The committee argued that it should be limited to EU members because of its “global strategic importance”.
France, of which Commissioner Thierry Breton spearheaded the plan, was in favor of this decision.
However, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands and the Baltic states were against the commission’s proposal. Together, these countries would comfortably block any ban if voted on.
“You can’t just put the UK in the same box as Iran or China,” said an EU diplomat.
The UK negotiated associated membership of the Horizon program, which brings together businesses and universities, during last year’s Brexit talks.
Britain is one of more than a dozen non-EU fee-paying countries considering participating in the seven-year funding program, which provides grants.
Brussels pursues a policy of “strategic autonomy”, designed to strengthen the bloc’s ability to defend itself from competition from the United States and China.
News of the proposed ban shocked European universities when it broke in late March. “The European Commission’s latest proposal to exclude long-standing and trusted partner countries … is not in the interest of the European research community or of society at large,” said the Alliance of Eurotech universities at the time.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-07 16:00:08