Today on 18th March, MEPs on the Committee Industry, Research and Energy unanimously supported the decision to set up the Eurostars-2 programme aimed at supporting research performing small and medium-sized enterprises.
Zofija Mazej Kukovič (EPP/SDS) was the shadow rapporteur for EPP Group during the negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and Commission. She successfully managed to protect the earmarked funds for the programme, without any cuts or reductions. She explained that ?We must take into consideration the fact that some Member States will be forced to reduce their investments far more than others. It is for this reason that I fought to ensure the entirety of the 287 million euros set aside in Horizon 2020 for this project stays intact. I welcome the unanimous result of the committee vote, especially considering the poor economic condition in Slovenia and the need for the EU to rapidly respond to similar situations in other Member States. All companies in Slovenia, as well as the EU, face the challenge of obtaining the necessary funds to support their research and investment. The first Eurostars programme created almost 10.000 new workplaces.?
The Eurostars-2 is a continuation of the project that existed under the previous Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU. The new rules have also been simplified. Businesses will be able to access funds more quickly, which is crucial in these times of limited public budgets. In addition, the new programme will have three times the amount of funds than its predecessor. Under the Eurostars-1 programme, around 800 companies received funding and more than 70% of all applicants were small and medium enterprises, while the rest were research centres and universities.
Mazej Kukovič concluded by saying: ?Eurostars is based on the bottom-up principle. It is open to everyone conducting research and development. However, it is the quality that counts. The rest depends on linking up technological centres and centres of excellence with innovative businesses. Slovenian companies have a lot of opportunities here, with the first calls for tenders to be published this year. Make sure you don?t miss them!?