On Tuesday, the European Council approved the EU’s general budget for 2023. This was agreed in negotiations with the European Parliament a week earlier.
The two institutions have committed to a total budget of €186.6 billion next year — an increase of 1.1% compared to 2022.
According to the Commission, 2023’s budget aims “to boost the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, to put Europe on the path towards a sustainable future, to protect and create jobs, and to strengthen the Union’s strategic autonomy.”
Notably, a significant amount of funding is being allocated to sectors that can benefit startups and SMEs operating in the technology and sustainability industry.
Specifically, €3 billion will go to the Connecting Europe Facility, which supports the development of high-performing, sustainable, and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy, and digital services.
A special focus will be given to the energy sector, corresponding with the Union’s plan to reduce dependence on Russian gas and mitigate the energy crisis. The funding will complement the €20 billion of the REPowerEU proposal, which targets technologies for the diversification of energy supplies and the accelerated roll-out of renewable energy sources.
Similarly, €1.5 billion will become available to the Just Transition Fund — which supports investments in areas such as digital connectivity, clean energy technologies, the reduction of emissions, and the reskilling of workers — to ensure that the transition towards climate neutrality won’t result in regional disparities.
Some €755.5 million will also be allocated to the LIFE program, which, focusing on climate action, finances SMEs and startups to develop and commercialize clean tech solutions.
The EU will also strengthen its research project, Horizon Europe, with an additional €12.4 billion. The funding targets research areas including health, the digital industry, space, climate, energy, and mobility.
Finally, there will be a €602.8 million investment to the Single Market Program, which supports and boosts the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized businesses across the Union.
The final adoption of the budget will be declared by the European Parliament, once it has also approved the joint commitments. But it’s clear already that the Union seeks to modernize the continent, foster the green and digital transition, and empower businesses operating within its market.
…. to be continued
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