Close European innovation divide

Nieuws | de redactie
17 september 2013 | Scandinavia is still the most innovative part of the EU, but Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg follow closely. Sadly, The EU’s least innovative country Bulgaria has become less innovative last year. “We have to close a worrying 'innovation divide,” EU-Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated.

Sweden, Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg are the EU Member States getting the most out of innovation, according to a new indicator proposed by the European Commission. So will Stockholm become the new innovation capital of Europe?

The “Indicator of Innovation Output” measures the extent to which ideas from innovative sectors are able to reach the market, providing better jobs and making Europe more competitive. 

The indicator was developed at the request of EU leaders to benchmark national innovation policies, and shows that significant differences remain between EU countries. The EU as a whole performs well in an international comparison, even though it remains behind some of the most innovative economies worldwide.

Turn ideas into products

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, responsible for Research, Innovation and Science, said: “The European Union must turn more great ideas into successful products and services in order to lead in the global economy. We also have to close a worrying ‘innovation divide’. The proposed indicator will help us measure how we are doing and pinpoint areas where countries need to take action.”

The proposed new indicator shows a wide range of innovation output across EU Member States (EU average set to 100 in 2010)

Eu most innovative countries

The top performers in the EU owe their ranking to doing well on several or all of the following factors: an economy with a high share of knowledge-intensive sectors, fast-growing innovative firms and high levels of patenting and competitive exports. A comparison with some non-EU countries shows that the EU as a whole does well. Switzerland and Japan have a clear performance lead, but the EU is more or less even with the United States on innovation output.

EU innovation compared

The Innovation output is wide-ranging and differs from sector to sector. The proposed indicator is based on four components chosen for their policy relevance.

  • Technological innovation as measured by patents.
  • Employment in knowledge-intensive activities as a percentage of total employment.
  • Competitiveness of knowledge-intensive goods and services. This is based on both the contribution of the trade balance of high-tech and medium-tech products to the total trade balance, and knowledge-intensive services as a share of the total services exports.
  • Employment in fast-growing firms of innovative sectors.

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