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EU "takes note" of UK launching dispute over research programmes

FILE PHOTO: Flags of the Union Jack and European Union are seen ahead of the meeting of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Brussels, Belgium December 9, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

The European Commission said on Wednesday it had "taken note" of Britain's announcement that it had launched dispute resolution proceedings with the EU to gain post-Brexit access to the bloc's scientific research programmes.

"The Commission takes note of the UK's request for consultation and will follow up on this in line with the applicable rules, as set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement," spokesman Daniel Ferrie said.

Under a trade deal signed at the end of 2020, Britain negotiated access to a range of European Union science and innovation programmes, including Horizon, a 95.5 billion euro ($97 billion) programme that offers grants and projects to researchers.

But Britain says, 18 months on, the EU has yet to finalise access to Horizon, Copernicus, the earth observation programme on climate change, Euratom, the nuclear research programme, and to services such as Space Surveillance and Tracking.

Both sides have said cooperation in research would be mutually beneficial but relations have soured over part of the Brexit divorce deal governing trade with the British province of Northern Ireland, prompting the EU to launch legal proceedings.

(Reporting by John Chalmers)

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