In an attempt to enable UK entities participation in the upcoming Horizon Europe programme, the European Commission has set up conditions, which open up the possibility for so called neighbour countries and countries outside the Europe to get an associate membership to the programme. Such status would enable them to take part in EU research under the same conditions as the member states. The legal text is written such, that it allows the European Commission to limit an access of these countries (incl. UK or Switzerland) to only certain parts of the programme. The text proposes to give the EU a right to exclude countries from specific parts of the programme if their involvement would risk undermining the core goal of “driving economic growth in the Union through innovation”.
Until now, associate status granted a country full access to the EU research framework by default. This will not change for countries in the European Economic Area – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Canada is the only third coutry, which until now showed a serious interest in the associated country status. According to first indications, Switzerland is expected to retain a full access to the programme.