U.K. rejoins Horizon Europe research funding scheme




I'm not surprised. This was one of the aspects of Brexit that seemed completely untenable and disastrous. Some aspects of Brexit are "bad but acceptable" but this was an "if we don't revert this one British R&D and science are screwed" aspect


staying associated with horizon was part of the brexit agreement Boris signed

the EU delayed implementation in order to use horizon as a stick to apply political pressure in an unrelated area (as it continues to do with switzerland)


You mean, Britain wasn't honouring the withdrawal agreement so the EU withheld some of the benefits provided under that agreement?! How terrible. Britain should, naturally, get everything it wants without having to do anything that it signed up to do, because it's Britain (I'm pretty much convinced that a lot of Brexiters _actually believe this_...)


Groupings of countries have great leverage over single countries, who knew!


"Might makes right", the last word in every argument on the EU.


in this case: as a result of the conflict the UK received a better deal on the clawback terms and achieved exactly what it wanted on the NI border (which the EU had formerly said was impossible)

so I'm not sure that reality reflects your point


After being out for 2 years while the EU held us to terms of the TCA. And if you think literally putting a border between two parts of the UK while all our agricultural goods are held up being inspected when going to the EU is a good outcome, I don't know what you'd think is a bad outcome.


> I don't know what you'd think is a bad outcome.

that's an easy one, remaining in the EU


The EU still keeps science as a hostage for political games. Think about, who looses when you prevent science from happening? All of society. This is very self-destructive.


couldn't you simply apply the same logic to any aspect of the EU?

The EU still keeps trade as a hostage for political games. Think about, who looses when you prevent trade from happening? All of society. This is very self-destructive.

The EU still keeps free movement as a hostage for political games. Think about, who looses when you prevent free movement from happening? All of society. This is very self-destructive.



These things are different from science. They are local issues with local effects. But science is a global endeavor involving all of humanity, suppressing this for some local political quarrel is quite a low move.


To be fair, the offer to rejoin Horizon has been on the table to the UK for a long time now. The UK government have been the ones dragging their heels on actually doing the work to kick off that process. Scientists like Sir Paul Nurse have been very outspoken for several years about this. That's not to say there aren't failings in the EU, there definitely are, but this is heavily on the UK.


I don't know the details about the UK. But the EU has been playing this game with Switzerland since 2013. Switzerland can bankroll the costs, but it's the scientists and science overall tha slows down due to this.


> But the EU has been playing this game with Switzerland since 2013. Switzerland can bankroll the costs, but it's the scientists and science overall tha slows down due to this.

Can anyone please elaborate this situation?


Welcome back, UK!

(The UK should not demand special conditions after causing cost and temporary instability by leaving the EU.)


The UK has always demanded (and received) special conditions, not just on Horizon, but on lots of other things too, even while it was still in the EU.


Which was entirely fair considering that extremely significant, costly parts of the EU structure and policies are essentially special conditions to other countries. The Common Agricultural Policy was/is basically a free fund of N billion EUR/year to France.

It all goes back to the fact that the entire EU has grown out of what was ultimately a deal between France and Germany, which has always left the UK out as the other one of Europe's big 3 countries. In fact France even blocked the UK from joining at all in the first place.


Ah, I see we've discovered that yet another element of our EU membership has needed reconstituting after we've found life lacks a certain something after leaving.

Ho hum.


I think remaining a member was always something the uk wanted but it seemed to get caught up in the negotiations. The screw up here is not that this is some U-turn but that rejoining/not-leaving didn’t happen much earlier.


It was - and in fact, associate membership of Horizon Europe was part of the original withdrawal agreement, it was just held up by the EU for years over issues with Northern Ireland. Similarly, the parts of the Brexit deal that are currently causing problems for car manufacturers were opposed by the British side but insisted on by the EU, though that didn't stop the British media spinning them as somehow being the UK's responsibility.


I mean, yes, obvious the UK's position would be "give us all the good stuff without any of the responsibilities". That's not "held up by the EU", that's just the actual negotiation.


> parts of the Brexit deal that are currently causing problems for car manufacturers were opposed by the British side

Its more complex than that. The issue is that we are outside of the customs union, so building stuff outside and re-importing it (as in multiple factories specialising all over continental europe) becomes expensive in paper work, even though there may not be specific import taxes. Paper work in shipping takes time, money and a bunch of people to do, it makes everything much more expensive.


I mean, plenty of countries that aren’t in the EU do have good relations and trade partnerships with the EU, as well as participation in certain EU programs (including several countries that are part of this Horizons program). The problem was probably more the utter incompetence of the people negotiations over leaving more than the idea of not being part of the EU itself (which wouldn’t have mattered that much if a competent framework had been put in place).


Brexit was negotiated for us by people who didn't want it or believe in it. That surely doomed it (if it wasn't doomed anyway, which I consider a big "if").

Even Bojo himself was ambivalent about the EU pre-2016, and famously wrote a pro-Leave and pro-Remain version of the same article before publicly announcing his position. It's pretty clear that he was motivated more by opportunism and personal advancement than by any strong belief in Brexit's merits.


A lot of the comments here ignore the fact that Horizon membership was agreed as part of the original Brexit negotiations.

The EU have been reneging on this agreement based on the rather dubious pretext that the UK wouldn't allow them to take control over Northern Ireland.


The EU would not allow the UK to break its agreement with EU member Ireland that there should be no border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Heck, even the Americans are on the Irish side of that particular dispute.




> And it will be able to recoup funding if U.K. scientists receive “significantly less money” than the U.K.’s annual contribution, according to the government’s announcement

Has the UK managed to negotiate another special treatment (like when it had its 'discount' when an EU member) to ensure that it can only benefit from the scheme?

If so, that sounds like a good deal.


All members closely track their in/out on the framework programs. This is nothing new.


Article 16, section 5 of EU Regulation 2021/695 implementing the scheme:

"The conditions determining the level of financial contribution shall ensure a regular automatic correction of any significant imbalance compared to the amount that entities established in the associated country receive through participation in the Programme, taking into account the costs in the management, execution and operation of the Programme. The allocation of the financial contributions shall take into account the level of participation of the legal entities of the associated countries in each part of the Programme."

So this sounds at most like a clarification of the rules expected in any association agreement for Horizon.


That doesn't mean they can only benefit from it, it mean they can't be completely shafted.

