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Swiss downbeat over Horizon Europe


Referendum hurdle is cleared, but others ready to trip up R&D agreement with EU

Research leaders in Switzerland fear it could take years for the country to get its participation in the EU’s next R&D programme up to full speed, and that even then parts of the programme might be off-limits to Swiss researchers.

The concerns have been sparked by a string of political developments. One obstacle to the country’s broad participation in the 2021-27 Horizon Europe programme fell on 28 September, when Swiss voters rejected by 61.7 per cent a proposal to end freedom of movement for EU citizens. But the EU has said it cannot discuss Swiss ‘association’ to Horizon Europe until Switzerland signs a broad political treaty with the bloc that has been languishing since 2018. The treaty does not cover R&D links specifically but pulls together several bilateral Swiss-EU agreements whose untidiness annoys the bloc.

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