Last chance to safeguard citizen’s protections by removing “Innovation Principle” from Horizon Europe

11 March 2019 – Over 70 civil society organisations have released a statement calling for the removal of the “innovation principle” from Horizon Europe, the EU’s next research programme.

Civil society rejects this so-called principle because: it has no legal basis; it is incompatible with the Precautionary Principle; it is a tool created by industry lobbyists that is only intended to block and delay important social, health and environmental regulations; it is unnecessary to support innovation for sustainability; and it ignores the fact that regulation is a driver of good innovation for society’s benefit.

Jill McArdle, EU Advocacy Officer for Global Health Advocates, said:

“Let’s be clear, the so-called innovation principle is not about innovation. It is nothing more than a tool created by corporate lobbyists to undermine our ability to regulate in the public interest and support truly sustainable and needs-driven policies. At a time when the EU is dealing with Brexit and the rise of populism, this is the last thing the EU should be promoting if it is concerned with restoring citizens’ faith in their institutions, especially heading into the EU elections.”

Background information/notes to editors:

  • In June 2018, the European Commission released its proposal for Horizon Europe, the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Both legal texts, the Regulation and the Specific Programme, included references to the application of the innovation principle within and beyond Horizon Europe.
  • In December 2018: the European Parliament approved its position on the Regulation and Specific Programme, which retained the references to the innovation principle despite a significant number of MEPs voting for their removal.
  • In November 2018: the Council of the European Union agreed its partial position on the Regulation. This position did not include the section of the legislation (the recitals), which refers to the innovation principle. As of writing we understand the innovation principle is still in the recitals.
  • In January 2019, trilogue negotiations between Council and Parliament on the Regulation formally began. The Specific Programme is not part of the trilogue and is anticipated to be agreed only by Council with no formal say of the Parliament.
  • On 14 March 2019 [TBC], it is anticipated the Council and European Parliament will close trilogue negotiations on Horizon Europe.
  • On 15-18 April 2019 [TBC], it is anticipated that the agreement on Horizon Europe will be sent to final plenary of the European Parliament for a vote.