Innovation in Europe Improves, But Only in a Handful of Countries
European Commissioner of Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas during press conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels in April. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Innovation in Europe is catching up with the U.S. and Japan, but the improvement in the bloc’s performance is only coming from a handful of its 28 members, the European Commission said Thursday.
Sweden remains the EU’s top innovator, while Latvia is the fastest growing one, according to figures from the 2016 European Innovation Scoreboard, the EU’s annual report on innovation across the bloc. Despite a slight decrease in its figures, Switzerland — which is not in the EU — is still the overall innovation leader in Europe.
The top performing EU members are already on a par with the U.S., Japan and South Korea, although these three countries retain their lead over the bloc. The EU is closing on the U.S. and Japan in terms of innovation performance, but South Korea continues to widen its competitive lead. China, still behind the EU in terms of innovation, has a performance growth rate five times that of the bloc.
“Leading countries and regions are supporting innovation across a wide range of policies from investment to education, from flexible labor conditions to ensuring public administrations that value entrepreneurship and innovation,” saidCarlos Moedas, the European commissioner for research, science and innovation.
But excellence in innovation is concentrated in just a few areas of Europe, with the most innovative regions typically found in the most innovative countries, highlighting the divergence in economic performance across the bloc.
All 36 of the EU’s regional innovation leaders are located in just seven EU countries: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.
The convergence observed since 2012 appears to have come to a halt too.
Since 2008 the innovation performances of 21 EU member states have increased but in the past year growth has only been seen in seven countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Malta and the U.K..
Latvia, the fastest growing country in terms of innovation, attained a 4% uptake in its performance in 2015. Romania, the worst-placed EU country, saw its performance drop by 4.4%.
The report pointed to appropriate investment, partnerships with academia and a strong research base as key drivers of innovation leadership in the best performing countries. The development of markets for innovative products was also highlighted as important.
Germany was singled out in the report as the top country for innovation, both for science-based research activities and investments in advanced equipment and machinery. Ireland was the leader in nurturing innovation in small and medium-sized companies, producing high numbers of innovative produces and jobs in fast-growing new companies.
“I want Europe to be a place where innovative SMEs and start-ups flourish and scale up within the single market,” said Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market and industry.
Ms. Bienkowska pointed to the need for a simplification of regulation on sales taxes, adapted insolvency rules, better access to information on regulatory requirements and work on a SME-friendly intellectual property framework.
The European Innovation Scoreboard compares research and innovation performance in EU countries as well as Iceland, Israel, Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. On a more limited number of performance indicators the report’s assessment also includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the U.S..
Por: Joseph Ataman
Fonte: WSJ/RealTimeBrussels, em 14 de Julho de 2016