Fishing: UK set for ‘high level Brexit meetings’ with EU in June
Government insiders have accused the EU of “purposely going slow” in approving British participation in Horizon Europe. Tensions between the EU and UK have been building over trade and the controversial Northern Ireland protocol.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph a top Whitehall source suggested the delay in fully admitting Britain to Horizon Europe is “politically driven”.
They argued Brussels is attempting to put pressure on the UK over Northern Ireland customs checks which are infuriating unionists.
Horizon Europe is the EU’s main research and innovation programme.
It provides grants to institutions and encourages Europe wide cooperation.
Britain could pull out of a £86bn EU research programme
The EU has been accused of “purposely going slow” in giving the UK access
According to the Telegraph Downing Street is keen for Britain to participate, but not at any cost.
Unless access is sorted the UK could withdraw from the programme altogether.
Speaking to the paper a Government source said: “The UK remains open to these programmes on the right terms, but the overall attractiveness is being called into question by the EU’s political point-scoring.
“This approach goes against the requirements of the agreement reached with the EU just six months ago, and we expect a swift resolution.
Lord Frost is due to hold crunch meetings with the EU next week
“The delay is in no one’s interest because we can’t participate but they will lose out from our financial contribution to it.”
The UK is also angry at limited access to Copernicus, the EU satellite observation programme, and the Euratom nuclear research scheme.
Unless this is approved the Government may choose to withdraw British funding entirely.
Brexit minister Lord Frost is set for a crunch meeting of the EU-UK Partnership Council, which oversees trade arrangements, next week.