UK rejoins EU’s Horizon science programme
Rishi Sunak has been blasted by a leading Brexiteer after the UK formally signed up for the EU’s science program Horizon yesterday. The deal, which will cost the UK £2.4billion, was part of the Windsor Framework Brexit agreement earlier this year in tackling problems around the Northern Ireland border.
But former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has joined Conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith in being extremely critical of the decision to rejoin the EU’s Horizon program warning that it is not a benefit for the UK but one for Brussels. In particular, Habib has warned that it means Britain is now directly funding and supporting EU plans to create its own army on the continent against British interests.
He also questions what value the EU can provide to the UK in scientific research when it does not have one of the world’s top universities while Britain has three.
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Mr Habib said: “How can it assist us to be a member of a European-based and led research programme? There will be no exchange of ideas, the EU will merely gain free access to our know-how. Sound like a lousy deal? It is.
“But it is worse than their simply stealing our ideas. We will have to pay them for the privilege. They will steal our ideas and our cash. Admittedly we will get some of our own cash back – but not all of it.
“It could not be a worse deal; except, this is the EU, so of course it could.”
He went on: “Horizon Europe is not a benign research programme. It is one aimed at supporting the EU’s political aims. If you do not believe me, read their home page – it is clear as daylight.
“The UK, having left the EU, will be giving our knowhow, and paying money over to the EU to promote its political aims.”
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But highlighting the military side of the deal, Habib warned that it was “even worse”.
He said: “Some of our money will be spent on the European Defence Fund for weapons development, with a view to EU-wide military interoperability – the creation of an EU army.
“Next time you hear Sunak blathering on about what a great deal he has done for the UK, allowing us to give our brains, our cash, and our military over the EU, know this: he is selling the UK down the drain for the benefit of the EU. He is a Europhile.
“That is also why he has appointed arch Remainer, David Cameron, as Foreign Secretary.”
The agreement has also previously been criticised by former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.
He said: “I don’t think it is value for money. We do not really control where the money is spent.
“The reality is the Horizon programme needs us more than we need it. We are the science superpower of Europe.”
A joint statement by the UK Government and EU about Britain rejoining Horizon published in September said: “Association to Horizon Europe will further strengthen and deepen links between the scientific communities in the UK and the EU, foster innovation and enable researchers to work together on global challenges from climate to health.
“The UK Government and the European Commission look forward to enabling collaboration between their researchers in which the UK and the EU share a mutual interest, such as in new and emerging technologies. To this end, the EU will assess UK participants’ access to strategic parts of the Horizon Europe programme on equal terms with other associated countries.
“The association of the UK to Copernicus will enable the UK’s access to a state-of-the-art capacity to monitor the Earth and to its services. The UK’s association to Copernicus comes at a crucial moment, where the Copernicus space infrastructure and its information services will evolve further and their contribution to understanding and acting on environmental and climate change-related challenges is more important than ever.”
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