Brexit betrayal! UK cut from £84m EU funds as Frost threatens imminent Article 16 trigger

Lord Frost gives update on UK’s participation in Horizon Europe

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The EU’s £80billion science and innovation project, Horizon Europe, will receive an extra €100million (£84million) next year following negotiations over the bloc’s budget. The agreement will see support for the programme rise to €12.2billion (£18.65billion) in 2022. The move comes after MEPs looked to boost spending on programmes considered crucial to the post-pandemic recovery.

But Britain has been excluded from this project as disputes continue over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Now, there are fears that the UK may never be allowed to join if the Brexit Minister, Lord Frost, triggers Article 16.

Even though European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic warned that there will be “serious consequences” if it is triggered, Lord Frost has said Article 16 is “very much on the table”.

He told Sky News today that this remains a “legitimate option”.

Lord Frost was warned by an expert that Britain may never be allowed back into Horizon Europe once Article 16 is triggered.

James Wilsdon, from the University of Sheffield, told “If Article 16 is invoked, I would think that it would take our association with the project off the table entirely.

“In terms of where the science piece of this sits, clearly the Commission has been very explicit that they don’t see a resolution to the trade association agreement without a resolution of those bigger questions.”

Last week, Lord Frost said that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that was included as part of the Brexit deal has not been violated by Britain.

But the UK remains banned from Horizon Europe despite this being a feature of the TCA.

Lord Frost told the House of Lords: “We agreed we would participate in this in the TCA and we agreed to pay a contribution of £15billion over seven years.

“The TCA is clear, the UK shall participate and the relevant protocol shall be adopted, that is an obligation.

“If it became clear that the EU will not deliver that obligation – and it has not done so far – we will regard them as in breach of Article 710 of the TCA.”

The Brexit minister will now head to Brussels to face further questioning on Brexit negotiations after meeting Mr Sefcovic for negotiations today.

While Lord Frost has said that the “mood music” has improved, should the Brexit negotiations end in Article 16 being triggered, the science community has expressed that UK’s exclusion for Horizon Europe could be catastrophic for British science.

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Some also feel like it would be a betrayal on Brexit voters who were told the UK would remain part of key EU science projects despite the break from the bloc.

Mr Wilsdon told “It would be a blow.

“Even in a post-Brexit context there’s plenty of countries outside of the EU who are members of Horizon, and the Government always said we would stay in the framework programmes even if we did Brexit.

“So in a sense, to not be in them is an unnecessary act of self-harm to British science.”

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