Food industry trade body FoodDrinkEurope has said a decision to cut research and innovation spending by 11% under the EU’s seven year budget proposal is likely to harm the competitiveness of the European food industry.
The trade organisation, which represents the interests of the food and beverage industry in Europe, said it welcomed the end of negotiations on the budget for 2014 to 2020, saying it brought “much needed clarity on the issue of future EU spending at a time of economic uncertainty.”
However, FoodDrinkEurope said the budget (Multiannual Financial Framework, or MFF) would have repercussions for innovation in the food industry, with an 11% proposed cut to research and innovation spending out of line with the Horizon 2020 programme.
FoodDrinkEurope president Jesús Serafín Pérez said in a statement: “Research and innovation have an important role to play as a cornerstone for growth and competitiveness for Europe’s food and drink industry – not only in the EU but also in the global economy. Research and innovation must remain top priorities as part of the EU’s jobs and growth strategy over the next seven years and beyond. A reduction in spending is not the path to take.”
The Horizon 2020 programme is the financial instrument aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness, due to be finalised next year and to run from 2014 to 2020. It aims to raise the level of investment in research and innovation in the EU to 3% of the bloc’s GDP.
“At a time when the EU is trying to promote smart, sustainable, inclusive growth as a means to boost competitiveness and achieve the goals of the EU2020 Strategy, the proposed 11% reduction in funding […] will have repercussions on the implementation of the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation activities,” FoodDrinkEurope said.