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Ministers may withdraw from Horizon Europe, Copernicus and Euratom, denying the bloc key funding.
They are the EU’s flagship scientific, satellite and nuclear programmes. The UK agreed to be part of them when it signed the Brexit trade deal last year.
However, entry has been stalled by Brussels in comparison with non-member states like Norway.
A leaked government paper has revealed that ministers believe the delay is a deliberate bid by Brussels to create leverage over the Northern Ireland protocol.
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A senior government source said: “Blocking the UK from joining Horizon is in no one’s interest – we can’t participate and they lose our financial contribution.
“We’re having to look at alternatives in case the EU does block our access.”
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