On 7th September, the European Commission and the United Kingdom  may have found a turning point on the political issue regarding the UK’s involvement in Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme, and Copernicus, the EU’s world-leading Earth observation programme. The political agreement aligns with the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The UK will be compelled to financially contribute to the EU budget and will be subject to all of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement’s safeguards. In all, the UK is expected to contribute around €2.6 billion per year on average for its participation in both Horizon Europe and the Copernicus component of the Space Programme. It highlights the ongoing spirit of cooperation in research, innovation, and space technology, and represents a positive step towards achieving the climate neutrality objectives of the European Green Deal.

Currently, the political agreement requires the Council’s approval and formal adoption by the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation. Assuming a successful implementation, from 1st January 2024, UK researchers and scientists will continue to contribute to cutting-edge projects and retain access to crucial Earth observation data, reinforcing the importance of global cooperation in tackling common challenges.