If they get 2.4~2.5 Billions every year, or a year at 2.8 followed by a 2.1, it would be less, but not significantly less (the law of average make this last option a lot less likely).

The idea of the program is not to get all the money attributed to your country, I imagine the interest is also to pool specialist to evaluate the grant requests. In particular in small countries that just don't have enough people to have available specialists for everything.


'significantly' is obviously a weasel word that is opened to further arguments, and I suspect it was added on purpose so that both parties can claim 'victory'.

Your comment is your personal interpretation, for instance.

I could also say that if I paid 2.5 billions in and only got 2.1 billions out over a single year that is significantly less (16%) so I demand a refund or guaranteed extra funding to make it up the following year.

> The idea of the program is not to get all the money attributed to your country

Whatever the idea of the program is, the aim of the UK seems not to be a constant net contributor, i.e. to ensure that on average it receives at least as much as it contributes, which was also the aim of various 'discounts' it got within the EU.


> 'significantly' is obviously a weasel word that is opened to further arguments

This is from the government announcement. I am 99.9% sure that when you read the actual text of the agreement there will be a process with exact cutoffs with the scenario laid out for how the funding would be recouped, and by whom.


No lol why? Despair on the one and pitifulness on the other side..


New Zealand also joined a couple of months ago and got an extremely discounted rate. See the details in this article: https://sciencebusiness.net/news/horizon-europe/eu-and-new-z...


As much as Brits like to denigrate the country, the UK outperforms most of it's neighbours in science and technology. Rejoining Horizon is a boon for European science even if the UK is a net benefactor.


You have any data on that? Reading reports on European research output UK is nothing special.

Edit: those corrupt uni ranking lists mean nothing.


According to the US News "Best Global Universities" report [0], which ranks universities for their "academic research performance and their global and regional reputations", the UK has 4 universities (Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial) in the global top 20. The rest of Europe has zero.

Alternatively, the UK has 6 universities in the global top 40, while the rest of Europe has two (one in the EU, one in Switzerland.)

This isn't new. The British higher education sector has been a world leader for a long, long time. And that's despite the last few decades of funding cuts and declining educational standards - I can only imagine where we'd be in a more sensible timeline.

[0] https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/se...


Correct! Oxford was founded in the 11th century, with Cambridge lagging behind and not getting started until around 1200.


Cambridge University was actually founded by scholars who had left Oxford University because they apparently had a fight with local townsmen.


One problem with this is that research on the continent is often done by research organisations that aren't covered by these assessments. Max Planck and Leibniz in Germany, CNRS, Institut Pasteur in France, EMBL, EBI, ESO etc. as European research institutes (EBI is interestingly in the UK). So if you look at research, you cannot just look at universities.


Sigh, Eurasmus, Euratom, mutual visas for people in the arts wanting to work in Europe etc. etc. need not even be associated with being in the EU but we needlessly harmed ourselves and left them all. The UK electorate has been told a fiction about sovereignty for decades, I’m not sure how to stop the lies and conspiracy theories that have permeated a lot of society now. We are set to become a very poor and unhappy country if we keep being unable to discuss reality and focus on how people feel.


The Brexiteers are convinced this shows it’s possible to cherrypick the parts you wanted from the EU. The Remainers are convinced that the interval when Britain was out of Horizon shows the dangers of Brexit.

Neither is really relevant, though. At best this agreement brings the UK back to previous status quo in one area. Where are the Brexit benefits that were supposed to balance out the other side of the equation and eventually show a net positive? Even immigration isn’t actually down compared to EU membership days. All that’s left seems to be those vague ramblings of sovereignty.


"And it will be able to recoup funding if U.K. scientists receive “significantly less money” than the U.K.’s annual contribution, according to the government’s announcement."

Why? Why would you need to get your money back when you get less out of it than you contribute?


The reasoning was (not my opinion) that the EU had a rule saying that uk institutions could never withdraw more than the uk contributed to the scheme. The uk wanted this to be reciprocal


Brilliant! After years of delay and uncertainty, €2.6 billion per year to regain access to a program they were once part of? Who needs that extra money for healthcare, education, or infrastructure anyway? Is this a hint that someone's tail is between her legs and wants another change?


> €2.6 billion per year to regain access to a program they were once part of?

You always had to pay, before Brexit it was in the form of the EU budget contribution.

The UK was also a net contributor.


The UK never wanted out of Horizon, it was part of the brexit agreement. The EU is back-pedalling here, not the UK.


Sounds like we're going backwards! Soon we'll be collaborating with other nations about other things too!! /s


Maybe we'll make a trade deal with countries in our geographical proximity, so we can trade without barriers. Perhaps even allow people to go there and work, and people from there to come here. Who knows what the future brings.


Like a "union" of European countries, you mean? Any suggestions of how we could name it? Let's try to come up with a simple name and a 2 letters acronym so that it is simple for people to refer to it? /s


This sounds great. You mean something like the African Union and its 2 letter acronym, AU?


Sounds great. +2 from me.


Great Union or United Union sounds good.


If only that was all that the EU was or intended to become.


Free trade without substantial political union is useless. Look at the Commonwealth for an example: broken, decaying, unpopular, a walking zombie of an institution.


The Commonwealth has a rather different history; I don't think it is a good analogy for the EU.

Substantial political union isn't required per se, just enough common interest. That at least was the original thought behind the predecessor of the EU, and it seems to have worked through sharing economic interests.


Yes, and maybe after that we can create a new supranational government that has fundamental authority over our own government, is free to write laws for us, can overrule our courts, removes all sovereignty over immigration, has a parliament with many degrees of democratic separation from the electorate, has an unelected commission that makes all the laws, has ever-expanding centralisation of power written into its constitution, forces us to accept fleets of bottom-trawling fishing boats to decimate our waters, forces us to spend huge amounts of money to literally incentivise farmers to destroy natural habitat-

-wait why are you running away? This is exactly the same thing as a trade deal!


> parliament with many degrees of democratic separation from the electorate

The country with the entirely unelected unremovable upper house has no business complaining about this.


The house of lords had major reform at the start of Labour's last stint in government to remove hereditary peers. It's not impossible to go further, in fact I'd put it at about the same likelihood as reforming the EU structure in the medium to long term.

Besides, short of violent revolution there's nothing the UK population can immediately do about the HoL. The Brexit vote was something that the people could directly do to at least de-abstract power and bring it closer to home. This was one of the most-advertised perks of the EU by the remain campaign: It's not the same as a nation superstate because you're able to voluntarily leave. Brexit was just the UK population exercising that right.

