Enterprises must boost innovation within the EU

The European Commission published the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011 which shows that although almost all Member States have improved their innovation performance according to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011, innovation performance growth is slowing down and the EU is not closing the persistent gap with global innovation leaders US, Japan and South Korea. According to European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, enterprises have already proven to be the key to success in innovation.

The Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011 published by the Commission shows that firms' innovation activities stand out as an important factor to achieve top positions at EU and international level. The Scoreboard also publishes that the largest gap for the EU remains in terms of private sector innovation. The EU still maintains a clear lead over the emerging economies of China, Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa. However, China is improving its innovation performance and is catching up progressively. The Innovation Union flagship initiative celebrated its first anniversary in October 2011.

With regard to the innovation leaders in Europe, Sweden confirms its position at the top of the overall ranking, followed closely by Denmark, Germany and Finland. The innovation followers are Belgium, the UK, Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Ireland, France, Slovenia, Cyprus and Estonia with a performance close to that of the EU average. Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary, Greece, Malta Slovakia and Poland perform below that of the EU average, and modest innovators are Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Latvia which are well below that of the EU average.

According to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Europe needs balanced national research and innovation systems that provide an innovation-friendly environment for business. The Scoreboard also identifies a gap with the US in terms of top-end research. She also stressed that Europe urgently needs a European Research Area to inject fresh competition, generate more excellence, and attract and retain the best global talent.