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Stronger use of innovative technologies will deliver the policy objectives of Horizon Europe 2021-2027.

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Horizon Europe – key economic instrument.

Horizon Europe is about to begin to be rolled out in the early part of next year. This is one of the largest publicly funded research, innovation and science instruments in the world. It is part of the overall strategy of the EU to improve economic performance and competitiveness while also supporting the implementation of the EU Green Deal – writes Dr. Cao Hui who is head of policy to market activities for Huawei in Europe.

35% of the budget for Horizon Europe is being allocated for research actions that will help the EU reach key climate change targets.

The European Commission, the European Parliament and EU governments fully know the important role that industry plays in the economy of Europe.

EU industry provides one in every five jobs in Europe, 80% of EU exports and two thirds of private sector [email protected] in Europe.

The bottom line is that EU industry must be made fit for the digital age. This is why there is rightly such an emphasis in Horizon Europe on tech research. ICT innovation will be a driver of economic growth in Europe.

ICT collaborative research – centre stage in Horizon Europe.

Let us have a look for a moment at Pillar 2 in Horizon Europe. It defines clearly the areas of research focus in Europe over the next six years: - manufacturing technologies, key digital technologies, advanced materials, AI/Robotics, next generation of the internet, advanced computing and big data. ICT collaborative actions in Europe will make better use of sensing technology, computing architecture, photonics, robotics, quantum computing, low power processors and high performance computing to fulfil important EU policy goals.

In October 2020, the European Commission announced that it will put aside 8 billion euro for the EURO HPC between the years 2021-2023. This will accelerate the development of super and green computing technologies into Europe. The synergies of HPC will be exploited through the smart deployment of artificial intelligence, big data and cloud technologies.

Huawei – supporting EU strategic autonomy.

Dr. Cao Hui is the head of Huawei policy to market activities in Europe.

Dr. Cao Hui is the head of Huawei policy to market activities in Europe.

Supporting a new industrial strategy in Europe, one that is defined by the objective of strategic autonomy will require international co-operation – if this policy objective in Europe is going to succeed. This is where a company like Huawei can play a positive role. We can support the EU in rolling out its research targets under Horizon Europe. We are in a strong position to achieve this. We have been based in Europe since the year 2000. We have 23 research centres in Europe in 12 countries. We have been an active participant in Horizon Europe, particularly supporting collaborative actions in the area of 5G, big data and building stronger ICT platforms that can deliver the internet of things and more innovative applications for society.

Huawei was ranked 5th in the European Commission research and development industrial scoreboard in 2019. This makes us the fifth largest private sector investor in research and development in the world. One must invest in a whole series of basic and applied scientific activities – thus putting oneself in a better position to deliver new and innovative products into the marketplace.

 

Public/ Private partnerships are key in Horizon Europe.

The principle of openness of EU research instruments also includes a strong element of partnerships between the private and public sectors so as to transform new industries through a better use of technology. The Smart Network and Services Joint Undertaking will deliver 6G for Europe. This will be assisted via the work of another JU that will deal with key digital technologies.

The reality is that that the policy objectives of Horizon Europe cannot be delivered by the public sector alone. There must be a strong engagement from the private sector in many collaborative actions under Horizon Europe. There is even a broader extended principle in this context. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals can only succeed where there is a strong participation from the private sector. Research, innovation and science will be centre stage in ensuring that these UN targets are successfully reached by 2030.

Horizon Europe is an economic instrument. Research, innovation and science are intrinsic elements in the digital transformation process. Countries that invest in these sectors will secure higher economic returns in the medium term. Technology is a cornerstone too in the global challenge to tackle poverty, social problems and inequality in our societies. This is also the view of the European Commission, the World Bank, the OECD and the International Monetary Fund.

Let the private and public sectors work together under Horizon Europe. This is a win–win situation for the public and private sectors. It is a win-win situation for society.

 

Dr. Cao Hui is the head of Huawei policy to market activities in Europe.

 

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Commission approves €8 million Slovak scheme to support professional sport clubs in the context of coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €8 million Slovak scheme to support sport clubs participating in professional leagues in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants to companies that have experienced a significant decline in revenue due to the coronavirus outbreak and the measures imposed by the Government to limit the spread of the virus. The scheme aims to address the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and to help them to continue their activities during and after the outbreak.

The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €800,000 per company; and (ii) will be granted until no later than 30 June 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules.

More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case numbers SA.60212 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Commission approves prolongation and €200 million budget increase of German scheme to support research and development

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The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, the modification of a German scheme to support research and development (‘R&D'), the ‘European Recovery Programme - mezzanine innovation'. The scheme provides senior and sub-ordinated loans under favourable conditions for the long-term financing of R&D projects. The current version of the scheme was approved in June 2016 (SA.39550) and was set to expire at the end of 2020. Germany notified the following modifications to the scheme: (i) a prolongation until 30 June 2021; and (ii) an increase by €200 million of the overall budget of the scheme, from €7.5 billion to €7.7 billion.

The provisions of the original scheme remain unchanged. The Commission assessed the measure under the 2014 Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (RDI) and concluded that the scheme will continue to provide long-term financing for R&D projects in a way that is compatible with the internal market. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.60182 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Commission approves Greek public funding for construction and operation of North section of E65 motorway

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The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, Greek public funding of €442 million for the construction of the North section of the Central Greece Motorway (E65). The Commission also approved support estimated at €38 million to cover the operating and maintenance expenses of the section, in case the toll revenues are not sufficient. This will allow the completion and operation of part of the Trans-European road network, without causing undue distortions of competition. In May 2019, Greece notified the Commission of its plan to grant €442 million of public support to Kentriki Odos S.A. for the construction of the 70.5 km North section of the Central Greece Motorway (E65). Kentriki Odos S.A. is also the concessionaire of the Middle and South section of the E65 motorway.

The 180 km long Greek E65 motorway connects the Athens-Thessaloniki motorway (PATHE) with the Egnatia motorway. Furthermore, Greece notified its plans to support the operation of the North section by covering the operating and maintenance expenses in case the toll revenues of the section are not sufficient. The operating support is estimated at €38 million. The Commission assessed the measures under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows State aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or of certain economic areas.

The Commission found that: the aid will contribute to the development of the economic areas which the E65 motorway mainly serves: Central Greece, Thessaly and Western Macedonia; the support measures are necessary and proportionate for the implementation of the project. The Commission therefore concluded that the public funding granted for the construction and operation of the North section of the E65 motorway is in line with EU state aid rules.

Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The construction of the North section of the Central Greece motorway will complete the Greek part of the E65, contributing to the development of the areas concerned. This decision enables Greece to support the construction of this important infrastructure, which is part of the Trans European road network."

The full press release is available online.

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