The other point is that the Lords really doesn't have that much power when all's said and done. Yes, they can quibble and send bills back for review a few times, but they're nothing like the US senate for example, the commons have the final say over everyone else. Compare to the EU commission, who have much more power, and actually make the laws.


> actually make the laws

But only in a few domains, and they always require approval. From wiki: "Most legislation needs to be proposed by the European Commission and approved by the Council of the European Union and European Parliament to become law." The former consists of the national governments, which usually has a popular mandate, the latter is chosen directly.


FWIW, I don't have numbers, but Horizon Europe is both a research funding scheme and an industry innovation funding scheme. https://research-and-innovation.ec.europa.eu/funding/funding... says "This is 70% of the budget earmarked for SMEs."

It has both direct research grants (ERC grants), and funds for big consortium projects, where most of the money goes to big companies, with some money also going to SMEs and researchers (It probably has intermediate funding like direct SME fund, I don't really know the full extent).

I wouldn't be surprised that UK joined Horizon Europe because of industry lobbying rather than research.


Maybe. This whole brexit thing happened by ignoring researchers and listening to whoever spoke louder :)

On the other hand, since brexit happened most international research teams in UK have lost key members to other countries so maybe someone finally took notice.


> listening to whoever spoke louder

The original 51% attack


>This whole brexit thing happened by ignoring researchers and listening to whoever spoke louder :)

When it goes the way someone wants they call that "democracy" ;)


Democracy isn't a magical word that automatically makes every decision made democratically good, nor does it stop being democracy if people are lied to and tricked into voting against their own interests.


You could say that about any election, ever. The Brexit Referendum was no more or less honest than any general election.


> The Brexit Referendum was no more or less honest than any general election.

Sorry, no. It was profoundly* dishonest.

I have a leaflet that was dropped through my door talking about Turkey joining the EU as if it was something imminent and guaranteed (it is neither).

It featured a map that prominently suggested this was a gateway to all things nefarious by showing Turkey as a coloured region without a label, surrounded by Iraq and Syria, which were.

It's the single most dishonest thing I've seen in politics in my life.

* I'm actually not sorry. This claim is ludicrous.


"Turkey is negotiating its accession to the European Union (EU) as a member state, following its application to become a full member of the European Economic Community (EEC), the predecessor of the EU, on 14 April 1987.[1]"

It's officially classed as a candidate. That doesn't seem consistent with "Never joining" unless the EU knowingly lied to Turkey.



Did I say "never joining"?

I said it was not imminent (it isn't) or guaranteed (and it isn't).

Nobody lied to Turkey. They know there are economic, political, social etc. targets that they have to meet before they progress to EU membership.

I've been a candidate for lots of things I didn't get. Haven't you?

They first applied in 1987, 29 years before the Brexit vote. It has been more than seven years since that vote.

The very Wikipedia page you're pointing at shows how badly it is going for Turkey after we left. Basically, the process is as close to ended for good as it can be. Turkey is less likely to succeed in joining the EU than the UK is to rejoin.

And everyone knew how serious those problems were, particularly regarding human rights, and the direction of travel.

The Leave campaign absolutely lied about Turkey's chances of joining, because only the spectre of Turkey being a member soon fit with the idea of Syrian refugees fleeing across the border into, thus, the EU, from their very current conflict.

It was never close to true.


Did the remain campaign point it out?


They did, repeatedly, at the time.

And the scurrilousness of the leaflet was pointed out, too.

But xenophobia sells.


It was the pointing out which was the problem, as it brought prominence to the lie. There were plenty of other lies too, the one about NHS funding was especially egregious.


You have to be ignorant on this topic or a liar to say that Turkey is going to join the EU for the foreseeable future. I accept that you might be ignorant (no shame in that), but the people that created that campaign material were lying because they did know better.

Even back in 2015 it was pretty clear that Turkey was probably never going to join the EU - at least a generation off if ever. They have nominally been trying to join since the 1980s and its going nowhere in large part because of a lack of progress on Turkey's side and also signficant skepticism of further expansion on the EU side.

There is a lot of talk about Ukraine joining for instance, but its far from clear despite the expressed political will on both sides that it will ever happen for various reasons. These include the question of Ukraine meeting entry thresholds or EU members willing to absorb a member the size of Ukraine and the funding implications its entry would bring. Despite that, Ukraine is signficantly more likely to join than Turkey was in 2016.


So you agree the EU lied to Turkey then?


No, and Yes and No.

No because there is nothing wrong with the EU telling Turkey these are the entry standards for membership. Turkey didn't meet those standards and were backsliding on lots of issues esp around human rights and political/media freedom. It also had unreasolved territorial issues with other member states namely Greece which completely block ascension.

Yes and No because the politics of this are complex both within the EU and in Turkey. Focusing just on the EU side:

There are lots of voices in the EU that want to see Turkey join the EU. Its an important (if sometimes difficult) NATO partner, and in many ways esp in its cities, a very European nation in its history and culture (Istanbul and Antalya are both great hoilday destinations btw - I recommend). We have a lot in common with Turkey. Its also a large econmy and an important bridge to central asia and the middle east. This is why Turkey was accepted as a candidate in the first place.

However there were real voices against Turkey's membership motivated from concerns over the impact to the balance of power within the EU, funding implication for bringing in such a large member with lots of regional depravation, doubts over Turkey ever meeting entry requirements, and the more ugly outright islamophobia and racism.

If you want to cut to the chase then yes the EU kinda sorta lied to Turkey because its officals know these facts, but Turkey's officals themselves are in on it for their own internal politics which I won't get into in part because I know much less about it. It suited both nations to play this ascension dance and technically it was possible that conditions might change and people's minds might be changed. Its a process not a binary.


Except the leave campaigns lied and/or mislead about the consequnces of leaving or their own intentions for the exit negotiations and post-brexit policies for everything from single market access, fishing rights, to net immigration reductions.


It sounds like most of what you've listed, especially immigration reductions, are in the general sense things that the government now has the power to change, it just chooses not to. I'd put complaints about post-brexit policies at the government's feet rather than the leave campaign. That's not to say that prominent leave campaigners didn't mislead people with certain statements, but I also remember the Cameron-Osborne remain campaign saying that merely voting to leave would instantly plunge the country into a huge recession. People like Nick Clegg also dismissed and scoffed at (IMO) legitimate concerns from the leave side, like saying that the prospect of an EU army was a conspiracy theory, when in fact there have since been lots of higher-ups in the EU pushing for this.


