Innovation Union flagship initiative celebrates its first anniversary

October 6th 2011 marks the first anniversary of the Innovation Union (IU) flagship initiative, one of the cornerstones of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs. The Innovation Union has focused Europe's efforts – and co-operation with third countries - on challenges like climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population so far.

Innovation Union flagship initiative celebrates on 6 of October 2011 its first anniversary. This initiative is one of the cornerstones of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs. In fact, on 4 of February 2011, at the first European Council to place innovation at the top of the political agenda, EU leaders recognised that the Innovation Union initiative is an economic strategy that is crucial for European future economies. They gave strong backing to a series of proposals to turn the EU into a true Innovation Union.

On the occasion of this first anniversary, the Commission published a list with the number of key milestones have been reached so far. Increasing investment in research, innovation and education under a single and simple framework has been one of the achievements reached. This led to the presentation by the Commission on 30 November for the new Horizon 2020 programme which will bring existing financial instruments for supporting research and innovation within a common structure. The Commission is proposing a budget of €80 billion for the period 2014- 2020.

Among the key milestones reached, and as set out in the Innovation Union initiative, the Commission has also launched the first European Innovation Partnership, a novel concept to speed up breakthrough innovations by pooling resources around a compelling and inspiring challenge, bringing quick benefits to citizens. The pilot EIP on active and healthy ageing aims to add two healthy years to European average lifespan. The experience gained in setting up this pilot will pave the way for other partnerships.