EEA EFTA Comments on Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe programme for 2021-2027

Published 31-10-2018
On 31 October 2018, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway submitted two joint EEA EFTA Comments. The Comments, concerning Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe programme, both for the period 2021-2027 were addressed to the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Horizon Europe is the European Union’s framework programme for research and innovation. In their Comment, the EEA EFTA States welcome the Commission’s proposal and appreciate that it makes specific reference to the EEA Agreement, underlining the principle that the EEA EFTA States are provided with the same rights and obligations as those applicable to EU Member States.

However, the EEA EFTA States also note that in order to provide equal access to the programme and ensure the same rights and obligations to partner institutions, organisations and nationals, as well as the same rights and obligations regarding evaluation of results, it is necessary to emphasise the legal basis of their participation and association.

The Digital Europe programme is a new instrument of the European Union which intends to address important digital challenges, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and advanced digital skills. According to the EU the programme will “focus on deployment, to bridge the gap between research & innovation and infrastructure investment”.

In their Comment, the EEA EFTA States welcome the Commission’s proposal for a regulation establishing the Digital Europe programme and believe that it will play an important role in responding to the challenge of digital transformation in Europe. However, the Comment also raises the concern that provisions in the Commission proposal may be interpreted to impose restrictions on the EEA EFTA States’ participation in part of the programme. Hence, the Comment also includes proposals to specific amendments which provide for more legal clarity on the EEA EFTA States’ participation.

The full EEA EFTA Comment on Horizon Europe is available here.

The full EEA EFTA Comment on the Digital Europe programme is available here.

A full list of EEA EFTA Comments is available here.

 

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Legal Notes on the EEA Agreement