British Expertise International recently hosted an event discussing the FCDO-EU Relationship post transition period. TheUK-EU transition period came to an end on 31 December 2020 and there is a clear need to understand the proposed future relationship and how this will impact companies wishing to deliver international development programmes for the EU.
With an optimistic tone, the talk highlighted that the mutually shared political will between the EU and the UK will allow for continued international development talks and cooperation. Most of the pre-existing structures have been reviewed and others are work in progress. Through shared interest and geopolitics, the UK and EU are committed to continuing to work together. This was especially highlighted as the conversation moved to focus on the implications of the agreements reached on International Development. In a number of cases, UK delivery partners can still participate in some EU funded programmes including in the major research and innovation project, HorizonEurope. With a budget of €95.5bn, Horizon Europe is planned to run from2021-2027, and is said to be, “the most ambitious research and innovation programme in the world.” (European Commission, 2020) However, during the discussions it was also noted that humanitarian aid grants will no longer allow UK entities to gain funding as this financial support exists solely for member states.
In the webinar, BEI members expressed their desire for further clarity from the FCDO on specifics regarding the post-transition relationships to help with their business planning, which is already challenging in this current Covid-19 climate. Clarity and frequent communication regarding the EU/UK relationship were two of the recurring themes underlined by members throughout the discussion. However, it remains, even with all the positive outlook relating to EU and UK relationship there remains some key areas that are not yet finalised. BEI members look forward to additional clarity on what UK companies can and cannot access in terms of business opportunities.