and infrastructure projects."
Critics, though, say Juncker is overly optimistic about the amount of funding that could be brought in from industry and national governments, and that such a new fund will focus on short-term projects that would have been funded anyway, ScienceInsider says.
"Let's stick with the Horizon 2020 budget, which we all welcomed in 2012," says the League of European Research Universities' secretary-general Kurt Deketelaere.