Judea and Samaria institutions excluded from European R&D fund

Negotiations on Israel’s participation in the previous round, Horizon 2020, were held up due to EU rules preventing funding of Israeli projects in Judea and Samaria.

By World Israel News staff

Israel and the European Union (EU) have finalized an agreement on the Horizon Europe program, the EU’s largest research and development fund.

While Israeli institutions will be invited to bid for a slice of the $111 billion in grants available for the next seven years, those operatring in Judea and Samaria will be excluded from participating.

Negotiations on Israel’s participation in the previous round, Horizon 2020, were held up due to EU rules preventing funding of Israeli projects in Judea and Samaria. The dispute was resolved by then-justice minister Tzipi Livni brokering a compromise solution by the then economy minister Naftali Bennett inserting a clause into the appendix stating that Israel opposed the exclusion of Judea and Samaria, and rejected the EU’s definition of her borders on the 1967 lines.

The same arrangement has been repeated for Horizon Europe, which will run until 2027.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has welcomed the agreement, saying that joining the Horizon program “situates Israel as a central player in the largest and most important research and development program in the world.”

Under the terms of the program, countries who receive eight percent more than they give to the fund have to pay the extra back into the program.

Israel is slated to pay some €2.5 billion into the program in this round, but was awarded €360 million more than it contributed in the last round and is expecting to end up in roughly a similar situation this time.

Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, director of the program on Israel-Europe relations at Mitvim foreign policy think tank commented: “The added value of joining the program is crucial for Israel’s economy, and in the case of quantum computing, we can also talk about national security. The monetary return is a bonus, not the goal.”

In addition to quantum computing advances, Israel is also hoping to tender for space research, although security agreements still need to be thrashed out.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of the formal negotiations on October 9, a spokesman for the European Commission commented: “This year marked the 25th anniversary of the EU-Israel successful collaboration in research & innovation. Since then, and in view of shared concerns and common goals, this cooperation has been consistently evolving generating win-win benefits along the way.

“In return to giving Israel access to a vast international research network, the European Research Area has benefited from Israel’s high levels of excellence as well as outstanding innovation capacity.”

They added: “Joint research efforts have resulted in many success stories across different thematic priorities for the EU including climate change, public health, safe transportation etc.”

The agreement will pass to the Knesset for ratification, and is expected to be signed in December.