Published: Tue, 16 December 2014
Sean Kelly MEP has welcomed plans by the European Parliament to secure an additional €45 million for the EU’s research and development programme Horizon 2020 and €16 million more for the student exchange scheme Erasmus+.
“Horizon 2020 – the EU’s science and research programme is already underway valued at €79 billion over the next seven years. It aims to strengthen Europe’s technology, scientific and innovative base across all sectors, notably energy, healthcare, climate, security, food, transport and social cohesion. It has a vital role to play in spurring on technological innovation so I warmly welcome the deal achieved by Parliamentary negotiators in securing the additional €45 million under the EU Budget, which will be voted on by MEPs in Strasbourg this week,” Mr Kelly said in Strasbourg.
The Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament led an early campaign urging Ireland to seek at least €1 billion of the Horizon fund and organised and hosted a major conference in Brussels in March 2013 to build awareness of available funding. “A strong research and development sector is vital for Ireland’s economic recovery.”
MEPs are also to endorse a €16 million boost for the popular Erasmus+ study abroad scheme which allows third level students to study or work in another EU country as part of their education.
“The new Erasmus+ programme, which came into force in January 2014, aims to boost skills and employability, modernise education, training, and youth work. I and other MEPs campaigned and voted in favour of a budget boost for the programme increasing its value by 40 per cent to €14.7 billion, reflecting the EU’s commitment to investing in these areas. Now, the Parliament looks set to secure an extra €16 million for the scheme,” MEP Kelly explained.
The former teacher praised the Erasmus+ scheme for giving young people the chance to practice their third foreign language and experience other cultures.
“From 2012-2013, almost 4,500 Irish college students continued their studies in other European Member States or through job placements. It is hoped that a total of 50,000 Irish people will benefit from the new and improved programme by 2020.”
After difficult negotiations, a deal was reached on the €141.2 billion European Union budget for 2015 last Monday.