Sorry, I just assumed that if the leaders of the main leave campaign were to shortly become the government then they might share some responsibility. Apparently Johnson, Gove, Cummings and Sunak have no responsibilities for the things said and done for their cause in 2016. My bad.


Citation needed.


The claim that Brexit would redirect 350m/week to the NHS was a particularly egregious example.



Did that not happen? [0] shows an increase of £47bn on the department of health and social care from 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. That's £900m/week. If you compare to post-covid years then it's more like an increase of £28b or £540m/week. From the article linked in your comment, it seems to make a overly large "smoking gun" out of the fact that a referendum campaign website changed their website to reflect the fact that the referendum was now over.

[0] https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-w...


Nope. The 350 million was supposed to be from money saved from not being in the EU.


No it didn’t, inflation alone is a poor adjustment for health spending when the populations keeps increasing. Thus explaining the net increase every year from 2010 to 2019.

There’s many ways to calculate what that expenditure should be but looking at the most recent pre Brexit numbers, 2018 was 150.7B, 2019 was 158.3B. Extrapolate that trend and 2023 would be 7.6 * 4 + 158.3B ~= 188.7, where the real number is projected at 186.7B.

PS: That link only specifies 2020 and 2021 as seeing COVID specific spending but the UK health system was still being slammed in 2022 while also trying to catch up on delayed procedures etc. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/


The DH&SC isn't the NHS. How much of that money went from DH&SC to the NHS, vs to Tory pals selling defective PPE? Or private hospitals?


that did happen

NHS Funding Act 2020


The Big Red Bus is difficult to miss.


The Big Red Bus wasn't a signed contract. It was a statement of possibilities that the UK could spend their savings on. And it looks like the NHS budget went up by that amount anyway.


If "signed contract" is your requirement then we can agree that no politician has ever lied in their campaign promises, because they don't make them signed contracts... that seems irrelevant?

The lie was that we save that much by leaving the EU, the fact that our health service was underfunded and has had budget increases in line with inflation and population growth doesn't change that it was a lie - we could've (and would have) increased NHS spending regardless of the Brexit vote.


See my other reply about Turkey being "set to join" the EU.

Turkey has never been "set to join" the EU. They'd like to join, sure.

There are significant criteria they would need to fill to join, and everyone knows they won't do it any time soon; they were going backwards on some at the time of the campaign and are arguably further back eight years on.

If Turkey met all the criteria they'd be a perfectly viable member of the EU. But then if I had the physiology, brains, feathers, gait and quack of a duck, I'd be a duck.


> There are significant criteria they would need to fill to join, and everyone knows they won't do it any time soon; they were going backwards on some at the time of the campaign and are arguably further back eight years on.


"On 13 December 1999 the Helsinki European Council adopted the Commission proposal to grant Turkey the status of an applicant for EU membership."

Coming up on 24 years ... and counting. Great job, everyone involved.


It actually goes back further than that -- they wanted to join the EEC in '87.

36 years. This is actually higher than the median age of Turkey's population.


Sorry, I don't need to provide citations for the non-stop BS peddled for years and years in UK politics or list all of the policy positions of the last 5 conservative governments we have enjoyed for the past 8 years.


I'd argue that it was less honest on the basis that the Leave side didn't have the equivalent of a general election manifesto. Cameron had his negotiated deal and Remain was continuity his government. But Leave didn't present any concrete document of what they wanted to happen next if we left, and if they had created such a document the referendum wouldn't have given them the power to put their plan into practice. The whole referendum design made it impossible for them to be honest IMO even if they wanted to.

The Scottish referendum in 2014 didn't have the same problem because the SNP campaigning for independence were in power in Scotland and had negotiated the referendum with the UK government.


I take your point - it wasn't like Labour was Remain, and Conservatives were Leave - in reality all major parties and much of the establishment was remain.

But I'm not sure that's dishonesty in that people were deliberately saying things that were not true - people were instead saying "These are the things made possible if we leave the EU and you vote for a party that wants this in a general election."


The point as I understand it is that there was no unified vision for what leaving the EU would look like. There was instead a multitude of voices making (in many cases) grandiose and outlandish promises. For example:

"So within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU." - David Davis [https://conservativehome.com/2016/07/14/david-davis-trade-de...]

Coming to a free trade agreement with the EU should be "one of the easiest in human history" - Liam Fox [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-40667879]

Brexit would leave arrangements on the Irish border "absolutely unchanged" - Boris Johnson [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35692452]

This meant that even when Leave won, there was a great amount of confusion and turmoil over what that actually implied. That's why the Chequers deal fell through despite fulfilling the outcoem of the referendum.


I believe that foreign actors had a far greater influence than most other elections in British history - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_20...


I was more interested in facts that conspiracy theories, especially as those claims were found to be libellous: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2023/may/20/observers-caro...


"and remains unproven"


Probably because the then PM decided to not follow the recommendations of the Russia report and order an investigation. Would have been good to know either way.


Remainer here, but we lost fair and square. Politicians and campaigners definitely have a responsibility to be honest, but equally the electorate have a responsibility to inform themselves and make a reasonable judgement on the arguments made to them. Correcting for mistakes is what new elections are for.


Democracy is just a word. True democracy as people like to think of it does not exist.


Or phrased another way, by listening to whoever spoke better? A key remainer argument was of the form, "we have to remain in the EU to be a part of pooled research (and other such schemes)" and the counter-argument was "no, collaboration makes sense regardless and better deals can eventually be reached".

So the Leavers were right about that in the end. Horizon isn't important compared to constitutional issues, but this is one more argument that just didn't turn out right.


Is there an example area where the UK actually is in a better situation thanks to Brexit, or has agreed a deal with anyone that's better than the previous situation?

Taking this Horizon story as an example, the fact that we've rejoined shows that EU membership isn't necessary for it, but it still has "years out of the deal" as a negative for Brexit and I don't think any improvement to count as a positive?


> Is there an example area where the UK actually is in a better situation thanks to Brexit, or has agreed a deal with anyone that's better than the previous situation?

No. The most you could claim is that we were a few weeks earlier with a vaccine than the rest of Europe, but then we'd have been developing our vaccine within an EU framework if we'd been in, so who knows what additional benefits that would have brought.


