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Commission launches EU missions to tackle key challenges

Commission launches EU missions to tackle key challenges
30 September 2021

The Commission launched on September 29 five new EU missions, which aim to tackle big challenges in health, climate and the environment, and to achieve ambitious and inspiring goals in these areas.

A novelty of Horizon Europe and also an original concept in EU policy, bringing together several Commission services under the authority of nine College members, missions will support research to deliver on the Commission's main priorities and find responses to some of the greatest challenges we are facing today: fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting the ocean, seas and waters, living in greener cities and ensuring healthy soil and food. They are a new tool that includes a set of actions, such as research and innovation projects, policy measures and legislative initiatives, to achieve concrete goals with large societal impact and within a specified timeline. Five missions will aim to deliver solutions to key global challenges by 2030:

  1. Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030; it plans to make available €100 million for large-scale demonstrations to address major climate-induced hazards, such as flooding, fitted to local circumstances;
  2. Cancer: working with Europe's Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better; it plans to establish a novel joint governance model to ensure a systematic and effective integration of research, innovation and policy developments on cancer in Europe;
  3. Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030: plans to create a network of lighthouses at sea and river basin scale to implement the mission and expand the networks of marine protected areas;
  4. Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities: 100 selected cities will involve their citizens in drawing up 'Climate City Contracts' to help reach climate neutrality by 2030;
  5. A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030; people will be stimulated to participate in citizen science initiatives to collectively improve soil health.

Rooted in Horizon Europe, mission implementation will go far beyond research and innovation to develop new solutions and improve the lives of Europeans. Their novelty and added value are in operating as a portfolio of actions involving different instruments, business models and public and private investments at EU, national, regional and local levels. For missions to be successful, support from other European and national programmes will be crucial. Each mission will have a specific timeframe and budget tailored to its challenge and implementation plan.

EU missions connect directly to citizens, engaging them in their design, implementation and monitoring. Member States, regions and a wide range of public and private sector stakeholders will get involved to help ensure lasting outcomes for all EU citizens.

The missions support Commission priorities, such as the European Green Deal, Europe fit for the Digital Age, Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, An economy that works for people and the New European Bauhaus. For instance, Mission Climate is already a concrete element of the new Climate Adaptation Strategy, Mission Cancer of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and the Mission Soil is a flagship initiative of the Long-term Vision for the EU's Rural Areas.

Image © European Commission, 2021

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