Brexit and the Latest FCH-JU Call – UK Partners Still Eligible

Written on the 28th January, 2020

With the UK Government heralding 31 January (next Friday) as the day when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, there may be confusion about the eligibility of UK partners in future EU project calls in 2020  The issue was raised at the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) Information  Day yesterday (27 January 2020.)   The FCH-JU strongly emphasised that the UK partners were still eligible for the current project call which closes on 21 April 2020.   The Withdrawal Agreement signed by the UK Government and the European Union included the UK Government meeting its current budgetary commitments up to end of the present EU Budget cycle – the end of 2020.  This corresponds to the current end of the Transition Period.

The UK Government has made much of the claim that the United Kingdom will leave the EU this Friday but this is not absolutely true.  There is a period of transition for the rest of this year where technically the UK is part of the EU but not its major decision making bodies.  In the dreadful words of UK Eurosceptics, “the UK is a rule taker and not rule maker.”

UK Participation in future EU Programmes from the start of 2021 onwards will be the subject of negotiations between the EU and the UK. Government.  This potential  co-operation is outlined in general terms in Paragraph 11 of the Political Declaration where the EU and UK “will establish general principles, terms and conditions for the United Kingdom’s participation in Union programmes, subject to the conditions set out in the corresponding Union instruments, in areas such as science and innovation, youth, culture and education, overseas development and external action, defence capabilities, civil protection and space. These should include a fair and appropriate financial contribution, provisions allowing for sound financial management by both Parties, fair treatment of participants, and management and consultation appropriate to the nature of the cooperation between the Parties. “
It is now crucial that those organisations and companies that currently enjoy EU grant funding ensure that the subject of UK participation in key EU funding programmes is high on the political agenda.

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