I mean the big selling point is flexibility in regulation. The trouble is that using that flexibility would be bad for exporters so it's pretty tricky to use effectively.


I seem to recall the latter being expected, that the UK would drop regulations on imports, leading to low-quality American foodstuffs (corn syrup) flooding the market


A Facebook ad caught my eye recently, as it was a British newspaper's "Least healthy breakfast cereal" and the picture was something I didn't recognize at all.

I was then surprised to see American cereal is now sold in the UK, and it's packed with the colourings and additives British parents in the 1990s would have refused to have in the house. Pre-Brexit, "No artificial colours or flavours" could be pretty much assumed for all cereal sold in Britain, even the colourful, sugary ones.

That's no longer the case. Example: https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/282819954

Contains Tartrazine (E102)*, Sunset Yellow (E110)*, Brilliant Blue (E133), Allura Red (E129)*

E102 — in the EU, not allowed in cereal

E110 — allowed, although the UK government previously asked manufacturers to stop using this

E133 — not easily determined from Wikipedia, although there's an example of British manufacturers stopping its use in the 2000s.

E129 — allowed I think.


I'm not convinced that's actually seen as a benefit by any government either though, because it'd be bad for UK companies that sell here and also export - which is what you want really. Those companies can't lower their standards to compete with lower quality imports without losing their export business.


The outcomes have already penalised exporters relative to importers.

Exporting to the EU is hard: lots of standards checks.

Importing from the EU is easy: whole categories of imports are left unchecked, because new rules aren't being enforced as a matter of policy, which is the only way we have food security, for example.


Pros and cons, you can't look just at this example. Also, a project as big as Brexit takes many years to play out; the transition has barely begun, the conversation is futile at this point, and will be for years.


That's how people sold communism.


> So the Leavers were right about that in the end.

We rejoined the exact same framework we were already a member of and this is a score counted in Leave's column?

This is wild logic.


Rejoining the exact same framework would mean rejoining the EU, wouldn't it? Horizon isn't the whole shebang and was never the parts that people had problems with. It's really not hard to understand this, unless you're trying not to!


This is a weird, lazy, bad-faith mischaracterisation of what I said.

Horizon is a framework. We rejoined it. End of argument.


Same back to you! You're totally misrepresenting what this is all about.

It's extremely clear what's meant here: the EU is a big thing with problematic parts, and parts that are OK. Horizon is OK and uncontroversial. The UK wanted the useful low risk collaborations without the dangerous lets-unify-Europe-into-a-megastate parts, and that is what is now happening. The Leavers said this could be done, the Remainers said it was all or nothing, the Leavers are being steadily proven correct.


> the Leavers are being steadily proven correct.

Now this is delusional. The "prime Leaver", Nigel Farage, thinks Brexit has failed and has said so. The press is full of Leavers saying the country is broken right now.


It would be if by choice rather than mandate.


>no, collaboration makes sense regardless

The EU is one big collaborative project. I'm pro EU for this very reason, so surely the leavers argument has to be 'some, but not too much collaboration makes sense'.

Of course that assumes a coherent argument from brexiteers...


All or nothing?


The UK government could be funding SMEs directly. The issue, I think, is indeed research institutions, which could also be directly funded, but would still be excluded from most EU programs if not part of the scheme.


The UK does fund SMEs, that's the Innovate UK program. It's a good pot for domestic money and relatively easy to get (or used to be, you'd see the same companies at every conference). It has money for solo industry and industry/university projects. It's under the same umbrella (UKRI) that also funds academic research (STFC, EPSRC, AHRC, etc).

For some comprison with Switzerland where I currently live, and who also has a rocky relationship with the EU - we have InnoSuisse which every startup seems to get money from, and SNSF which is the massively oversubscribed science funding agency.


It's exactly what I'm wondering. The deal seems to stipulate that on average you'd spend about as much as you receive. If so, why not spend the same amount of money on your own scientist? That way you have full control. I don't get what the UK gets out of it.

For the EU I can understand, a larger budget means more science done, means more results. Who cares if some of it happens in the UK, since we are getting paid for it anyhow.


UK researchers can participate in larger Horizon projects if UK is a Horizon members. Much more easy to have joint research projects if the budget can be shared across the project, rather than split up with research outcomes/outputs having to be accounted for across UK/Horizon boundaries. In reality many UK institutions that were part of Horizon projects simply left them or didn't join as partners on applications.


Because research projects are multinational collaborations.

How do you get your brightest to stay in UK (or come here from other places) if all your research are isolated to your island??


They are isolated because that scheme is designed to isolate non-members.

But nothing prevents the UK from being part of international collaborations in general.


The scheme is designed to help members, the scheme doesn't care about non-members just like you don't care about non-customers or people you don't know exist.


This is like saying the local tennis club is "designed to isolate non-members"; no, anyone can apply.


No, the scheme is there to simplify collaboration across borders and connect research teams with very different skills.

While you can still do it outside the EU programs, it will require a lot of administrative work which most universities cannot handle.


If being part of the scheme suddenly makes everything possible then I'd say the system is indeed designed to make things difficult for those not part of the scheme...

Let's not kid ourselves, this is geopolitics and influence, not just generous cooperation.

Edit: Very strange to observe the reactions to my comment... many of you seem have a knee-jerk, black and white, if not naive, reaction to Brexit and the EU. Both sides are playing games and both sides are trying to further their interests, including indeed geopolitical and international influence ones. I am not claiming more than that and not passing judgement on Brexit here.


Like an club, things for members are different than for non-members. Having a common and agree set of rules makes it easier for the members and more difficult for non-members.

I would take issue with the notion of the EU having any geopolitical capabilities, though.


The EU is a geopolitical entity with geopolitical aims. that has always been the case.

You don't disagree with my point re. 'club rules'...


No disagreement on rules, but I don't see that as particular exclusionary in the sense that whenever people cooperate they do that under some set of rules anyway.

EU might have geopolitical aims, but not much capability, so I see Horizon as not very strong in that area, if at all.


> EU might have geopolitical aims, but not much capability, so I see Horizon as not very strong in that area, if at all.

The EU has quite some capacity to project power worldwide. Especially when it comes to trade and regulation. Surely not like the US or China, since it doesn't have it's own military. But much more than any of it's member states alone or other mid-sized countries like the UK.


Not that I can imagine it happening, but in a hypothetical where neither side had nukes how would a war between China and EU nations play out? Your comment seems to suggest that the combined militaries of EU states isn't a match, which isn't what I would have assumed but it's not an area I know anything about.


