UK claims EU breached Brexit treaty citing exclusion from EU scientific research

Following the issue over Northern Ireland, the UK has opened a dispute with the EU, accusing it of violating the terms of the Brexit accord by excluding it from scientific research initiatives. The trade and cooperation agreement had been a “clear breach,” according to Liz Truss, the foreign secretary and front-runner for the Tory leadership. Her government had written to Brussels to request official dispute negotiations.

The UK government asserted that the EU was seriously harming research and development in both the UK and EU member states by barring Britain from participating in programmes like the Earth observation programme Copernicus, the nuclear research programme Euratom, the space surveillance and tracking programme, and the Horizon programme for science research.

“The EU is in clear breach of our agreement, repeatedly seeking to politicise vital scientific cooperation by refusing to finalise access to these important programmes,” she said, as reported by The Guardian. “We cannot allow this to continue. That is why the UK has launched formal consultations and will do everything necessary to protect the scientific community.”

Due to the ongoing Brexit dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol, 115 funding from the Horizon programme for British academic academics and scientists was cancelled in July. 

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After the then-Brexit minister, David Frost, successfully negotiated associate membership of the £80 billion Horizon Europe initiative, grants for British applicants were accepted; however, the majority of those grants are now being revoked. For the UK to take part in the scheme, a membership fee of £15 billion over seven years was required.

The beginning of negotiations through a partnership council is the first stage of a dispute procedure. If this is unsuccessful, the matter can be sent to an arbitration tribunal, which, if either party is found to have violated the agreement, might impose sanctions for non-compliance.

(with inputs from agencies)