The BBC have reported that all that is required to formalise the UK’s reassociation with Horizon Europe is Rishi Sunak’s signature, however, it appears he will delay signing until after the summer.
This is merely the latest twist in the ongoing saga, which has now spanned years, with the UK having already missed out on two years of the programme. The UK had previously agreed terms for associate membership in 2020 as part of the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Further negotiations over reassociation were complicated by disagreements over trade rules in NI, however stances softened once the Windsor Framework was implemented.
It has been reported that the Prime Minister had initially stalled his decision to reassociate with the scheme to ensure the UK received the best value for money possible and is now likely to continue this position until after Parliament’s summer recess according to a government insider.
This latest news has caused dismay among much of the science community who are keen to rejoin the partnership as soon as possible to secure much needed certainty and funds.
Former Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government Sir Patrick Vallance stated that the UK should’ve joined Horizon Europe ‘yesterday’ and stated that creating a UK-led R&D programme over reassociation simply did not make sense.