If you use a somewhat wider view on geopolitics that includes regulations, yes, agreed.


I don't think you appreciate how H2020 (the previous Horizons Europe) worked imho.

Go make research on air purity in the UK. Buy your captors, your GPU, data storage, all that stuff.

Or,and this is crazy, participate in a project across Europe. Paris already have captors a'd the data is already accessible. Munich make their air data accessible, like Rome and Berlin. Now you buy captors for a dozen small cities accross Europe, Warsaw and London. You still only need one computer, but you can have the Italian team working on prevision, the UK team working on health outcomes with the French, and probably other team working with other use of the data.

In the end, it's cheaper, you get more data, and are able to do more with it.

[edit on response to your edit] : listen, you're the one making it a brexit thing. I've worked with UK researchers after brexit, they weren't kicked out of H2020. A team from Tunisia was a part of the research too, and they aren't in the EU. Obviously it's better to be part of research initiative than alone, I don't get your point at all in fact.


As I understand it, it's not allowed for a third-country institution to lead part of an EU project. They can collaborate on specific tasks.

The UK joining now means a group at Manchester University can lead the work on health outcomes, not just be a part of it under someone else.


Let's translate your comment from scientific research to driving:

> If driving on the road suddenly makes car trips possible, then I'd say that the road is indeed designed to make things more difficult for those not driving on the road.

This is obviously silly, because the road makes car travel easier, not harder. Schemes like Horizon Europe make scientific research easier in similar ways.

For funding agencies to give money to universities, they and the univerisities have to make a whole bunch of critical but basically arbitrary decisions about how to handle the impedance mismatch between their respective organisations' internal finance procedures. Doing this over and over is wasteful of time and effort, and one benefit of big cross-national research funds like this is that a university can make these decisions once, and then don't have to do it over and over again, once for each funding agency in Europe.

Also, generous cooperation is an important part of geopolitics. Cooperation is how you convince your neighbors you are an ally rather than a threat.


> Schemes like Horizon Europe make scientific research easier in similar ways.

Roads allow any vehicle anyone built to work on them. Having EU-specific roads that cars built in the EU can easily drive on, while other cars require significant modification, would be a better analogy.


If you want roads as metaphor. Here it is: Roads profit those who are based along the road. A road between cities A and B profits those living and doing business in A and B more than anybody else living in a third city which is not connected to the road. That is just a matter of fact not a deliberate design decision to exclude someone.

The Horizon research framework exists to make it easier to form research projects across a set of countries. Everybody from a thirdparty country is at a disadvantage. But that is not because they, somebody in Brussels, wants to exclude someone. It is because the thirdparty country didn't put in the work to align it's local rules to the rules of the treaty.


> It is because the thirdparty country didn't put in the work to align it's local rules to the rules of the treaty.

I don't think this contradicts my analogy. You could say non-EU cars just haven't put in the work to be compatible.


This analogy doesn't work, because it assumes that "roads any vehicle can drive on" is the default position outside the EU. But that's precisely not the case here - the default position in the Non-EU world is that cross-border cooperation and financing bears prohibitive problems. So Horizon is a significant improvement on the default position.


Roads only help people who are in that location. The EU-specific roads (or programs) only help people driving (or researching) in the EU (and affiliated countries).


So you are suggesting what? That the UK would be allowed to join a scheme that hands out a large pot of money drawn from EU tax payers without pitching in? Give me a break. Framing this as some sort of ominous plot requires leaps of logic that is far beyond what I can even imagine.

If the UK wants to stay outside, they are more than welcome to keep their funds and do so. However, I can tell you exactly how happy my academic colleagues have been about the enormous mess that has been the UK government promises regarding EU funding over the last few years and that several of them have left or are in the process of leaving due to what Brexit did to the funding climate and academic opportunities in the UK in general.


He's suggesting that the scheme should not exist at all, and researchers should just collaborate with whoever they want via project-specific setups.


I'm not suggesting that at all... I am not suggesting anything.


LOCAL science for LOCAL people.

(It's a shame that Gove has largely dropped out of front-line Brexit advocacy; he looked the part).


Why would you want control? That means more bureaucracy you need to do yourself.

In the UK (and I believe everywhere with a well functioning research culture), the 'Haldane principle' means that research funding is decided by researchers (not politicians / the civil service). https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmdi...

Funding UK science via the ERC, means you are making use of the network effects for peer review & processes. So the individual funding applications are being reviewed to a higher standard, and better decisions are made about what science to fund.


What the ERC does is controlled by the Commission like everything else in Europe, it's not independent regardless of what it claims. The people making the decisions on what to fund are directly selected by the Commission itself.

So the EU's institutional agenda is indivisible from what gets funded via the ERC. That's why they fund stuff like research into disinformation, which the EU defines as more or less anything that goes against its own narratives or agendas, or cultural stereotyping:



Cultural stereotypes are often present in the political and media discourse on European Union (EU) governance: e.g., the lazy Greeks, the tax-dodging Italians, the stingy Dutch, and so forth. Especially when stereotypes are negative, they create conflict between national governments, fuel Euroscepticism among voters, and can lead to the discrimination of citizens or Member States.

To address this gap, EUROTYPES sets out to investigate how cultural stereotypes impact cooperation and effectiveness in contemporary EU governance.


This is "great news" for researchers and UK universities in particular but this is also "terrible news" because it's yet another instance of special treatment that weakens the overall system. What I mean by that it's the notion of "we can be out while still be kinda in". No system can survive for long if this is widespread.

I get most of the UK scientific community was against Brexit, but the truth is the majority voted what they voted, yes it's a terrible mistake even seen from Pluto but it is what it is. If you want in again, then make the political transformations first like anyone else. Yes, nothing was ever by the book and perfect but this type of loopholes, Northern Ireland deals, etc. will come out as net-negative in the end.


Eh? The UK has 'rejoined' as an associate member, in the same way that a number of other countries are associate members.


Here is a list of associate members, https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs... which also lays out some of the terms.

If you scroll down there's a list of countries which can participate and who are automatically eligible to apply for funding too. So the EU, at least bits of it, despite all the talk of gardens and jungles, is still a force for good in the world.


Yes, but the deal is not really as a clean-slate external member just joined. Of course there are many pending issues from the past, as it would be expected, many long term investment and commitment were made and then one could colorfully say "the UK took the money and run" ( I know it's much more complicated than that ), and this deal kinda addresses that.

