The EU knowledge programmes of tomorrow

27 juni 2018

On 26 June, Neth-ER organised the event ‘Beyond 2020: the next generation of EU knowledge programmes’: a full day with presentations and discussions about the proposals for Erasmus, Horizon Europe and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Representatives from the Dutch knowledge community, government and the EU institutions took the opportunity to discuss their views on the proposals. All proposals were generally welcomed by the audience, however, many questions are still left unanswered.


The proposal on Erasmus was well received by the attendees at the Neth-ER seminar. This became clear during the morning session. Especially the 30 billion euro budget of the programme as well as the plans for European Universities and Centres of Vocational Excellence sparked positive reactions. However, questions and concerns still remain. For instance, will the programme be inclusive enough? Is the target of tripling the amount of beneficiaries while only doubling the budget reachable? All in all, the audience gave the proposal a positive 7.6 out of 10.

To start the session, Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot, Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at DG Education and Culture and João Santos, Deputy Head of Unit at DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, presented the proposal on the new Erasmus programme for both higher education and vocational education and training. Afterwards the Dutch government and knowledge community and MEP Petra Kammerevert of the CULT committee responded to the proposal. Ms Kammerevert has mixed feelings about the proposal and emphasised that the European Parliament wants a more inclusive, simplified programme with a bigger budget than the 30 billion currently proposed.

Horizon Europe

The attendees were slightly less enthusiastic about the Horizon Europe proposal during the afternoon session, although the proposal received a satisfactory grade: 7.2. The continued focus on excellence was welcomed by the audience, as well as the continuation of the pillar structure. On the other hand, the proposed budget for Horizon Europe of 94,1 billion was not received very well. The attendees stated clearly that a budget of 120 billion euros is an absolute necessity. Also the lack of clarity around the mission-oriented policy, the strategic programming process and the participation of stakeholders were a cause for questions.

The proposal for Horizon Europe was presented by Koen de Pater and Marc Holtkamp from DG Research and Innovation. Afterwards the Dutch government and knowledge community had the chance to respond. MEP Caroline Nagtegaal, substitute for the ITRE committee, welcomed the proposal as the EU has to keep its leading position in research and innovation. She stated that the budget was not enough, however she urged we should acknowledge that other policy areas like migration and Brexit will cost a lot of money as well.


Combined with the Horizon Europe proposal, the proposal for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) was also discussed after a presentation from Katja Reppel from DG Regional and Urban Policy. The audience was pleased with the opportunities for interregional cooperation in the new ESIF proposal and graded the proposal a 6.7. The Commission also presented several potentially interesting synergies between Horizon Europe and ESIF. This included the possibility for regions to transfer ESIF money to Horizon Europe for their regions and the adjustment of the state aid rules. Nonetheless, some questions were still prevalent, like how these synergies will play out in practice and how to ensure that the Seal of Excellence will be more successful.


This event was organised in the light of the new proposals by the Commission on Erasmus, Horizon Europe and ESIF. There was a morning session on Erasmus and an afternoon session on ESIF and Horizon Europe. The aim of the event was to give the Dutch knowledge community the chance to get informed and respond to the proposals and to facilitate a discussion between the different stakeholders. The proposals will be up for discussion in the European Parliament as well as the Council in parallel with the proposal for the new multiannual financial framework.

More information

Article Neth-ER: Neth-ER seminar ‘Beyond 2020’ – register now
Article Neth-ER: Cohesiebeleid na 2020: gericht op innovatie en digitale technologieën
Article Neth-ER: Erasmus na 2020: meer mensen moeten kunnen profiteren van programma
Article Neth-ER: Horizon Europe bouwt voor top succes H2020

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