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June 5, 2021

The UK could threaten to pull out of the EU's €100bn flagship research programme after Brussels was accused on Friday of holding up access in the latest act of "political" vengeance, The Telegraph can disclose.

In what looks set to become the next major political dispute between the two sides, senior Government sources have claimed that the EU is "purposely going slow" on formalising the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe.

Ministers are similarly frustrated at the progress of the UK’s association to Euratom Research and Training, the nuclear research programme linked to Horizon, and Copernicus, the earth monitoring satellite project.

The Government argues that the hold up and the decision to exclude the UK from shaping the programmes beyond what it had anticipated will negatively impact participants and has called into question their value for money.

The row is due to come to a head next week when Lord Frost, the Cabinet minister in charge of EU relations, takes part in the EU-UK Partnership Council, a joint-committee set up to oversee the implementation of the Brexit trade deal.