I'm not against this particular deal, in fact I'm moderately in favor. However IMO these kinds of 100 separate deals so the UK can get the "goods" while still being out are not good in the long run. ( the UK always had kind of a special deal since the 60s, but there is so much bad blood and misinformation it's pointless to acknowledge that )


But this does not seem to really be a special deal. Participation in Horizon on an associate level is available to any country that meets a set of criteria that largely boils down to pretty much any reasonably developed market economy, with a long list of non-EEA European or neighbouring countries automatically allowed under other criteria.

See Article 16 in [1].

For Horizon, it'd have been a major diplomatic "fuck you" if the UK was refused given the wording of Article 16.

[1] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2021/695/oj Regulation (EU) 2021/695 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 April 2021 establishing Horizon Europe


I think the EU can survive just fine with associate members and similar non-full members who do things like pooled science funding.


> No system can survive for long if this is widespread.

Scientific collaboration can obviously not only survive but is enhanced by the EU dropping its xenophobic institutional barriers to non-EU countries working with them.

What you mean is that if European countries realize they can leave the EU and still work together, then the EU itself as a political institution can't survive long. But if you believe that then it is another way of saying the EU isn't actually useful and exists only due to its cartel-like "all or nothing" stance. In which case good riddance, Europeans and the rest of the world can work together much better without it.


I suspect the only way we'll get back in is by very laboriously arguing for each piece separately, to keep it "below the radar" of newspaper attacks. Next is probably EFTA, like Norway. We could even have a special carveout for fish like Norway.


Or looked at another way, it just weakness the parts of the system where there are disagreements.

The most frustrating thing about the EU is that there are both great and awful things about it. Some things almost all EU nations agree on, such as having strong trading relationships and joint research programs, but often this comes bundled with stuff there is far more disagreement on the Schengen Area and the Euro.

I think the EU would be stronger if was purely an opt-in / opt-out model. Forcing such a diverse group of nations to all adopt a single system is neither in the interest the people living in EU or in the interest of the long-term viability of the EU.


Ironically both Schengen and the Euro are opt-in, as can be seen by not all members of the EU being members of one or the other.

Post-Brexit wrangling crystallized something for me: the EU should be seen as the venue for solving problems rather than the solution. Leaving the EU does not make problems go away, they still need to be resolved; (re)joining it does not solve problems either, but it provides a series of discussion and agreement mechanisms which can be used to solve them.


"Thank" God COVID happened and most of the real consequences of Brexit could be attached to COVID, and then "thank" Russia for invading Ukraine so we can attach the problems of printing trillions of $/€/£ on the war.


> yes it's a terrible mistake even seen from Pluto

The EU isn't some sort of perfect organisation and is _badly_ in need of reform.

To quote Veroufakis:

> As he spoke, Schäuble directed a piercing look at Sapin. ‘Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy,’ he began. ... Of course he had a point: democracy had indeed died the moment the Eurogroup acquired the authority to dictate economic policy to member states without anything resembling federal democratic sovereignty.


Yeah but still makes sense for both because the UK is probably the best place for research in Europe: Oxford, Cambridge and a viable, international startup scene.


And Switzerland is still out, without any pathway for getting back, negotiations have stalled. This is an absolute disgrace for our country.


Well it isn't that we wouldn't want to participate but the EU is connecting our Horizon participation with other topics that have nothing to do with it. So I don't really see us rejoining it anytime soon.


As a small country, Switzerland will not be able to finance its world-class scientific infrastructure independently. It is a catastrophe. International cooperation is crucial in science.


Wrong. We paid as much as we got from the program. The collaboration between scientist from across Europe was the more important thing. Sadly science got politicized.


Switzerland is a pretty rich country, and spends roughly 22bn CHF per year on R&D (about half that of France with around 1/8th of the population). Swiss universities are also a _lot_ better than their continetal European counterparts.


Absolutely agree. It is a disgrace how the EU tries to blackmail smaller countries.

Imagine if Switzerland prohibited all EU scientists from accessing CERN.


Switzerland flushed tremendous amounts of goodwill in all of europe, especially eastern europe, with their ridiculous stance on weapons deliveries - or non-allowance of deliveries tangentially related to switzerland.

Don't know whether this especially is related, but expect more of that.


All weapons reexports should be specifically authorized — this is a general international rule (otherwise e.g. Iran could buy Western weapons through reexport agreements). Switzerland used to have a policy for decades that only direct exports were allowed — that directly follows from our neutrality doctrine.

Switzerland has already abandoned lots of its neutrality policies when we (rightfully) joined EU sanctions against Russia, in full. But weapons reexports are the final red line. Otherwise Switzerland will not be able to consider itself a neutral country, which will create a lot of undesirable consequences.


If Switzerland is 'neutral' then it should neither deliver weapons to one side of a war nor take part in sanctions against a party to a conflict which are not enacted by the UN (since Switzerland is a member).


Sure, but Switzerland has probably more scientific output than all of Eastern Europe.


It's not related, I would imagine it would be to do with Switzerland and the EU being at odds over the single market and freedom of movement and the EU using Horizon as a stick to 'persuade' them with: https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2021/05/26/switzerland-pu...


You do know that the EU kicked out Switzerland from Horizon in 2013? This has nothing to do with any recent developments, in fact it's the rest of the EU who has been flushing goodwill for quite a while...


It isn't


Good Q & A here:


Including interesting details of the over/under performance condition.


The UK has taken such a nosedive recently that news of rejoining Horizon Europe (something they have had for many years) is met with wide celebration.


What's overlooked by many commenting on this is that cooperation with UK science will not revert to pre-Brexit levels.

EU scientists do not have freedom of movement to the UK, nor do their families and any dependents. The bureaucratic obstacles to movement are considerable and there are no signs that this is about to change.

UK scientists are still applying for jobs abroad in droves. Irish universities receive a great many applications from the UK for every job advertised (UK scientists can move to Ireland freely because of the Common Travel Area).


Additionally, EU residents no longer even have the right through their residence to visit the UK. That makes organizing collaboration with Britain more complicated if you have a PhD student from Iran in the group, or a postdoc from China.


Regarding your last point, is that from your own experience or can you point to some online resource. I ask as an Irish academic working in the UK who would potentially like to return home at some point!


This is great news. I remember when Brexit was announced in my last lab, and at first everything seemed okay, but as the months went on I saw more professor bashing heads or colluding to get those rare precious grants as it became clear that the well was drying up.


