Fabian Demicoli

Scoreboard shows EU more innovative, but gap between countries widening

Innovation performance in the EU has
improved year on year in spite of the continuing economic crisis, but the
innovation divide between Member States is widening. This is the result of the
European Commission Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, a ranking of EU Member
States. While the most innovative countries have further improved their
performance, others have shown a lack of progress.

The overall ranking within
the EU remains relatively stable, with Sweden at the top, followed by Germany,
Denmark and Finland. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are the countries that have
most improved since last year. Drivers of innovation growth in the EU include
SMEs and the commercialisation of innovations, together with excellent research
systems. However the fall in business and venture capital investment over the
years 2008-2012 has negatively influenced innovation performance.

European Commission Vice President
Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said:
"This year's results show that the economic crisis has negatively impacted
innovation activity in  some parts of
Europe. Investment in innovation is crucial if we want to maintain our global
competitiveness and restore growth in Europe. We need to encourage
entrepreneurship as SMEs have been a key driver of innovation."
Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, responsible for Research, Innovation and
Science, said: "Innovation should now be at the heart of all Member
States' policy agendas. Our latest State of the Innovation Union report, also
published today, shows we made progress in 2012 on some of the big ticket items
like the Unitary Patent and new rules for venture capital funds, but we need to
go further in order to avoid an innovation divide in Europe." The European
Commission has also today published a report complementary to the Scoreboard.
The State of the Innovation Union report shows that the Commission has already
largely delivered on the Innovation Union flagship commitments.

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