LibLink: George Lyon MEP – EU budget cuts must not sacrifice research and investment

Writing on Huffington Post, George Lyon, MEP for Scotland, outlines concerns that the forthcoming round of EU budget reviews does not risk future growth prospects:

The EU Parliament will be scrutinising the proposals closely in the coming weeks before deciding whether to accept or reject the deal in the beginning of March. We must be clear – there are areas of spending that help us generate growth and these need to be our priority going forwards.

One major concern is the proposed funding for the Connecting Europe Facility. This new instrument is set to invest in modern infrastructure such as high-speed broadband, cloud computing, and energy and transport networks, which are all vital in order to ensure that the EU remains competitive in the coming years. This investment will also help deepen the single market in energy and services – a longstanding objective of the UK. Finally, it will be spent on improving the efficiency of energy transmission, helping to cut energy bills for consumers.

The EU’s research and development spending is another area which provides massive benefits for the UK. In the past four years the EU has provided more than €4bn in research grants and loans to over 11,500 British scientists and innovators, more than almost any other member state. This source of funding is crucial to Britain’s most cutting edge, world beating and fastest growing sectors – such as the space industry, nanotechnology and stem cell research..

You can read the full article here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Richard Dean 11th Feb '13 - 3:46pm

    If this source of R&D funding is “crucial” to Britain’s future, isn’t it a bit peculiar that we are relying on the EU for it?

    And if it’s crucial to Britain but not to the EU, why should we expect it not to be cut?

  • I would love to see an audit of just how crucial this research is. My suspicion is that it is a budget which could be shaved like everything else.

  • I write this from Austria where I have travelled to participate in an EU research project on energy. These projects forge links at the pre-competitive R&D stage between companies from all over Europe. Sure we could do the research on a national basis, but if we only did that, we and the Germans and the Italians etc would all still be competing from separate warring industrial camps, and we would all be the losers.

    Meanwhile the Americans, for example, compete on a nationally cooperative basis, very strongly backed by their government funding. They tend to be more effective than Europe because they spend more and are better unified. Europe should do more in this field, not less.

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