Horizon Europe’s most recent developments: Swiss associate status at stake and a transatlantic partnership

No EU-Switzerland deal for Horizon Europe?

On 26 May 2021, the Federal Council of Switzerland decided to terminate the negotiations of the EU-Swiss Institutional Framework Agreement, hence freezing bilateral cooperation between the EU and Switzerland. Chairman Roger Nordmann referred to this day as “Black Wednesday” and the European Commission “regrets this decision, given the progress that has been made over the last years”. 

As a consequence, Swiss researchers might not be eligible to apply for Horizon Europe projects as Switzerland faces potential exclusion from Horizon Europe. Discussions are still ongoing concerning the associate status for Switzerland to join Horizon Europe, despite the fact that it was already an associated country under H2020.   

On 17 May, Swiss Universities expressed their concern in a statement. As they stated, such a political decision may affect the subsidy process and the Swiss access to the Horizon Europe associate status.  

Transatlantic partnership between the EU and the private sector

In the meantime, Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst programme partners up with the European Commission and sets up a €820 million to €1 billion fundraising objective to be invested in the clean energy sector. 

This new partnership will result in a demonstration project – for which half of the financing will be covered by both Horizon Europe and the Innovation Fund – aiming at setting an example and encouraging private investment (from the private sector) in sustainable energy technologies such as green hydrogen or optimised energy storage. 

It is expected to generate a much-needed boost in green investment over the five upcoming years and help the EU reach its Green Deal’ decarbonisation 2030 deadline.

Learn more about the new (transatlantic) partnership here. 

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