Prospects and Challenges for the European Innovation Union     Print Email
Friday, 18 February 2011

The European Institute held a luncheon on Friday, February 18, 2011, with Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, to discuss Europe’s new Innovation Union strategy.  Found lagging on key innovation indicators, “Europe has come to realize that research and innovation are the key for advanced economies both to remain competitive and to secure social and economic progress” Mr. Smits said. Under the Innovation Union Strategy, Europe is taking important steps to remove barriers and implement a coherent framework to spur innovation. Among the EU’s priorities: the removal of barriers for venture capital funds by 2011; a valorization of international property rights so as to create a sort of “EU-wide eBay for patents and knowledge”; a review of public procurement policies to boost innovation;  and an increase in Research and Development funding. Ultimately, Mr. Smits concluded, Europe will be a “tough competitor” for innovation-based economic growth.