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Q&A Horizon Europe

The Horizon Europe Regulation requires the Commission to carry out an assessment of the first Missions (Article 8.5 of the Horizon Europe Regulation) and to review the Mission areas by the end of 2023. The legal base sets out that any activity of Missions beyond 2023 is conditional on the outcome of the assessment process.

To match the strategic nature of the review and assessment exercise, two documents were adopted: a Commission Communication with key political messages regarding the work developed so far and the future of Missions, and a Staff Working Document that presents detailed information on the assessment of EU Missions and the review of Mission areas.

The conclusions presented in the Communication and Staff Working document are underpinned by an external study performed by an independent contractor. This study is based on a robust methodology and relied on the consultation of a representative group of stakeholders.

Additional evidence was collected by the individual Mission secretariats as an opportunity to take stock on each Mission's progress, its added value and research and innovation content.

The assessment of EU Missions confirms that they are timely and inspirational initiatives that provide new impetus to important EU policy priorities, help aligning EU, national, regional and local policy efforts towards shared goals and encourage broad engagement and active participation of stakeholders.

However, EU Missions need to be further supported in reaching their long-term goals, including strengthening and better coordinating administrative governance, facilitating access to resources and funding, and continuing to support local and national efforts, boosting citizens' engagement, and raising public awareness of the EU Missions.

The Commission recommends the preparation of a new Mission on the New European Bauhaus (NEB). With a focus on innovation, the NEB Mission would for example, aim to transform neighbourhoods across Europe for the better, making them beautiful, sustainable and inclusive by 2035. These neighbourhoods could act as ‘living labs' for innovation. The Mission will be further defined during its preparatory phase, including with stakeholders and Member States.

The Communication and Staff Woking Document identify a wide range of achievements by each of the five Missions since they were officially launched in September 2021. These results are encouraging, particularly taking into account that Missions are a novel policy initiative under Horizon Europe, with less than two years of implementation. 

While it is crucial to monitor their performance along the way, it should be noted that EU Missions have set highly ambitious long-term goals for 2030. Accordingly, Missions will need time to meet targets as bold as restoring our oceans or adapting to climate change.

The Communication puts forward a number of concrete actions to address the specific challenges faced by EU Missions. For example, to improve the governance and political steer of EU Missions, the Commission will:

  • Invite all political actors involved, including the Member States, to nominate high level representatives to join the Commissioners responsible for the respective EU Missions in promoting Missions to citizens, mobilising national funds etc.
  • Intensify discussions, notably with Member States, on how to streamline EU Mission governance to make it more efficient, inclusive, and effective.
  • Invest in strengthening joint support functions (‘back office') for all current and future EU Missions.

In turn, to secure more and better co-investment, including from the private sector, the Commission will:

  • Mobilise a broader portfolio of instruments, including public-private partnerships and the public procurement of innovation.
  • Intensify discussions on alignment of Member States' programming of EU funding with the EU Missions.
  • Invite recommendations and advice on how to increase private sector involvement in, and contribution to, the EU Missions.

Finally, to enhance citizen and stakeholder engagement, the Commission will:

  • Undertake targeted actions to support local and national communication efforts to boost citizen engagement and raise public awareness of EU Missions.
  • Publish a new report on the implementation of EU Missions in 2025.

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) is an interdisciplinary initiative launched in 2020 by President von der Leyen in the State of the Union speech. It expresses the EU's ambition of creating beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive places, products and ways of living. It is inspiring a number of bottom-up projects and initiatives that test and demonstrate NEB ideas and actions. The New European Bauhaus Progress Report includes further information on the achievements of the initiative over its two first years.

The NEB is a novel, innovation-based initiative – it filters innovation not only through the lens of sustainability, but also through those of equal access, affordability and acceptance.

In its September 2022 resolution on NEB, the European Parliament called for the creation of a NEB Mission under Horizon Europe, pointing to the existing points of convergence.