Various EU countries have expressed their concerns about the proposal to exclude all countries outside the EU from cooperation in research into quantum computers. Israel, Switzerland and Great Britain would no longer have access to the research.
Last Monday, the 27 countries in the EU would have met to discuss the future of Horizon Europe. This is a fund of 95.5 billion euros intended for research purposes. Monday’s meeting would be about to what extent countries outside the EU may contribute to the project in the field of sensitive technologies. Because of the commotion around the proposed plans, there was decided to postpone the planned meeting until further notice. In the meantime, the proposals can be fine-tuned.
Preventing sensitive information from leaking
To prevent sensitive information from leaking to countries such as China, European Commissioner Thierry Breton proposed to exclude all countries outside the EU from research on quantum technology. However, this would also exclude countries such as Israel, Switzerland and the UK. These countries have contributed a lot to European research in the past, writes Politico.
Autonomy should not lead to protectionism
This leads to significant concerns among countries within the EU. Denmark and Austria, in particular, are concerned and warn that the push for strategic autonomy should not lead to protectionism. Seventeen other countries have expressed their concerns as well. There is a fear that the same fate awaits the excluded countries in studies on space and artificial intelligence that Horizon Europe also sponsors.
“In many instances, the inclusion of trusted partners is very much in our own interest, as these partners are front-runners in important R&I-fields. Their participation is essential for cutting-edge Horizon-projects with high impact that will help solve major challenges,” the Danish government said. “Introducing wide exclusions would be detrimental to Horizon Europe’s positive estimation and value in the long run.”
However, Austria warns more about costs that would result from excluding partners from the programme. These costs would not only be in the area of science diplomacy but other countries would also be deterred from cooperating with Europe and instead focus on other regions of the world.