What are EU Missions?

EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They have ambitious goals and will deliver concrete results by 2030 .

They will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens.

EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027.

They support Commission priorities, such as the European Green DealEurope fit for the Digital AgeBeating Cancer and the New European Bauhaus. For instance, Mission Climate is already a concrete element of the new Climate Adaptation Strategy, Mission Cancer of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the Mission Soil is a flagship initiative of the Long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas.

EU Missions are a coordinated effort by the Commission to pool the necessary resources in terms of funding programmes, policies and regulations, as well as other activities. They also aim to mobilise and activate public and private actors, such as EU Member States, regional and local authorities, research institutes, farmers and land managers, entrepreneurs and investors to create real and lasting impact. Missions will engage with citizens to boost societal uptake of new solutions and approaches.

EU Missions will support Europe’s transformation into a greener, healthier, more inclusive and resilient continent. They aim to bring tangible benefits to people in Europe and engage Europeans in their design, implementation and monitoring.

Each mission will operate as a portfolio of actions – such as research projects, policy measures or even legislative initiatives - to achieve a measurable goal that could not be achieved through individual actions.

How were the Missions prepared? 

Five Mission Boards gathering top experts were formed to help specify, design and implement Missions for Horizon Europe.

Based on their proposals handed over to the Commission in September 2020, five Missions were identified in the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan.

In October 2020, the Commission validated the five proposed Missions. They entered a preparatory phase to develop five detailed implementation plans including objectives, intervention logic and indicators for measuring performance. The Commission assessed these plans against specific criteria and gave a go-ahead to the launch of the Missions on 29th of September 2021.

How long will a Mission last?

A mission should last as long as is needed to accomplish its objectives. There is no fixed duration, but they should deliver a stream of benefits with final results expected to be achieved around 2030, given the likely ambition and scale of EU Missions.

How will Missions be implemented?

EU Missions are now launching into their full implementation phase. The first Horizon Europe work programme for 2021-22, published in June 2021, includes a set of actions that lay the ground for the implementation of Missions. It will now be updated with a full research and innovation agenda by the end of this year.

In parallel, Missions will engage with participating regions, cities and organisations as well as citizens. For Missions to be successful, they need to mobilise and activate public and private actors, such as EU Member States, regional and local authorities, research institutes, entrepreneurs and investors to create real and lasting impact. A critical element of Missions will be to reach out to local communities and engage with citizens to boost societal uptake of new solutions and approaches.

What this Mission deals with

The mission in this area is called Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030.

Man-made, climate-driven changes are putting our ocean and waters and consequently our societies at a serious risk.

The mission’s new, systemic approach will address the ocean and waters as one and play a key role in achieving climate neutrality and restoring nature.

The mission will help achieve EU objectives by protecting 30% of the EU's sea area as well as restoring marine ecosystems and 25,000km of free flowing rivers. One of the Mission's objectives will prevent and eliminate pollution by reducing litter at sea, nutrient losses and use of chemical pesticides by 50%.

The mission will also contribute to making the blue economy climate-neutral and circular with net-zero maritime emissions. Cross-cutting activities will support these objectives. They include broadly mobilising and engaging the public as well as a digital ocean and water knowledge system, known as Digital Twin Ocean.

How specific EU Missions were identified

This mission area has a Mission Board which has had the task of identifying one or more specific missions for implementation. The Mission Board consists of 15 experts, including the Chair, and was supported by an assembly. The Mission Board is supported by a Mission Secretariat

Possible missions proposed by the mission board

At the end of June 2020, the mission board produced an interim report proposing concrete targets and a timeline for a possible mission.

The interim report was the basis for further discussion and engagement with Europeans to make sure that the proposed mission is relevant and will make a real difference.

The final recommendations of the mission board were handed over to the European Commission at the European Research & Innovation Days 22-24 September 2020.

The proposed mission:

Restore our Ocean and Waters
Targets by 2030: cleaning marine and fresh waters, restoring degraded ecosystems and habitats, decarbonising the blue economy in order to sustainably harness the essential goods and services they provide.

More information





  • End of June 2020

    The Mission Board produces a draft report proposing concrete targets and timelines

  • 22-24 September 2020

    The final recommendations of the Mission Board are handed over to the European Commission at the European Research & Innovation Days

  • November 2020

    The mission enters preparatory phase

  • 1st and 2nd quarter of 2021

    Preparation of mission implementation plans, followed by Commission decision on full implementation phase

  • 3rd and 4th quarter of 2021

    Launch of the missions in full implementation phase; updated Horizon Europe Work Programme for EU missions


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