Horizon Europe: Foreign Affairs Commission calls for negotiations
The National Council's Committee for Science, Education and Culture (SECC) wants the Federal Council to launch a comprehensive research and innovation programme to attract the world's best researchers and start-ups to move to Switzerland. The programme should promote excellent researchers, enable investment in start-ups and SMEs, and include additional career development measures for doctoral students and postdocs.
The SECC passed this procedural request by 24 votes to 0, i.e. without a dissenting vote. The Federal Council, on the other hand, considers that the proposals of the intervention have already been fulfilled and rejects the motion. The National Council will debate the motion on 9 June.
Specific agreement for association with Horizon Europe
The Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) of the National Council wants to instruct the Federal Council to conduct negotiations with the European Union (EU) for Switzerland's immediate association with Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. This should take place within the framework of a specific agreement. In the case of an association, the one-off increase in Switzerland's cohesion contribution should also be regulated, as well as the principles for future negotiations on relations with the EU.
The FAC's decision was extremely tight. It decided by 13 votes to 12 to submit the corresponding motion. Here, too, the Federal Council proposes that the motion be rejected. The National Council will discuss the FAC-N motion on 13 June.
The summer session runs from 30 May to 17 June.
Horizon Europe: Transitional and substitute measures of the Federal Council
On 4 May 2022, the Federal Council adopted various measures to mitigate the negative effects of non-association with Horizon Europe. It allocated CHF 1.2 billion for 2021 and 2022. The ETH Board welcomes these measures, especially the supplementary measures totaling CHF 25 million. However, in order for Switzerland to remain at the forefront internationally, additional investments are also needed in digitalisation (e.g. AI and cybersecurity) and space research, as well as instruments to attract the best researchers.