My former PhD supervisor almost immediately started looking and returned to Germany, and most of the other staff in the department who were European have since left to go back to continental Europe. It was such an own goal.


Yep. The lab fell apart a few years later (albeit with some help from other power struggles happening within the university at the time). UK universities are/were(?) chock full of European talent all speaking the lingua academia (English). Easy to integrate and write papers at the same time. Huge cultural and academic win.

That same experience in Germany? It's there, sure, but the effort to integrate is doubled.


Disclaimer: I voted to remain, but this is a great example of misleading/fear mongering by the remain campaign. They very vocally claimed that all the "good bits" of the EU cooperation would be permanently ended by leaving the Union. As evidenced by this news and others, that is untrue. There is clearly room for close cooperation in many areas without surrendering sovereign control over your nation.


Your attitude is strange. If you break a friendship in a painful way, you don't at the same time think "oh but I can surely resume borrowing his record collection in the future".

> There is clearly room for close cooperation in many areas without surrendering sovereign control over your nation.

Are you sure you voted remain? This is basically the prototypical pro-leave argument.


If everyone on the internet who claimed to have voted remain actually did so, we wouldn't be having any of these conversations and I wouldn't have so many bloody stamps in my passport.


>If you break a friendship in a painful way

Given the argument for undoing Brexit is that the EU is "just a trade agreement" and not worthy of any discussions on democracy and sovereignty, I'm always surprised that so many Europeans, even high-level politicians, seem to have taken the decision to leave in such an incredibly personal way. Even the leave campaign itself was squarely against the EU as an institution, not a judgment on the EU member states and the people who make them up.


'Given the argument for undoing Brexit is that the EU is "just a trade agreement"'

The mistake I see here is that you are saying "The argument" and "is" implying that there is a singular argument/factor/opinion in play. This kind of simplification is not the way forward.


Possibly by accident?


No, they correctly predicted that the research funding was one of the things the government would kibosh with its "not paying the EU a penny" dick-waving, which is what happened.

The fact we can later renegotiate access to a particular programme on the same basis as NZ doesn't mean we're getting access to other EU perks like free healthcare on holiday or the right to live in Spain, or that London hasn't fallen behind Paris for size of equities market. The "sovereignty" argument put forward by Leave was much more misleading. Ask the fishermen how many of the hated EU rules they're still required to follow as part of our "independent" fishing deal...


> No, they correctly predicted that the research funding was one of the things the government would kibosh with its "not paying the EU a penny" dick-waving, which is what happened.

this couldn't be more inaccurate

Boris Johnson negotiated as part of the brexit treaty to pay in, in the normal proportion

the EU even says as much on its FAQ page


After four years of talking about how we didn't need to do a deal because they'd miss our money more than we'd miss them, we got the possibility of associate membership of Horizon included provisionally with the deal we did at the last minute. This didn't exactly help orgs who'd already lost collaboration opportunities because of the uncertainty involved in Mr No Deal being in charge. Their participation for the next year was already kiboshed.

Then we had more dick-waving about not adhering to what we'd signed over NI, so membership wasn't ratified whilst the Science Minister talked about the lost funding being "the freedom to go global", and consortia felt their decision not to invite UK participants over the risks associated with the UK govt was vindicated


> They very vocally claimed that all the "good bits" of the EU cooperation would be permanently ended by leaving the Union.

I was living in the UK during the referendum and voted remain [0], and that sentence that I quote does not align with my experience and I dare say it sounds like revisionist history.

It was never a part of the Remain campaign to claim that the UK would 'permanently' end the 'good bits' of EU cooperation. It would be bad enough to abandon the EU, so what would be the point of Remain claiming that the loss of the 'good bits' of EU membership (surely all of them in their view!) would be permanent?

What's more, what I do remember is many of the Leave campaign's talking points insisting that the UK would NOT leave the 'good bits', many of which are open to non-EU members (Horizon, Erasmus, customs union, freedom of movement, etc.)... and then guess what happened?

[0] Before anyone is confused if they see other comments of mine, I'm a dual Spainish–British citizen.


I didn't hear that. I heard vocal claims that _getting rid of all of the things_ would cause problems, and that we'd either have to expensively replicate or just sign up for it separately anyway.

That is exactly what has happened here.


Years later, Britain manages to rejoin one thing.

"Oh, right, must all have been Project Fear" is a weird take on this.

(This particular one was actually part of the withdrawal agreement but was held up due to Boris et al fucking about on Northern Ireland)


I don't see how it was misleading. The scientific co-operation was stopped, just as they said it will be, and it took three years to re-negotiate, without it ever being certain that the negotiation will be a success.

And the UK remains an "associated country", allowed to participate but probably excluded from decision-making (a guess, it doesn't explicitly say in the article, but the UK now has the same status as countries like New Zealand, Ukraine, Kosovo or Israel).


Except we did surrender sovereign control over our country.


> Before you move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries (including Great Britain)

We started with borderless free trade from Iceland to Greece and we ended up with customs guidance that pretends that GB and NI are in different countries.

The Brexit Trilemma is alive and well today.


Nonsense. There is no pretense that GB and NI are in different countries. They are in different trade zones.

As for "our" country, here's your reminder that all of Ireland was coerced into the UK by colonisation and oppression and that NI is a contingent part of the UK not an integral part of it.

A majority of its people voted against Brexit; a majority favour the NI protocol and the Windsor agreement; and a majority will vote in due course to end the imperial gerrymander imposed at gunpoint on the Irish people (likely within 15 years, now that unionists are a minority in decline).

It was the UK govt and parliament's decision to separate NI so that GB could go "buccaneering". As for "surrendering" the English will get over it, just like they got over losing most of Ireland and the rest of the empire.

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Having to pretend GB and NI are different countries seems like the inevitable outcome of the Good Friday Agreement (or at least one interpretation of it) that requires you to pretend that parts of two different countries (NI and IE) are the same country. That was obviously not going to last indefinitely as long as the two places are ruled by different sovereign states (in this case, the UK and EU).


> permanently ended

A 7 year funding hiatus is pretty bad


We left the EU 3 years ago, not 7.


Yes, but since 2016 new EU funds have been hard to get, for obvious reasons.


good, but the damage has already been done. We've missed out on work, had lead scientists leave the country and had to take a back seat on European research just to be involved. Whole thing is a sh*t show.