The UK’s blocking of EU science programs is bad for everyone

The UK launched a formal appeal against its exclusion from the EU’s science programs in August – and called on the bloc on Monday to allow it access again.

The UK government says that taking part in Horizon Europethe EU’s flagship program — funding research, nuclear regulator Euratom, and the Copernicus Satellite Monitoring Group — was outlined in the post-Brexit trade agreement. Since then, the UK claims it has been blocked.

The UK’s exit agreement with the EU allows it to participate in Horizon Europe, as long as it also contributes to the funding of the programme.

Join AS in Valencia!

The heart of technology comes to the heart of the Mediterranean

But according to the European Commission, the UK’s status in the program will not be confirmed until the deadlock over the Northern Ireland Protocol is solved.

The protocol is a special agreement that essentially keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s internal market and customs union, to establish a hard border between Northern Ireland – which is part of the UK – and the Republic of Ireland, which is a is an EU Member State.

Politicizing international cooperation

At the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly held on Monday and Tuesday, Europe’s Minister Leo Docherty said:

“We will all benefit from the UK’s participation and it will not entail any conceivable detriment to the EU or its member states, but the EU has politicized scientific cooperation by linking it to the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

He continued: “Putting politics in the way of scientific collaboration limits human potential and harms everyone.”