Posted: 04/03/2016 at 21:38
I represented the UK on the programme management committee for one of the R&D programmes for a few years. The budget we managed was over €1Billion. That gave me a small insight into how the Brussels machine works. Watching our partner countries in action always made me wonder where the idea of loss if sovereignty comes from. Every country on that committee and every other similar one fiercely defended their own national interests as did I for the UK but we were all able to come together to deliver a programme suitable for all EU member states. The UK is a well respected voice within the EU and we fight well above our weight when it comes to influencing EU policy. We also do very well in winning funding from those programmes, UK researchers were partners of choice for many international collaborations.
Our biggest problem was with the UK gov side, Ministers often took a "fog in Channel, Europe isolated" view and Treasury only ever asked how we could cut budgets. Germany and France made sure their national R&D programmes complemented EU funding, UK ignored it. One of my bosses thought EU funding was irrelevant until I pointed out that UK researchers got back 3 times our national funding for the same types of R&D from those EU programmes.
So I want to stay in and to play our full part in making the EU a grwat place to live and work.