SNP Welcomes Greater EU Support For 'Green' Research And Innovation

30 November 2011

Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament for Scotland and Aileen McLeod MSP have today (Wednesday) welcomed a package of measures to boost research, innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

Horizon 2020 is an umbrella initiative which incorporates various programmes for investment, innovation, technology and research including the EU SMEs and Competitiveness programme. The proposals announced by the Commission indicate a greater focus on a 'green' economy, though Alyn and Aileen have expressed concern on the level of funding in general and for SMEs under the proposals.

Commenting on the Horizon 2020 proposals, Alyn said:

"I'm pleased to see Europe's role as a leader in the green economy has been recognised with these proposals; it's crucial we prioritise research and innovation towards meeting the challenges of this century, and Scotland is already paving the way. We need to ensure that Horizon 2020 effectively delivers a viable, green economic future.

"The proposals are certainly promising however the Commission must ensure there is effective stakeholder participation and improved governance, so that NGOs, SMEs and smaller research bodies can access the EU funding and support available to them. Further, the reduction in funding for SMEs is a cause for concern with a 50% reduction in funds directly earmarked for activities related to SMEs under Horizon 2020. The Commission must pay heed to those who need the funding most. 

"Scotland is punching well above its weight when it comes to world class research institutions and so this is very relevant, and these proposals will add to Scotland's role as a leader in green innovation."

Member of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Affairs committee Aileen McLeod MSP added:

“Horizon 2020 offers a huge opportunity for Scotland. Our universities and SMEs have done well from the previous FP7 package, however we can always do better.

“We’ve learnt from the past experiences are now placed to ensure that Horizon 2020 creates the opportunities necessary to allow us to continue to build on the world leading innovation which has and continues to take place in Scotland.

“The greater focus on a ‘green economy’ is something we all want to see. Scotland is already well ahead of the game in this field and hopefully, if utilised correctly, Horizon 2020 can continue to support our drive.”

The European Commission press release is available at:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/1475&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en