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Unfrozen Swiss regain access to two EU innovation programmes

The programmes especially benefit Swiss businesses that invest heavily in research and are seeking EU market access


Switzerland has re-assumed full participation in two European Union-funded innovation programmes which had been put on ice during negotiations over a 2014 vote on immigration from the EU.

On Wednesday, the Swiss government approved the country’s participation in the Eurostars-2 and Active and Assisted Living (AAL) programmes, both co-funded by the Horizon 2020 research initiative which had been embattled following the Swiss vote on EU immigrationexternal link three years ago. 

Eurostars-2 and AAL are designed for small and medium-sized businesses that invest more that 10% of their revenues into research and development and are looking to gain access to new European or global markets. AAL makes up part of the Swiss government’s Skilled Workers Initiative that seeks to develop the country’s workforce. 

The agreement approved on Tuesday is retroactive to the beginning of 2017 and allows Switzerland to once again play an active role in determining how Eurostars-2 and AAL funds are spent. It also frees up funds from Horizon 2020 for additional projects with Swiss partners. Historically, the country has been one of the most active participants in the two programmes with 231 Swiss projects having received funding through Eurostars-2 and 82 through AAL between 2008 and 2016. 

Switzerland re-gained partial access to Horizon 2020 at the beginning of this year after having ratified the free movement of people accord with Croatia. The ratification was a condition from the EU for Switzerland’s renewed access to the research funds. and agencies/vdv

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